The surge in remote working arrangements driven largely by COVID-19, but already evident before the pandemic, has caught many companies napping. The challenges that accompanied this sudden rise have forced them out of their slumber, scrambling to adapt to the changes amplified by the new normal. This reality extends to remote customer success teams and with businesses dipping their toes into what is essentially the future of work, those that are prepared will be better positioned to meet the challenge effectively.
Working remotely presents a set of challenges for both managers and employees in keeping a uniformed approach while working towards a common goal. Effective communication, building trust within teams, and tracking work productivity is suddenly much more challenging when managing a customer success team remotely.
While new situations require companies to adopt and adapt to new strategies to remain competitive, it also creates new opportunities to change the business approach when it comes to customer service success teams, imperative to the survival and growth of any organization.
Remote work means your team may be virtual, but productivity (and the customer) need not suffer, provided you’re focused on the most important aspects and strategies when managing a remote customer success team.
This post will run through the common challenges managers of remote teams usually face, as well as the strategies you can use to set your team up for success.
1. Invest in Communication
Communication is key to the success of any business, but especially when working with remote teams, and successful teams communicate effectively and often. With all team members required to provide daily work status updates, everyone is aligned in terms of progress and problems.
By setting up your communication channels as a first priority you will be able to create a sense of normalcy. There are tons of tools to facilitate your communication needs, but discerning which tool is most effective for your unique communication needs can save you time and hassle down the line. For example, establishing a dedicated internal communication platform (Slack) for important, but less formal communications, and using a meeting platform (Zoom) for longer meetings that would traditionally take place in person.
Being over-communicative with when/how/what to expect may sound monotonous, but finishing each call with an overview of what was discussed on both sides followed by any action items that need completion or next steps before ending the conversation will help keep everyone accountable and make sure nothing slips to the cracks.
Regardless of the platform your company decides to use, having a way to promote two-way communication among remote workers will help them feel less isolated in their job functions.
Transparent Communication Maintains Momentum
Prioritizing transparency through open communication channels allows the entire team to stay on the same page in terms of customer queries and feedback, business updates, protocol changes, urgent problems that need to be addressed, as well as overall team successes.
Transparency in communication should be a team goal and you can ensure your communication channels are transparent by:
- Using group channels for questions instead of direct messages
- Sharing important customer feedback and data on company-wide channels
- Automating the sharing of customer data with a SaaS tool
- Keeping your team on track with structured check-ins
Managing a remote customer success team means you will miss out on signs of overwork and productivity bottlenecks you might otherwise notice in-person in an office environment. This is where regular check-ins with your team become crucial and will help make up for the lack of in-person assessment. You could offset this by:
- Scheduling weekly 1-on-1 calls with team members
- Setting weekly team calls
- Keeping organizational and team goals in a project management app available to the entire team
- Creating and tracking performance goals
- Celebrating successes in every meeting
- Prioritizing check-ins on your calendar.
When your team works in the same location, it is easy for them to build trust and get to know each other personally through in-person interactions and organized company functions.
When there is no opportunity for your team to gather in person, it is more difficult to build a sense of trust, nurture mutual commitment towards business goals, ensure departmental objectives are met, and measure key performance outcomes.
Trust within a team spurs productivity, and you can promote team relationships by organizing virtual get-togethers, trivia, and virtual game nights for your team.
2. Set Clear and High Standards With Customer Success Metrics
When teams are scattered, metrics can be a powerful tool to get everyone on the same page and hold them accountable. To do this you will have to put a laser-beam emphasis on the business strategies that are affecting revenue generation.
Create a compelling vision for customer engagement, where the team is heading, and specific goals you want to achieve. Establish a framework of metrics for measuring progress towards that goal.
The key performance metrics used to evaluate remote employee productivity should be the same criteria used for in-office staff. This ensures uniform and clear expectations, regardless of where and how team members work.
Using a productivity tracking software tool is a smart way to record remote team performance monitoring. These tools will display productivity and performance metrics in real-time and are easy to share with team members and management. Being able to view team metrics on a mobile device and reports emailed to anyone are key features to consider when choosing a productivity tracking tool.
Work-from-home client support performance metrics can include call volumes, average answering time, first response time, number of customer issues, and customer service satisfaction ratings.
3. Work With an Outsourcing Expert
Working with an outsourcing expert has many advantages. It enables you to comply with regulations, transition to new systems where expertise is required, or add specialized functions and services. Partnering with an outsourcing expert can further help you to:
- Reduce operational costs and wage requirements
- Save on training expenses
- Free up resources or employees needed for other projects
- Improve efficiency and productivity
- Minimize business risks
- Take advantage of tax benefits
When evaluating an outsourcing partner, you first need to understand your own needs as a business. In addition, you should be asking the right questions to determine whether the agency’s offerings align with your goals on how to get the most value from a remote team.
Key aspects to consider when choosing an outsourcing expert agency best suited to your company’s specific needs include:
In making your determination on a partner, it’s important to define what you want to achieve through outsourcing your remote customer success team. Whether you want to reduce costs, acquire a broader range of language skills and industry expertise, seeking access to improved technology, or considering extended operational hours, you need to be definitive.
Ensure that you are clear on fixed or flexible contracts, the offerings available, and any small print that needs to be taken note of. Discuss options, obstacles, and concerns with departmental heads and your legal team.
Choose a Compatible and Reliable Agency
Review testimonials when choosing your outsourcing service provider. Make sure they are able to represent your brand in a desirable way. Define your brand voice clearly and examine whether their previous or current clients have achieved similar results to what you are looking for. The ideal outsourcing agency will have experience with companies similar to yours and should have a proven track record of helping businesses achieve customer success goals.
Onboarding and Talent Recruitment
You will have to make sure that the outsourced service provider is clear about your business culture, products, and services. You can do this by providing an effective onboarding process and offer ways for them to stay continually updated. Find out about their selection processes by asking:
- How do you select talent?
- How long will it take to set up a team?
- How much input will (your company) have in selecting team members?
- Will it be easy and what would be the process to scale up in the future?
Helpware is a premier outsourcing agency, that assigns a dedicated onboarding manager to your business to help build your team using a detailed project management method from road mapping to recruiting, training, and launch. The recruiting team then conducts headhunting and sourcing to interview, test, and ultimately build a custom team tailored to your business.
Local Management and Training
Examine whether the agency provides experienced customer success managers who have worked in your business space previously, to what extent management is performed, and how your level of management control will be determined.
With Helpware, you get a dedicated training team to develop and facilitate training initiatives in partnership with clients along with certification for new hires. Helpware then assigns a manager to the clients' remote business team to ensure the work is being done efficiently by measuring KPIs.
Essentially you want an outsourcing partner who has experience in:
- Addressing cultural differences (for international businesses)
- Multi-channel support
- Working with your existing tech stack
- Providing 24/7 customer support
Communication Intervals and Procedures
Clear and prompt communication is vital to the success of outsourcing customer success teams. Make sure you have designated points of contact on both sides to answer calls and emails when urgent matters come up. Clearly define your expectations for response times to queries.
Choose a Flexible Provider
Consider a company that will be flexible to adjustments to help you find the best route to achieving business goals and optimizing your remote customer success team. You may want to consider a trial period to establish the best processes for your company's outcomes.
When considering the cost, compare the services provided. Are there hidden fees? Will the partnership be cost-effective? Will you be able to scale up?
Define how business goals should be measured and how successes and problem areas can be evaluated. Identify intervals at which you expect to receive reports and that the outsourcing agent is in agreement with the goals they’ll be held accountable for.
Outsourcing Solution for Managing a Remote Customer Success Team
From integrating effective communication channels and ensuring new hires are integrated effectively into the team, to tracking productivity and performance, establishing a remote customer success team can be daunting.
With a Helpware-powered solution, this need not be the case. We build customized teams for modern businesses. From recruitment to training to ongoing success, everything is customized to you and your business. Agents with an impressive range of tech backgrounds are trained to handle technical issues and can assist users in over 20 different languages for a truly worldwide service offering.
What really sets Helpware apart as an outsourcing provider and remote customer success team manager is our commitment and dedication to your business success. Explore Helpware’s solutions to build your remote success team and let our team be an extension of your team in developing exceptional customer success teams no matter where they may be operating from.