As companies are planning for employees to return to the office, they are also considering having a mix of employees who are remote, in-person, or a hybrid of the two.
Surprisingly, service industry employees are interested in the hybrid working model. A recent survey found that representatives would be 14% more interested in working from a combination of home and office, rather than just in the office. Furthermore, 45% more representatives would be interested in a blended model, rather than just working at home.
Although your employees are willing to cooperate, it may be difficult for you, as a service manager, to figure out how to manage a hybrid support team effectively. Teams that provide customer support can still be successful using a hybrid working model.
This post will describe what customer service hybrid teams are and how to manage them, using input from leaders of remote HubSpot customer service teams.
What Does Hybrid Customer Service Look Like?
For support teams, customer service that involves a mix of working from home and in the office, or combining the two, is common. Even though employees might be in different parts of the world and have different time zones, they can still provide delightful experiences and excellent service to customers.
Although hybrid teams may seem similar to in-office groups at first, they are actually quite different because they work in different places. Your team’s jobs, goals, and support remain unchanged.
How to Implement and Plan Hybrid Customer Service Strategies
You may be worried even though there isn’t much difference. If your teams are unable to communicate well online, they may not be able to collaborate effectively. This could lead to project delays and a lack of productivity. What if they’re not productive? What if you lose the sense of unity you once had with someone in person? The following are valid questions that will be addressed.
Create an environment that replicates in-person experiences.
Most of the service managers we spoke to say that it’s important to create an environment for your team that is similar to what they would experience if they were working together in person. This includes things like being able to collaborate and interact with each other easily.
Bhandarkar believes that the key to successful remote work is replicating the environment of in-person collaboration.
Sindhu Suresh, a Manager on the Customer Success team, offers this advice for creating an effective environment for your team. The environment you create can be influenced by your team’s organic structure, so keep that in mind when making decisions. She encourages her teams to imitate in-person interactions virtually by having normal Slack or Zoom meetings toReplicate the moments where someone would ask a question in person if they were in the office.
The way we communicate virtually can sometimes lead to misunderstanding and confusion which can have a negative effect on service representatives’ success. Bhandarkar said that he would rather over-communicate with his team through correspondence to make sure that everyone has the required information.
Although there may still be some questions, it is easier for representatives to approach you with questions that can be answered specifically if you are direct.
In addition to being a supporter of over-communication, Suresh also has his own reasons for why he believes in its importance. The woman says that communicating often is important for staying connected, not micromanaging. She and the other managers on her team like to invite reps to communicate with each other, check in, share stories, and seek guidance on customer work.
Don’t overlook the little things.
There are things that come with working in an office that remote and hybrid employees don’t have options for, like asking a neighbor when the next meeting starts. If you’re leading a remote team, understand that your employees may not have the option to do things that you deem insignificant.
The solution? The things that may seem small and insignificant can actually be pretty impactful to the overall employee experience and satisfaction.” According to Simon Wong, Director of JPAC Customer Success and Services at HubSpot, paying attention to the small details is essential for creating a positive employee experience in hybrid teams. Although they may seem unimportant, the little things can have a big impact on employee satisfaction. We always want to make sure that our meeting invites contain a Zoom link so that team members that are dialed in don’t feel isolated, and to avoid side conversations with meeting attendees that are physically present.
While in-office workers may view small things as insignificant, remote and hybrid teams may view them as a luxury. It’s important to remember that even the most simple in-person task may mean a lot to a remote employee. Try to find ways to incorporate them into their work experience.
Be mindful of virtual meeting fatigue.
Being online all the time can be overwhelming. There’s too much online and it’s exhausting. Long meetings don’t help.
Bhandarkar is very aware of the potential for virtual meeting fatigue and creates schedules accordingly. Instead of hosting one large meeting that covers many topics, he prefers to create separate, specific meetings for each topic. This allows team members to stay focused and prevents them from feeling overwhelmed.
The speaker discusses how their team has two different types of weekly meetings- ones for updates and customer stories, and ones for forecasting- in order to more effectively retain information.
All of the leaders we spoke to said that one-on-one meetings were important when managing a hybrid team. Bhandarkar’s main tip is not to skip them. You become more of a coach than a manager.” He says that these meetings allow you to check in with your team and their progress, workload, and mental state. You become more of a coach than a manager. You won’t be able to help your team as much as you could if you don’t have the opportunity to talk to them one-on-one.
Because I know how important they are to the development of my employees and my team’s success.” According to Suresh, the most important thing to do is to prioritize weekly 1:1s and team meetings. He believes that these meetings are crucial for the growth of his employees and the success of his team. I pay full attention to my team during that time, without being distracted by emails or Slack messages. Like Bhandarkar, she believes these meetings are a good opportunity to notice things that could be affecting your team that you would miss if you were not in the same office.
I definitely feel like I’m missing out on a lot of that this season.” She said that not being able to be physically around her team and feeling their energy on the floor is one of the most challenging things for her this season. You will need to try harder in one-on-one conversations and team meetings to find out what might be causing people to feel energetic or not energetic in a particular week.
You should check in with your remote employees at least once a week, and Zoom is a great way to do this. This gives you a chance to find out how they are doing and to make sure that they are receiving all the information they need.
Practical Strategies to Improve Customer Service
Customers today expect to have personal, relevant, and accessible experiences when they interact with businesses, and this is also true for modern finance. As the world enters a new post-pandemic phase, digital-first service will become increasingly important in keeping customers connected to your offerings no matter where they are.
What are some ways to deliver exceptional customer experience in banking?
Monitor end-to-end customer journeys to create a 360° view
It’s crucial to map out your customer’s journey in order to deliver the exact service they’re expecting.
First things first! To identify all touchpoints, look at all channels where customers are engaged. A common banking customer journey may include:
- A business professional checking account balance online
- Depositing a paycheck in-branch
- Verifying the deposited funds on a smartphone.
It is important to have feedback experiences in place at all three touchpoints. Then, identify your target customers, create customer personas, and focus on your customer experience program.
What is the customer journey for your institution? How do customers engage with your institution? To create a journey map, start by identifying the first point of contact your customers have with your brand. Then, identify each subsequent step they take, as well as all potential steps they could take, until the journey is complete.
Consider customers who may be at risk and reach out to them to improve the relationship.
If financial institutions can learn to identify customers who are at risk of leaving, proactively engage with them on a personal level, and identify what is causing the customer’s behavior, companies have a much higher chance of keeping the customer loyal, maybe even for life.
The goal is to use experience management to move from being reactive to predicting customer behavior and eventualy providing exceptional customer experiences across all touchpoints.
Provide Real-Time Support
Organizing finances on the go is a top priority for many people and live chat is the best way to find answers quickly online.
Citibank noted that almost all (90%) of those who use its live chat option to inquire about home-equity applications end up completing the process.
Chatting live with bank representatives can help to offset the feeling that banks are impersonal and unresponsive to customers. It offers your customers personal human support that is easy to contact.
American Airlines Federal Credit Union has realized the benefits of live chat and given their customer service representatives the authority to engage with customers in real time. Some of the biggest German institutions, such as Hypovereinsbank and Targobank, use live chat as their main form of customer service.
How can live chat improve customer service in the banking industry?
- Increase sales conversions – Live chat can address customer queries instantly and help in faster decision making leading to more sales. It can also approach customers proactively – if they are stuck at some page/point you can trigger a chat window to automatically open with an invite to chat.
- Sending files securely – Implementing a GDPR-adhered complaint-based live chat solution makes live chat suitable for directly sending files to your customers.
- Address customer concerns instantly – Live chat provides instant solutions for banking and financial queries with the help of digital engagement tools like video chat, and co-browsing to deliver better customer service.
- Reduce customer support costs – With canned responses, you can handle multiple chats and offer faster responses. Live chat increases the efficiency of service reps by automated routing and delivers better banking support.
Deliver Personalized Experience
Personalized experience in any industry always pays off well. Video chat is a great tool for the banking sector that can help improve various aspects.
There has been a 70% growth in video chat customer service for banks. The value of the tool increases when used in combination with other tools for customer engagement.
When visual cues are important in complex situations, video chat is the best option for personal support.
Benefits of video chat for customer service in banking
- Live customer engagement – Video chat helps businesses interact directly with customers on the website or mobile apps and improve the level of engagement manifold.
- Deliver personalized experience – When you combine a video chat platform with other customer engagement tools like live chat and chatbots, it’s always easy to provide personalized experiences at any time through the different stages of the journey.
- Faster resolution of issues – By using co-browsing and video chat together, it becomes easy to collaborate with customers in real time and fix issues faster.
- Offer proactive support – The use of cross-platform video chat proves very handy in offering proactive support and effective engagement once you have gained insights about your customer journey.
Leverage a Banking Chatbot
The use of artificial intelligence in banking customer service is becoming more and more popular. By simplifying processes for businesses, they are also making it easier for people to access services that were only available through apps.
Banks need to improve their customer service by addressing user queries in a timely manner without sacrificing quality.
Since then, banks have realized the importance of automation and 24-hour services that not only benefit the banks, but also their customers. It means providing customer support on multiple channels and languages 24x7x365 in a scalable manner.
. Bank customer service chatbots that use artificial intelligence can help customers with transactions such as money transfers and checking account balances by providing a conversational interface that guides customers through their actions.
How does deploying an AI chatbot help to deliver better customer service?
- Engage consumers 24×7 – A banking chatbot can be deployed on the website or on browsing pages to start conversations. It helps them analyze user behavior or interests, or introduce to them banking products.
- Deliver great conversational experience – AI bots respond accurately to the inputs of customers and provide conversational experiences at each step of the journey. They route complex chats to the right human rep to ensure humanized support.
- Offer personalized services – With the help of chatbot analytics (that captures user behavior, trends, and patterns) you can deliver relevant and personalized services and offers to customers.
- Automated support for FAQs – Bots are available 24×7 and banks can deploy them to solve customer problems any time without requiring human intervention. AI bots with advanced algorithms and machine learning abilities can answer complex queries.
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