Ever since the 1970s, telecommuting is one of the most preferred modes of work. Although it did not gain much popularity when the term was first coined, it started to gain more attention with the introduction of newer devices and technology.
Today, more and more companies seem to be offering remote positions. And industries that once depended upon in-house work-environment, like Customer Service offices, now considering an online shift.
But the plot twist here is the current pandemic. Before customer service teams could thoroughly plan their shift to the digital world and move into their virtual workplaces with a clear mindset, the COVID-crisis forced them into it. All of a sudden, they had no choice but to operate online while staying at their homes.
Needless to say, such an abrupt shift to telecommuting brought forward several challenges their way. Below, you will find the top 6-challenges they currently face along with their potential solutions. Note that the challenges listed below are more or less the same for planned and unplanned online shifts. So, the solutions listed below will serve efficiently in both scenarios.
1. Poorly Equipped Workplace
Remote working means doing with the equipment you can afford. Or if your hiring company is reasonable enough, they’ll equip you with the right equipment and software. But still, not the furniture, not the rest of the office tools. And that might be a bigger problem for you if you previously worked in an office. Working with mid-range or older laptops, that too on your couch or at the corner of your kitchen table can hinder your productivity substantially.
Perhaps, the most effective and affordable way of overcoming this challenge is to set up a separate workplace. It’s your home, and you cannot dedicate an entire room for office work, we know. But maybe you can dedicate a side table or a particular corner of your house solely to work? It will boost your productivity as your brain will start associating that particular section of the house for work purposes only. Also, give yourself regular breaks. Working adults at least need a break of 2 hours and 30 minutes in the entire workweek. So, permit yourself to stretch a little, play a short refreshing match of double solitaire with your buddies, or tend to your cat every once in a while.
2. Excessive Workload
Perhaps, the worst consequence of the global pandemic imposition was the halt in economical activities. It led to a financial crisis on all entities, organizations, companies, and individuals.
As a result, people became more concerned and stressed about their investments and finalized deals. Ever since there is a rise in daily support requests received by customer services.
Sometimes, people only contact to confirm whether the company’s still processing their order or not. While this may appear reasonable for the general public, it signals an increased workload for the customer service agents.
Canned responses refer to pre-determined replies to frequently asked questions. You can use canned responses on any software easily, including Gmail. For example, a canned response to explain your company’s status regarding the Coronavirus pandemic.
Plus, you can also create response templates so that you don’t have to type the entire conversation multiple times in a day. An even better approach towards solving this matter is to benefit from today’s advanced technology and use Chatbots.
A Chatbot refers to artificially intelligent software that possesses the capability to communicate with customers naturally. You can program these Chatbots to reply to commonly asked questions or fulfill simple requests.
Furthermore, as a remote customer service agent, you can schedule a meeting with relevant authorities and forward the idea of updating the FAQ page of the official website. An observed study shows people prefer FAQ and self-service rather than contacting the company.
3. Collaboration Difficulties
Communication with the team is one of the most challenging aspects of telecommuting. When several people are working on the same project but in different locations, and sometimes in different time zones, they are unable to maintain a smooth flow of work. Thus, resulting in delays. The case is even truer in customer service, where prompt responses by teammates are a prime necessity.
To make collaboration easier and better while remote working, it’s best to make use of team collaboration tools and programs like Slack. For document collaboration, one can use Google Drive, and similarly, other tools for specifics functions.
4. Distractive Environment
Work from home has provided challenges to many. But the biggest challenge is to manage the work side by side with parenting. Catering to kid’s needs, while trying to attend those incoming calls can become hectic.
And your professional life starts troubling when the distractive noises in the background won’t let you understand the customer’s problem. But, don’t worry because there are solutions to this too.
Perhaps, the best method to keep work and home life balance is to establish independent work hours. Similar to the past, follow a routine as if you are going to an office. In these hours, work separately in a dedicated house area or home office.
And, for noise cancellation, there are some integrated applications available online that make the mic focus on your voice rather than the surroundings.
5. Security Risks
Previously, the world was in its early stages of adapting to digitalized businesses. Suddenly, the pandemic struck, and the process got fast-forward with everyone relying on the virtual world for survival.
Hence, the transition of complete customer services departments into remote teams has posed security threats. Several companies are new to the remote work concept and are facing a hard time maintaining the security protocols digitally.
Well, there are many databases and work portals available to ensure your remote team gets connected through one platform. Establishing a one-way method of working and accessing information that only employees know can lessen security hazards. Plus, checking the location of login and timings can help one ensure the company data is secure.
6. More of Irate Customers
Undeniably, the imposing of the global pandemic has stressed and panicked everyone, especially the customers. The intensity of stress is varying with different countries.
However, in general, the threatening uncertainty and gloomy news have left us all terrified. In this case, stressed and angered customers can be difficult to handle.
When you cross paths with angered customers, it is important to keep your calm. You may be in more pressure than the calling customer, but don’t rush.
Try to reassure the customer and apologize on the company’s behalf. Attempt to talk things out, and forward the matter to relevant authorities.
However, in case all attempts are in vain, let things go. If you feel frustrated or saddened, benefit from remote work, and take a break. Remember your mental health and well-being is also important for being able to handle difficult situations.
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