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Customer Support Leaders on Remote Teamwork and Management

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The eighteenth release of Support Heroes by Kaizo featured Brittany Ferguson- Senior Manager of Customer Support at Brio Systems, Inc and Charlotte Ward- Head of Support at Snowplow.

In this episode, Brittany, a manager new to remote teamwork, exchanges lessons learned with our first returning guest, Charlotte, a long-time remote manager. The episode touched on all things remote work: management, teamwork, training, culture building, communication, documentation and much more.

Don’t do it all on Zoom 

  • When in-person, it’s easy to grab a few colleagues, huddle into a conference room and go through some focused training.  
  • When working online it’s a bit different…realtime distractions, differing schedules, zoom fatigue all contribute to meetings being less efficient; especially for training. 

“The biggest thing to do is to let go of the notion that you have to deliver training and coaching or develop new processes in real-time.” – Charlotte Ward

  • The solution for this, according to Charlotte, is providing information and guidance asynchronously. Which just means making information consumable and available at any time. 
  • The benefit is that people can internalise information whenever it’s convenient for them but this is only possible if the information is easily accessible! 

Make it easy to consume, accessible and make the team aware

  • The benefit of zoom is that everyone in the call is there at one time and place. If information is delivered elsewhere, it has to be readily accessible otherwise it won’t be consumed. 

“As soon as you stop delivering [training, coaching, processes etc.] synchronously [eg. in a zoom call] you have to make it really accessible..” – Charlotte Ward

  • 3-minute Zoom recordings with screen share, Loom videos, Jira cards that describe and record processes and decisions are all examples of ways to deliver information asynchronously.
  • Equally important, however, is making the team aware that such information is being delivered and signposting to where it’s housed. 
  • Charlotte always shares and summarises the aforementioned cards and videos in Slack all ensure information is accessible and the team are aware of what’s going out at all times. 

How do you make sure your team receives the message loud and clear?

“We’ve all sat in training rooms [in person] pretending that we’re paying attention when none of it is actually going in…so for me, it’s about check-pointing after.” – Charlotte Ward

  • Providing information asynchronously means you can’t ask “understood?” after each point but this could be a feature, not a bug. 
  • This really represents one of the benefits of remote work. Time can be freed up by not requiring people to be in the same place at the same time and one is able to remotely verify whether everyone understands at any time.  
  • In support this is even easier as CRMs, QA tools etc lend themselves particularly well to reviewing the implementation of processes and decisions remotely after an action is taken. 

So save the calls for when it counts!  

  • With all the time saved from mass meetings being minimised, time is freed up for the impromptu conversations that are so revered and missed from office life. 
  • A two-minute conversation conveys more information than a paragraph in Slack; as well as taking less time, providing greater context and being more personal. 

“Talk to us if you have questions, ideas, if you think there’s a better way to handle a certain situation or want to add to this, let’s have that conversation off-hand.” – Brittany Ferguson

  • Have a conversation to formulate the information, decision or process; allow it to be distributed, consumed and applied asynchronously; then allow people to nominate themselves for a conversation about how it went. 

If you enjoyed this, check out the rest of our episodes with support heroes from N26, Github, trivago, Miro & more. Now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, GoogleAmazon.

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