In GotYourBack Support company, the operators returned to the office a long time ago and were vaccinated. A year ago, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we worked remotely for several months. In this article, we will share conclusions and observations based on personal practice, analysis of articles and reviews, and stories from experienced colleagues in the Customer Support industry.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, each company had to rethink its strategy to provide quality and safe service. It is known that the quality of customer service directly depends on the quality of training and staff motivation. This article will discuss the features of training remote support operators, and what has changed in the training and motivation system in the context of a pandemic. These examples of maintaining operator engagement, forms of training and gamification can be applied regardless of industry and business area.
Covid has made dramatic changes to the usual scripts and work patterns. At the time of the transition from office to work at home, the need for training in new work algorithms and hard skills (mainly new technical, computer skills) increased. This is due to the emergence of new online services, which had no analogues, as well as changes / additions to the functionality of CRM systems. In the shortest possible time, we had to train the operators in new scripts and patient care schemes, and they almost immediately apply the knowledge gained in practice.
Remotely, you can use Zoom, one-to-one “meetings” via WhatsApp, chats in instant messengers, as well as on-line platforms. Now, having already left the distance, we are using a hybrid form of training: we organize Zoom training meetings with doctors, while some of the employees are in the office, and some are at home. This helps to reach a large part of the team without the need for the physical presence of employees in the office on training days.
In a stressful situation of changing the form of work, it is important not to overload operators with overly strict control. While not allowing for a decrease in the quality of customer service. Alternatively, you can use gaming platforms for control, which, of course, should not cancel individual oral control-survey, discussion of cases – preferably by video call. The analysis of the operators’ correspondence in the WhatsApp group chat, when the operators asked each other or the management for advice or asked for support, helped us a lot to identify the growth zones of operators, the degree of assimilation of the material.
It is important to be able to connect to the employee’s screen remotely. This allows you to follow the post-processing, understand what exactly caused the difficulty, why the operator put the call “on hold” or decided to call back with an answer, while according to the procedure he must resolve the issue within the first call. Being able to connect to a screen is also a security check, an understanding of what the employee is doing.
Using playful approaches in a non-play space can motivate and inspire employees to achieve better results. A game-based approach to teaching is popular among generations X, Y and Z. A natural question arises: which is better, to develop games by yourself or to purchase a service with a set of game mechanics, as well as help in writing a scenario and balancing the game. The choice here depends primarily on the business goals, the number of students trained and the budget.
For large companies with a large budget for staff training, it will be more relevant to use a ready-made online gamification module that can be customized. Such online solutions are a system of competitions and missions that can be played even on a mobile device with push notifications. Data on how employees completed assignments, tests, and answers to questions get into the game. Even the operator’s call estimate in Excel file can be uploaded to the platform. As soon as the employee fulfills the condition, he receives points. The platforms allow you to track progress, follow the team’s news feed, receive game currency and exchange it for prizes in the online store. There are many functions, games, and competitive moments available.
Let’s take a closer look at the “do-it-yourself” operator training gamification techniques that are suitable for small helpdesk teams or operator groups. Some are also applicable for office work, and we use them now in an off-line format.
You need to start building any game with business goals and learning objectives. Depending on this, the format of the game is chosen. In our team, we take into account the mood, the wishes of the team, and do not expect that absolutely all employees will want to take part in the game. Most operators like gamification, but some only complete tasks because they are “forced” or “not comfortable to refuse.” This will be the case in all companies, and that’s okay.
The goal of game 1 is to develop a multi-stage customer service algorithm. The employee independently examines the new procedure with the service algorithm sent in advance by e-mail. At each key stage of the procedure, he must schematically depict on paper (you can make small signatures) or find an object in the house that symbolizes this stage (for example, a bank card, a wallet – payment; a sheet of paper and a pen – signing a contract, etc.).
In an online meeting, the moderator calls the participant who shows the card or object. If the participant shows correctly, he gets a point, then the move goes to another participant. It is important that the number of moves in the task is 2 times more than the number of participants, so that everyone is on approximately equal terms. You can play at speed, who will show the correct card faster with the image of the correct stage. Thus, a customer service chain is drawn up. Each step is then discussed. You can play further – the moderator asks a question, the one who writes the correct answer in the chat gets a point faster. At the end, the winner is determined.
The goal of game 2 is to repeat rarely asked questions from the knowledge base, to increase the speed of information retrieval. The moderator asks a question and the one who answers first, that is, finds and copies the desired answer from the knowledge base into the chat, gets points.
We played this game recently in the office. An operator in the “not ready to receive a call” status received a list of questions on paper, the answers to which he found in the knowledge base, copied and sent by mail. On the form with a list of questions, the start time of the assignment was noted, and the time of receipt of the letter was the completion stage. Then there was a discussion, and the questions that caused the operator difficulties were worked out additionally.
It will not be possible to assess the effectiveness of the game immediately and not always. The main criterion is to improve the quality of telephone consultation on the issues discussed in the game, but the call quality is influenced by a whole range of factors. It is not always possible and necessary to calculate a certain ROI for this kind of games. For example, we evaluated the effectiveness of the game to search for information from the knowledge base based on feedback from operators: most operators noted that the game helped to increase the speed of answering a question, as well as to repeat difficult and “dangerous places”. We did not have any questions that caused massive difficulties, but if there were any, we needed to bring the topic out for study and training.
Prizes in remote competitions can be very different: online gift certificates (if you have a budget), the end of the shift half an hour earlier, the next game as a moderator.
On a 24/7 support team, you never get the whole team together for a game or training. The advantage of working from home is that those who are not on shift, on their day off, if desired, can join the training for 30 – 60 minutes.
Call review is a standard practice at CC. Calls are usually randomly selected by the manager and evaluated, then the employee listens and evaluates them. Then the calls are discussed at a mini-meeting, which should take place according to the sandwich method: good feedback – mistakes and violations – good feedback. As a result, the goal for the month is set, on which the operator is working. An element of gamification can also be introduced into this process, and this can be carried out both online and offline.
The goal of gamification is to help the employee to once again understand the development zone and work in the right direction. Each operator finds on the Internet or draws a picture of his growth zone himself. An online picture can be saved in a regular Power Point slide and you get a collage. Off-line format – pictures to be placed on a board or just on a wall. Next, a competition is held. Pictures are numbered. Everyone votes for their favorite picture, on paper or in email. The letter to the moderator writes her number, as well as what she symbolizes. At the end of the voting, the winner is the one with the most votes and correct answers, which is the picture. It is also important to track the improvement in the growth zone identified for each over several months. In our support team, this activity brought variety and cheer up, and the quality of calls increased (of course, not only thanks to the competition – this requires systematic work).
It is difficult to say how it is better and easier to work – at home or in the office – in terms of efficiency and organization of training, it all depends on the industry and the size of the support team. Today, as a team, we continue to use a hybrid form of work and training of operators, and judging by the positive feedback from patients, we are very successful. Teaching beginners and translating the introductory training into an online format (video blogs, live broadcasts, virtual office tours and other trend formats) is a big topic for a separate discussion.