Excellent customer service can really boost your business and as such should be one of your main goals. To deliver great customer service, remote teams need to be cohesive even if they never see each other. Have you hired more people since quarantine? Or perhaps you already had remote team members even before 2020?
If you answered yes to either question, that’s great! Virtual teams can be more efficient than in-office teams. My personal assistant is remote, and she gets things done for me without a hitch.
It’s all about communication and a culture of connectedness and trust.
So how do you go about achieving just that?
Focus on results
People successfully working from home will have both discipline and distractions. Even if they live alone or have a dedicated office door they can lock, there will be distractions.
This is where trust comes in. Trust your team enough to give them flexibility. Once you let go of this misguided expectation that your remote worker/s should work like they do in an office–tied to their desk, working from 9 to 5– everything just clicks into place and all of you are no longer stressed.
Some businesses and some law firm procedures do require structure. For example, emails do need to get answered quickly and you do need to complete and submit paperwork or case files in a timely fashion so these need daily set work hours, but other than your time-sensitive procedures, almost everything else can be flexible.
As long as things get done, you don’t need to monitor hours or “productivity.” Upwork or Teamwork time tracking apps are convenient for billing, but they’re primarily there for billing and a measure of accountability, not for micromanaging your remote team. Firstly, that’s unnecessary and secondly, that’s impossible.
Let your workers manage themselves. Train them, give them the resources they need, and then take yourself and your executive assistant out of the middle of it.
Let everyone deliver results at their own pace, as long as they keep pace with everyone else as needed, like in the case assembly process.
Establish channels of collaboration and connectedness.
Every project management platform– Trello, Asana, Monday, and ClickUp, are examples– has comment and chat functionalities. Smaller teams can even get by with a group chat on Skype or Whatsapp, or you can use Slack so that every aspect of your law firm has a channel. It’s easy to stay organized.
And your channels shouldn’t strictly be for work. Have some fun. Let people’s characters come out. Initiate sharing about your day, like “I had sausages and eggs and French toast for breakfast and it was awesome.” or “What’s everyone wearing right now while working?”
This is how you establish a positive work environment and foster connection amongst your team. Remote teams especially need this. You want them to enjoy coming to work together. You want to have a glimpse, or better yet, a full picture of the real humans behind the usernames and profile pictures.
Be fiercely protective of your work environment.
Don’t tolerate bullying and rudeness. I want to believe that you actually filter yourself online before you send a message. I know I do! But for some people, it’s the opposite. It can be startling how rude people can be, and they don’t even apologize for it. They have this mindset that professionalism means being curt and cold.
This can quickly sour your workplace. Just one person who is horrible to work with can ruin a day. Think about officemates, neighbors or colleagues you’d rather avoid– why would you allow them on your remote team?
Firstly, ensure that you hire smart, passionate, humble people. They’re self-taught, they’re polite and personable, they deliver 120%, and because they’re smart, they’re often funny! Overall they’re just a joy to work with. Oftentimes you can easily tell during interviews.
You can hire people for a probationary period of 4 to 6 weeks, with the understanding that they can still be let go if they don’t mesh well with you and your existing team.
This is important. Be protective of your work environment. When you keep your remote team happy, you retain the best people, and these great people make your clients happy.
Make your clients feel important.
Your remote team should have all the tools they need to respond quickly and efficiently to your clients and prospects.
Do you have a chatbot that can reply to messages and send information outside of office hours? Do you have a chatbot template message to immediately reply to a client that someone in the team will be with them shortly during operating hours?
Do you have autoresponders that reply to emails quickly, and does someone immediately follow up to respond to that email?
Maybe you need a phone answering service so callers always get attended to and your remote team isn’t overloaded with calls, unless one or a few of them are specifically dedicated to answering calls.
Get organized with the FAQs and case assembly so that you’re always impressing your clients with speed and efficiency. If you impress them, they’ll talk about you to their friends and family!
It really comes down to making sure your clients don’t feel neglected, and your prospects never feel ignored. Everyone should feel like they’re VIPs. And that should be the number one priority of your customer service.
Leave feedback channels open.
Yes, set up channels to receive feedback from your clients about the team member who assisted them, not just about your own legal expertise. This motivates team members when a client they assisted gives them kudos for a job well done. And of course, this should be part of your team chat or team channels. Everyone can celebrate the feedback a colleague receives.
And yes, just as important, if not more so: Feedback from your team for you, the managers or team leaders. Often, when we think of feedback or probationary periods, it’s directed at the team members. But the leaders should also always receive feedback.
Is anything not working? Could something be made better? Could something be communicated in better ways?
Sometimes new team members can inject innovation into your established SOPs! It’s exciting and it’s wonderful. It benefits your team and your clients.
The more you keep your remote team connected and engaged, the happier they will be to serve your firm and your clients. And the more you connect with your clients, the happier they’ll be and the more referrals and happy testimonials you will receive.
If you can believe it, I have even more knowledge to share on this topic! If you’d like to learn more about customer service, sign up for my Six Figure Solo program! Six-Figure Solo now comes in three tiers – Executive, Solopreneur, and CEO. Sign up here!