Companies were scrambling to get their employees adapted to the remote work environments in the summer of 2020. Add family members and kids in school, all working or studying from home, into the mix, and there were plenty of adjustments over that time! It was new, exciting in both good and challenging ways. But now, most employers expect that most of their furloughed workers won’t return to work until the end of 2021, according to the Society for Human Resources Management. In fact, more workers will continue working from home on a permanent basis than when COVID-19 hit.
With remote teams spreading out and becoming more commonplace, working remotely and on a decentralized schedule has begun to appeal to more employees. With this comes the need to figure out how to keep support teams engaged with each other in this new environment. On top of this, there is the need to find ways to maintain team communication and keep agents motivated to provide excellent customer service.
How is this done successfully? In this article, you will learn about tips to improve collaboration between your remote team members. Hopefully, after reading, you will find the best tactics that will work for your operations.
How to Enable Remote Customer Support Collaboration
Collaboration between remote workers can be difficult. In fact, it usually is. It’s important to keep team members engaged with each other, maintain communication, and keep them motivated to provide excellent customer service.
Here are some of the key ways you can enable collaboration between remote workers:
1 – Use the right tools for remote access sessions
This is the most important item to keep in mind. It can’t be said enough – what was the best tool for communication and collaboration (for example, chat and screen sharing) a couple of years ago may not be the best tool for the same thing now. New tools are being introduced daily, and often, old tools also improve. You can find out about the latest tools and what your workers are using through social media channels or from their own blogs. Sometimes, newer tools are best suited for the remote work environment than the previous ones were. For example, Slack is a much popular messaging tool for remote workers than IRC is.
2 – Security for critical infrastructures
Security is a big issue for remote work, no matter if it’s through a messaging client or instant messenger, or communication platform. You must be able to trust the security of your infrastructure, the security of your remote workers, as well as the security of your vendors, partners, and peers who are working with you on a remote basis.
It is essential to have a good remote control and screen sharing product that is easy to use and easy to set up. It is easy to control and share screens across geographical distances, which allows the remote workers to see each other’s screens and collaborate effectively, and the team members sitting in the same building to share their screens with each other for a better experience.
3 – Keep team members motivated
Finding the right motivators at the right times is important to your remote teams. You might have a great communication platform, fast Internet access, and reliable hardware – but if the team members aren’t motivated, the project will fail.
While you would like to think that your remote team members are just as motivated as the team members in the office, this isn’t always the case. It’s very important to constantly communicate with your workers, to share information with them, to communicate constantly about the importance of the project and the team to you.
Sometimes, it’s very easy to push off tasks that are less interesting, less exciting, and less motivating. It’s up to you, as their manager, to make sure that you make those tasks the most important things on their plate so that they will be motivated to tackle them before anything else.
4 – Cloud-based contact center solutions
When you’re operating in a cloud-based contact center, you don’t need to worry about the infrastructure, which is the first step towards remote customer service success. You don’t need to worry about your contact center solution, or your remote worker’s applications, or your network; all these things are taken care of by your cloud-based contact center provider.
5 – Keep communication flowing
With everything that’s being done to enable collaboration between your remote workers, there are still some things that you can’t do. You can’t force your workers to talk to each other, and you can’t force them to keep the communication going.
It’s your job as a manager to make sure that your remote workers stay in contact with each other, to make sure that they feel like they don’t have to worry about the future and that they are supported in their goals. Also, keeping an active communication line between employees and the management team will keep everyone grounded and connected. This will help them develop connections that will contribute to more positive teamwork.
6 – Encourage collaboration with customers
While you don’t want to add too much extra work to your team members, you do want to encourage them to collaborate with customers. Think of ways that you can have your remote workers collaborate with the customers that are working with them.
For example, if the customer is looking to collaborate with your team members, but your team members are not having a conversation with each other, that’s a problem. The customer may feel like they’re flying blind and that they can’t get the support they want.
This is a unique situation, and you may need to adjust the way you work to deal with this situation. Maybe you move a team member who was working from home into the office for a few days to help the customer connect with the team members when they need to work together.
7 – Don’t be afraid to lighten things up!
Even in remote work environments, it’s important to keep employees engaged and motivated. Even if it’s a remote team, your team members have to have fun and smile a little bit! If you’ve got a problem with your remote workers being bored and not motivated, try to start a remote game competition with some of your remote workers at some point during the year. It doesn’t matter what the competition is – it can be a checkers competition, Trivial Pursuit, or it can be something else. The point is to get everyone together and communicate with each other.
Fortunately, remote work is here to stay, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. This is a fact that should be embraced by employers, especially because it comes with challenges that were not present in the past. And while challenges never go away, there’s always a way to overcome them, and as you’ve learned in this article, the challenges can be overcome by using the right tools, keeping communication open and flowing, and keeping the team members motivated and engaged.
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