Did you know that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (CX)?
Your support team is the primary (and often the only) customer touchpoint. Therefore, it’s important to build a customer care department that can deliver a seamless CX.
Meanwhile, it has become more cost-efficient for companies to leverage a remote workforce for customer support. They can take advantage of the reduced overhead cost, access a larger candidate pool, and provide round-the-clock support to customers in different time zones at no additional cost.
However, running a remote customer support team isn’t without its challenges – especially if you want to deliver a top-notch and personalized experience to every customer.
Some common hurdles include:
- Ensuring timely communication and information sharing so every team member is on the same page.
- Tracking work and monitoring results to help employees stay focused and productive.
- Making sure that team members can deliver an on-brand and consistent customer experience.
- Enabling team members to work autonomously, especially if their supervisors are in a different time zone.
- Implementing endpoint security to protect your customer data.
Here’s how you can overcome these challenges and build a remote customer support team to deliver a seamless customer experience:
Hire Team Members With a Customer-Centric Mindset
The interaction between support team members and your customers will define the quality of the customer experience. Hiring the right people is key to delivering an outstanding contact center experience and here are some important traits to look for:
- Basic soft skills such as patience, empathy, attentiveness, communication skills, positivity, and the ability to “read” the customers.
- Technical knowledge about your product and general understanding of your industry.
- Self-management and time-management skills, as well as self-motivation to complete tasks on time.
- The drive to act proactively and make decisions autonomously.
- Collaboration skills and a track record of working in virtual teams.
- The ability to thrive under a low-touch and flexible management style.
- A customer-centric mindset that drives them to think outside of the box and prioritize the delivery of an outstanding customer experience.
Use Cloud-Based Communication and Collaboration Tools
Cloud-based software applications, such as project management, communication, and file-sharing platforms, allow team members to collaborate cost-efficiently from anywhere with an internet connection.
Meanwhile, a unified communications (UC) platform and contact center software enable your team to communicate with customers via multiple channels (e.g., phone, email, chat, social media.) You can have all the interactions synched up in a centralized location to ensure a seamless support experience.
Many of these platforms integrate well with each other so supervisors can manage progress at a glance on a unified dashboard. Also, they allow employees from different time zones to catch up with all the communications when they start their shifts to minimize errors and delays when they interact with customers.
Set Up a Centralized and Searchable Knowledge Base
Customers expect your support team to help them resolve issues quickly. In fact, 99% of consumers say that interacting with knowledgeable reps is an essential part of a great CX while the first contact resolution rate is a key indicator of customer satisfaction.
However, a remote customer support team member can’t simply walk over to the next desk and ask for help when she encounters a question for which she doesn’t have an answer. Therefore, you need to provide the resources your agents need to resolve customer queries independently.
To do so, set up an online searchable knowledge base (e.g., a private wiki) on which your team can access the latest information about your products. Such information should include detailed step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting procedures, and links to how-to videos that agents can share with customers.
Your team should also have the ability to update the information, ask questions, and add answers on an ongoing basis. This will create a supportive culture, increase employee engagement, and ensure that the knowledge base is current and relevant.
Implement a Customer Service Software Application
A customer service platform enables you to manage customer interactions across all touchpoints in a centralized location so any team member can pick up where the conversations have left off to deliver a seamless customer experience.
Some key features to look for in customer service software include omnichannel communication capabilities, ticketing system, live chat support, customer self-service portal, customer sentiment analysis, and survey tool.
These platforms also allow supervisors to see all customer interactions and metrics on a unified dashboard so they don’t have to micro-manage team members.
For example, managers can see the number of calls taken, the number of issues resolved, hours worked, high-priority issues, and tasks assigned to each team member to ensure that every agent is staying productive and delivering a high-quality customer experience.
Implement a Comprehensive Onboarding Process
A thorough and well-orchestrated onboarding process is particularly important for getting remote employees up to speed since they may not have immediate access to their colleagues or supervisors due to time zone differences and have to make decisions independently.
In order to deliver a seamless customer experience, your reps need to understand internal processes, communication protocols, and other operational procedures so they can resolve issues appropriately or route inquiries to the right departments.
Your team also needs to be trained on how to use all the communication and customer service applications effectively so they can optimize the tools they have at their disposal and ensure the effective functioning of the team.
In addition, since team members need to connect to your systems and access customer information using their own network and equipment, it’s important to ensure the security of the connections and the privacy of their networks.
Data breaches aren’t only costly but will also impact customer experience and erode trust. It’s therefore important to provide the necessary support and training to team members from day one to make sure your network is secure and your customer data is safe.
Educate Your Team About Your Customers
Your team requires an in-depth understanding of your ideal customers in order to deliver the most relevant CX, meet customer expectations, make product recommendations, and resolve product-related issues.
Create customer avatars/buyer personas and share them with your support team. Educate your agents about your audience, such as demographic information, their expectations, what they want from your products, as well as their preferences and values so your team can build rapport with your customers and anticipate their needs.
Also, enable your support team to deliver an on-brand customer experience by educating them about your company’s vision and values. When you build a team culture based on your brand identity, you can empower your agents to proactively take initiatives to surprise and delight your customers with an outstanding CX.
Delivering seamless customer experience is the key to acquiring and retaining more customers so you can increase sales and boost your bottom line.
Not to mention, hiring the right customer service agents and providing them with the appropriate tools can improve employee satisfaction and retention. These long-term employees often possess the much-needed institutional knowledge, insights about your audience, and enthusiasm about your brand that will turn any customer interaction into an outstanding experience.