If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that remote work is possible for many industries—including the call center. But the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of human connection and customer service. In this blog, we cover 3 tips to help you manage customer satisfaction during remote work.
As the world continues to grapple with the long-lasting effects of COVID-19, more and more businesses have extended their work from home policies until at least next year. Why? Part by necessity, part because they realized that the model actually works.
But does it work for call centers?
The answer is a little more complicated.
Remote Work for Call Centers
The contact center environment is usually one where team members work in tight spaces using shared equipment. There are a lot of barriers to returning to the office—including restructuring the office for social distancing, alternating and staggering shifts, and increasing sanitation efforts.
So, remote and distributed work is arguably even more of a necessity. And, in some ways, the space has benefited from going virtual.
For example, remote work for call centers encourages a better work-life balance due to the flexibility that it allows. Even before the pandemic, research suggested that remote workers are more productive. For customer service teams specifically, remote working allows team members to get through 13% more requests every day.
On the flip side, the virtual contact center has its own set of challenges. As we all had to rush to work from home at the onset of the pandemic, there are more cybersecurity concerns, hardware and software costs, and data compliance issues—just to name a few.
But the biggest challenge is this: How can organizations be sure that the quality of customer interactions doesn’t suffer?
Here are a few tips to help you manage remote workers during this time, keeping customer service and satisfaction top of mind.
#1. Start with Your Team
Without the ability to oversee an in-person office, workers could become less engaged. At the same time, team members are experiencing higher stress levels than before the pandemic—and some are even working more hours than ever as the lines between “work” and “home” blur. This variability in work productivity can be difficult to track.
So, it’s critical to monitor employee engagement and the possibility for overwork and burnout.
But be sure to look beyond the actual work product. People need a sense of belonging, and remote work deprives them of this work culture.
A happy workforce is a happy customer. But the long-term isolation due to the pandemic has spiked professionals’ stress levels. So, the first place to start when prioritizing customer satisfaction is actually prioritizing your team’s well-being.
- Communicate with your team regularly
- Host virtual meetings and hangouts
- Develop a wellness plan
#2. Look Closer at Data
Customer satisfaction is more important now than ever. This is because the wavering economy is taking its toll on businesses everywhere. So, ensuring your customers are well-supported could make a difference in their loyalty. Plus, in these times in isolation, people are searching for connection. If they don’t feel cared for by your brand, they will go somewhere else.
Qualitative feedback is important and helpful (like sentiment from reviews and social media), but the best way to keep yourself accountable for customer satisfaction is by meaningfully examining data. Some of these metrics include:
- Average speed to answer
- First call resolution
- Customer satisfaction rating (CSR)
- Average handle time
- Hold time
These metrics will also give you more visibility in how your team is doing working remotely. Proactively monitor agent-customer interactions, so you can:
- Identify emerging concerns
- Communicate successful strategies to your team
- Remove common pain points
But in order to better track these metrics, you need call center technology that helps you capture important information and deliver the best customer service.
#3. Use Cloud-Based Tools
Customer satisfaction will improve if your team is supported by the right tools.
Cloud-based software offers many advantages for call centers, including the ability to scale, manage and customize operations without the need for additional hardware. Provided your team has a strong internet connection, cloud-based software makes the transition that much easier. They don’t have to worry about individual hardware and installation.
In addition, the cloud drastically improves data sharing, increases productivity and minimizes security risks. Your call center technology should be hosted in the cloud, so you can spend more time focusing on the customer experience and less time worrying about servers and poor security.
Plus, cloud-based tools often lead to less overall costs and less agent turnover. In a time where stress levels are higher than ever, this is an important factor.
As the industry adjusts to the “new normal” with remote work, call centers need to shift their focus back to the customer. While tracking satisfaction metrics are important, this comes down to prioritizing the wellbeing of your team members and providing them with the right tools to help them work more productively.