8 Tips for Maintaining and Strengthening Customer Relationships While Working Remotely
Remote work is the way of the world now, and it’s the way forward – thanks to the hybrid working model.
Most businesses quickly adapted and embraced digitalization without hampering business operations or keeping customers waiting. Video chats, instant messaging with collaboration tools, and team progress tracking on project management software have become the norm.
The sales team, for example, can now generate contract terms, obtain approvals on any changes to contract terms, and have their customers electronically sign key documents through contract management software.
What is contract management, you ask? It refers to how companies create and manage contracts for their leads, prospects, and long-time customers. Since offices have become remote, contracts are drafted, discussed and signed online, keeping all stakeholders informed and without hampering a company’s sales efforts.
However, not everything is hunky-dory.
Establishing a personal connection with your customers, for example, becomes much more difficult due to the absence of physical meetings – and some companies overcompensate for this by keeping customer communication lines open around the clock and leading to burnout of sales and customer service teams.
A standard 67% of salespeople have experienced burnout while working remotely and rate their stress level at 7/10. A study from the Quarterly Journal of Economics reports that remote customer service teams succeed 13% more requests every day.
Of course, overloading your employees is not the solution. What it takes is a little adjustment on everyone’s part, a willingness to adapt, and a shared commitment to providing top-notch service. Here, we share our top tips for doing just that.
1. Hire the right team
A remote sales and customer relations team requires its own skills, distinct from the traditional way of working. The ideal candidate should be comfortable in a fast-paced digital environment, proficient in time management, and adept at carrying conversations across multiple channels while delivering satisfaction.
They must also be motivated – as they will be working from home – and willing to take ownership of their role. Try to hire people who have worked remotely before, including freelancers and consultants. Hire someone you can count on to take care of your customers.
2. Invest in remote employee training
With in-person onboarding out of the picture, you need to allow your team to feel equally empowered and empowered while working from home. This requires building a top-notch repository of learning materials and training videos for different roles.
According to TalentLMS, 80% of employees would like to receive training on technical skills and 53% want to be trained on their soft skills. So you can boost engagement by designing content as a self-paced learning journey with points and rewards.
Also, encourage the team to reach out to senior managers for any additional help. Foster a transparent environment – an environment that promotes growth and learning.
3. Set clear KPIs for all team members
No matter where you work from, there should be clear sales and customer service standards that everyone adheres to.
Some KPIs to work with include call volumes, deals closed per rep, average response time, sales tools used per rep, leads generated through different channels, customer satisfaction score, customer retention level the clientele and the number of incoming requests.
4. Have a communication strategy for your customers
While every customer has their own specific needs, your team shouldn’t approach every conversation on a case-by-case basis.
There needs to be a clear communication strategy, including email sequences, decision trees, and call scripts, that your sales team can use to deliver consistent service every time.
This not only eliminates the guesswork, but also gives each salesperson the best chance to give the customer accurate solutions. Customize your messaging to current events.
5. Enable self-service for case resolution
Do you know why one in three buyers are frustrated? Hard-to-navigate websites that make it difficult to find what they need – yes. Poor quality or repetitive contact forms – of course. Not having after-hours service—definitely!
It is rarely possible for your human sales and customer relations team to be able to handle all the questions and complaints that come in. In this regard, a chatbot preloaded with answers to the most common questions can save you time and solve problems faster.
According to Drift, the use of the chatbot as a brand communication channel has increased impressively 92% since 2019! In fact, nearly 25% of customers now use chatbots to communicate with businesses.
Advanced chatbots can also hold human-like conversations and redirect the customer to a human agent for critical queries. A knowledge base equipped with how-to tutorials and frequently asked questions is also a good investment – set up your chatbot to direct customers to the right content.
6. Let your customers know where they stand
Transparency is crucial when it comes to building relationships with customers. If there are any delays in proposal development, product upgrades, organizational changes, or any other developments that your customer should be aware of, let them know promptly, whether through a social media post or personal email. This way you also open a new channel of engagement.
In a world of distance, you need to be there for your customers when they need you, which means being there on every channel they’re on. It can also be contextual – sometimes they might be okay with a quick response from the DM, and other times they might need a detailed conversation over the phone. Pay attention to what your salespeople are saying about customer behavior and establish a presence accordingly.
7. Be transparent and have regular team meetings
Working from home can be more isolating than you think. To counter this, it is important for managers to check their teams frequently and have 1:1 calls at regular intervals.
Plus, organize informal catch-ups internal communication tools like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams to help your reps feel more like family, especially new hires.
You can play virtual games together or host karaoke matches – anything to break the ice and remind everyone they’re all on the same team.
Research conducted by Queens University of Charlotte found that 39% of employees agree that they don’t collaborate enough with their team members, with only 27% of employees receiving communications training.
To federate your employees, encourage exchanges and allow them to get to know each other in their own way. When your employees are on the same page, it becomes easier to deal with customer requests.
8. Keep collecting customer feedback for improvements
You won’t know if your remote customer service strategy is working unless customers say so. Be proactive in collecting feedback and opinions, whether through a social listening tool or direct surveys you share with customers.
You can also use CSAT and other scores to help you gauge your performance against certain metrics.
In conclusion, maintaining a remote customer relationship may seem like a challenge at first, but as long as you’re transparent and proactive and have the right processes in place, you can make it work.
Your sales and customer service team is your greatest asset, so be sure to help everyone do their best. And remember – whether you’re working remotely or not, exceptional service and honest engagement will win clients every time. Good luck!
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PR mention. She has over 6 years of experience writing articles on business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel enjoys dividing her time between writing, editing and spending time with her family.