Increasingly, companies recognise the benefits of virtual customer service teams. And, in response to this, virtual customer service team management is a recognised necessity.
While managing a virtual team has many similarities to managing in-centre teams there are, of course, significant differences. Unlike an in-centre team lead or supervisor, those overseeing home-based agents can be located in a different city, country, or even continent to their team members.
To effectively manage a virtual team, planning, structure, and organisation are essential.
In the work-at-home environment, it’s important to ensure that processes are well-planned and documented. This not only ensures that agents know exactly how to approach each task, but it also reduces the number of questions and concerns they have throughout the day. These processes should be established from day one of the support programme.
Establish communication tools
Clear communications and access ensure that agents can easily and immediately contact the right person with important issues relating to service. Agents should also have clear guidance about which communications tools to use for different messages, and how team members are expected to interact with each other.
For example, the internal chat portal used by the team for questions related to service issues, may look and feel different to one used solely for personal interactions or team building within the virtual space.
When a team works remotely, agents could be located anywhere in the world. It’s important that managers of virtual teams can track who is working and when, and in which time zone. This ensures that business needs are met with everyone scheduled to work at the correct times, and makes arranging meetings, catch-ups, and other touchpoints much more straightforward.
And, giving agents access to the schedule helps with virtual relationship building and friendship development. For example, sharing a virtual lunch break.
Create the right working environment
Creating a well-planned and organised structure within the virtual team helps home-based agents feel like they are part of a professional organisation, despite not being in a traditional office environment. This can be achieved through a simple daily catch-up or regular one to ones to align on agreed clear development goals.
In a virtual team, sharing documents or information can’t be done by walking over to a colleague’s desk and handing it over. Work-at-home team leads must, therefore, give agents access to relevant documents and data digitally, and have the ability to share and update when needed.
Planning and organisation are vital for virtual customer service team management, ensuring that agents have clear and effective processes to follow, while fostering a feeling of teamwork and togetherness. Please get in touch for more information.