On Wednesday 10th June, we held our third virtual meetup- and first in the Portuguese language- on behalf of our online customer support community Global Customer Support Heroes.
“How to improve your agents’ performance while transitioning your team to remote work”
Brazil is one of the biggest economies in the world and has a vibrant customer support scene, hosting companies with huge support operations to deal with the needs of the ever-growing market.
Like many countries, Brazil was strongly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and the entire country has been in quarantine since the end of March, impacting business operations in all industries and consequently millions of customers.
That’s why Kaizo, in partnership with our local partner, Aktie Now, invited the Heads of Customer Support from two of the biggest marketplaces in the country: Grupo ZAP and Webmotors to be part of a panel session to discuss the unique experiences and best practices for thriving whilst transitioning their customer support team to remote work.
The content of the meetup was localized in Portuguese, so here you find a summary of some of the key ideas and insights that were discussed throughout the event.
The process of structuring the customer support department to a new remote reality
- First, the shock of change and the fear of uncertainty impacted all levels of the company, especially employees with operational roles
- Companies had to navigate the feeling of uncertainty and keep a state of calm amongst employees, even offering psychological support.
- Companies were forced to break the paradigm that customer support should be an on-site operation.
- Both companies had already started investing in offering the means necessary (tech-wise) for their agents to perform their work remotely before the crisis hit, so it wasn’t a huge problem for their current operations.
- The crisis accelerated the change, but both companies had to purchase internet equipment and rent notebooks for the agents since part of the team was using a desktop.
- After setting up their agents, new business practices had to be created, especially in internal & external communication, and new team rituals.
- In the new situation, leaders have to practice empathy and try to understand their team’s new reality.
Workforce performance in the new scenario
- Uncertainty about the future definitely impacted performance according to both panelists.
- Empathy & honest communication are the keys to calm down your employees and allow them to focus on work.
- In the beginning, both companies faced a slight downturn in productivity until their teams were able to adapt to the new reality.
- The panelists reinforced that working remotely is also a matter of discipline and it’s important that companies educate their employees about the best practices on time management and productivity.
- After this adaptability period, both companies experienced a surge in productivity which positively affected their main KPIs measured in the company such as Average Reply Time & CSAT.
- Another important topic brought up by the panelists was the importance of training your agents to be generalists and being able to relocate to different roles within the customer support department, according to the new needs of the company.
- Having a flexible support team allows the company to be agile to adapt to new scenarios and the leadership to restructure the team according to customer demands that also changed during the pandemic.
Acceleration of the digital transformation process in support channels
- Both panelists agreed that the pandemic catalyzed the digital transformation process within companies, especially in customer experience.
- An omnichannel experience was already important before but it’s essential now.
- Both companies have well-structured customer support operations and had already implemented an omnichannel approach before, so they were not that impacted in this sense.
- However, during the crisis both introduced new tools to support the peak period such as chatbots and Whatsapp.
- Companies need to reinvent themselves in these periods and launch new features to offer the best customer experience.
The role of customer support in a company during a crisis period
- The customer support team is the voice of the client within the company, it’s essential that the agents listen to what the customer has to say and provide this feedback to leadership, allowing the company to build new features, develop new business opportunities & improve customer experience.
- The customer support team must be focused on delivering the best customer experience and the customer relationship must be dealt with responsibly, as the clients are the reason that the company exist
- It’s important that customer support becomes a profit-centered operation, with the goal of retaining the customer with excellent customer service.