Technology is making the world smaller. The internet has given us the capability to connect with customers, regardless of where they are in the world. It’s a truly global marketplace, with ideas like Software as a Service, and Cloud-based working letting businesses sell their goods and services all around the globe (or all over the disc, if that’s what you choose to believe).
All that offers immense potential for growth, but one area where some companies are struggling is in customer service. After all, if your native time zone is PST and your customer is on GMT, that’s a 7-hour difference. If your UK customers can’t log in at 9 am, do you really think they’ll be happy waiting until you all get into the office at 4 pm their time? No, we don’t either.
Of course, the obvious answer to that is to make sure that all timezones are covered. You have two choices with how to do that; you could get staff in your home country to work shifts, or you could hire remotely to give 24-hour coverage. But we think the advantages of hiring remote are greater than just making sure someone is there when the phone rings/chatbot pings. Here’s why.
What Makes Great Customer Service?
The specifics of great customer service will vary a lot from business to business, but there are some general standards that most people agree on. The Institute of Customer Service in the UK talks about three different measures: Timeliness, Accuracy, and Appropriateness. So let’s look at how hiring remote can help you with those.
Any time a customer has a problem, it needs to be dealt with in a reasonable timeframe. How long or short that timeframe is will depend on a lot of factors, but one thing that most customers want is to be able to talk to someone right away. That’s why AI chatbots are springing up all over the place, because they give the illusion that someone is listening, even if they aren’t.
While there are some pros to having an AI screen your customer inquiries, for example freeing up the time of your tech support guys while the AI points someone to your FAQ, there are downsides, too. One of those is improper escalation; that’s where your AI doesn’t properly understand the input text and so escalates queries unnecessarily or offers incorrect advice for something more serious.
But the real bonus of having a global team is that someone can work on a customer’s issue as soon as they get reported. Technical staff who can help out, and get that customer working again as soon as possible. How much better than an automated email response saying, ‘We’ll get back to you in working hours’ is a personal response giving an estimated time for a fix?
Customers want accurate information. If they’re having problems running their end of month reports, they want to be talking to someone who understands what they’re doing, and why it’s important. While your customer service team might have a good idea of what your product or service is supposed to do, they probably don’t understand it the way a techie does. They don’t have that ‘inside out’ knowledge that comes from having eyes on the code itself.
Think about those poor customers outside your time zone, who are always either having to wait for accurate information or getting the admin teams best guess. Now think about how much better that would be with 24/7 tech support.
Not to keep ragging on AI again, but remember what we said about improper escalation? There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than getting a response from the helpdesk that doesn’t answer their question. Of course, it isn’t just AIs; how often have you raised a concern with a company only to get a copy & paste response that’s sort of related to what you asked but doesn’t actually answer your question. It’s the sort of thing that can turn even the most amiable customer into AN ALL CAPS RANTER!!!
Again, this comes down to help desk staffing. If you don’t have technical staff available, then the administrative team are going to have to give their best guess response. If you’ve hired remotely then you can have technical staff available the clock round and your customers will have less reason to hammer at their keyboards in anger.
All the Remote Benefits
It isn’t just the fact that you have technical staff available all the time that improves your customer service. You also get the added bonuses that come any time you hire remote. If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ve heard them all before but just in case, these include:
- Being able to hire the cream of the global crop, not just those who grow locally.
- A more productive team.
- Improved employee engagement.
- Better staff retention (lowering your hiring costs!)
- Access to a more diverse talent pool
And it’s that last one that can bring real dividends for customer service. When you increase diversity in your own team, you create a product or service that includes that diversity; so your customers are more likely to have had their needs considered. For example, if you hire a developer with a visual impairment, you automatically get a subject matter expert on accessibility.
Then there’s the language barrier. Even between the English and the Americans who supposedly speak the same language, confusion can occur. Let’s not even talk about the problems that Google translate can cause. How much nicer for your Spanish, Arabic, or Japanese customers if they can connect with someone who speaks their native language!
We get that if you’ve never hired remotely before, it can be daunting. The good news is that you’re not alone. Not only do we have a lot of content on our blog which will help you we also produce a weekly podcast where Luis talks to some of the movers and shakers of the world of remote work.
And if you want us to help you find the perfect bug buster or other techie type, we can do that! We’ll find out all about you and what you need, and then go and find the perfect developers to match your job description. And we can do it in less than two weeks. Sound good? Get in touch today and put our (fully remote) customer service to the test!