The COVID-19 crisis has flipped all of our lives upside down. From having to practice social distancing, staying inside for weeks on end, constantly focusing on your hygiene, and seeing your friends or family getting sick; this is a very dark time for all of us.
Aside from the personal drama, this crisis is also turning out to be extremely difficult for many businesses. Even for companies that have the luxury to work remotely. Especially working with a remote customer success team is a big challenge for many.
Running a remote customer success team
At Trengo, we were also forced to leave our stunning brand new office because of the COVID-19 crisis. In a split second, the customer success team had turned into a remote customer success team. As for most companies, this situation was totally new to us.
However, we were convinced that we were able to maintain our high level of customer experience as if nothing had ever changed. And after roughly 2 months of working from home, I think it’s safe to say that we were completely right.
Aside from some small changes to the workflow, the team is still operating at full speed. We are even onboarding new customer success team members and are actively recruiting for more people to join the squad. And all of that is happening remotely.
I asked Tamara, our customer success manager, to explain how she and her team are running things as if nothing has ever changed. She also goes into detail about how our own helpdesk software forms the foundation of their work. Pay close attention and please do try this at home.
Transitioning to a remote customer success team 👨🚀
Tamara is our product Guru and has a – as she calls it – Wikipedia role within the customer success team. In our office, she is the go-to person for any difficult questions. “Now that we’re not in the office, we can’t just walk up to each other for a chat or with questions.”
Tamara goes on to explain how the customer success team is now using Trengo’s features even more than before: “When we have questions for team members, we tag them underneath messages from customers with a short explanation of the case. We also label incoming messages to keep the inbox organized and clean. Aside from that, we have improved our use of rules so that a lot of messages are automatically labeled and assigned to the right teams.”
“Only now we are experiencing at first hand how great Trengo really is for remote teams”
Tamara notes that her team seems to have become more efficient. Team members use Trengo’s functionalities more intensely, which further improves the workflow. “Also, because we invest a lot of time into the help center, the answer is usually in there,” says Tamara. “That means we only internally discuss certain topics when we really can’t figure out an answer to a customer question ourselves, which doesn’t happen often.”
Setting up your home office 🏠
Just like any other organization, at Trengo we were given no time to prepare for this period of quarantine. The team was forced to improvise their own home office. Tamara’s office essentials are as follows:
- A laptop
- A stable internet connection
- A headset
- An extra computer screen
Quite a short list, right? Tamara explains how that is possible: “The customer success team solely works from within Trengo. All of our channels are connected to the tool, and we all collaborate on customer issues right within the inbox”.
“This means that all that I really need is a stable internet connection and a headset. The headset is not only useful to me, but also for my boyfriend. We currently share our working space, so now he doesn’t have to listen in on all of the conversations. Aside from that, I have taken a big computer screen from the office, because I like to work with two screens.”
Collaborating on customer questions 🤜🤛
Trengo offers a collaborative team inbox. Here, you can see exactly what is going on in a matter of seconds.
- How many messages are waiting for a reply?
- Who is picking up each conversation?
- Who needs help answering a customer question?
Tamara explains how the customer success team ensures the collaboration process goes smoothly: “All of our communication channels are connected to the Trengo inbox, so in the morning, we can immediately see how many conversations we have to handle. When an agent doesn’t know the answer to a certain question and the help center doesn’t have the answer either, they can tag me or my customer success team member Onno. We can then communicate right underneath specific conversations, without the customer noticing anything.”
In order to discuss certain topics in-depth and to keep each other up-to-date, Tamara’s team has two daily meetings. “At 9, we start with a quick call via Slack. We tell each other what we have planned for the day, the number of tickets we need to answer, or how many onboarding calls with customers we have planned. At the end of the day, we evaluate how the day went. This way, we keep each other in the loop.”
Remotely onboarding new team members 🧑🤝🧑
Since our entire team has gone remote, the customer success team has onboarded three new team members. These colleagues have not worked a single day in our office yet.
At Trengo, we onboard all of our new team members the same way. They start off by discovering Trengo as if they are a potential customer. Tamara: “They start a trial account, connect channels, send themselves chat messages, and configure their first flowbot. After a week, they get to present everything they know about the tool to me. Right after that, they are equipped to start helping their first customers.”
“We haven’t even met in person, but our new customer success employees are already able to independently help our customers.”
Trengo makes it easy to onboard new customer success employees because you can assign customer conversations to specific users. “When a new team member is just starting, Onno or myself will handpick messages that we believe are good to start off with. So even when we work remotely, they won’t be thrown into the deep end.”
Tamara and her team spend a lot of time filling up our help center with helpful articles. It serves as an encyclopedia for customers and new team members alike. When onboarding a new colleague, they rarely have to ask any software-related questions. The answer is usually in the help center.
By now, our 3 newest customer success heroes are already working independently. “It clearly shows how easy-to-use Trengo really is,” says Tamara. “We haven’t even met in person, but they are already able to make our customers happy by themselves.”
Quickly onboarding new customers 🚗💨
Many organizations have had to reinvent themselves during the last 2 months. Not everybody was as well equipped for having to work remotely and had to learn quickly about helpful software solutions. They needed to deal with the following:
- A change in customer demand
- A new way of collaborating on customer communication
- Learning about new software solutions
Especially at the beginning of the quarantine period, organizations were forced to look for new ways of communicating. There were multiple schools, charities, and businesses with physical stores or webshops that had needed a solution fast. Managers have so much on their minds and are expected to act fast at the same time.
“We can get our customers up and running on WhatsApp in about 1 or 2 days.”
Especially WhatsApp turned out to be a very popular channel during this quarantine period. Tamara explains: “Most of our new customers wanted to have a WhatsApp Business channel up and running as soon as possible. Luckily, we can make that happen in 1 or 2 days. We also support them in the process of registering their number with official WhatsApp Business partners.”
Experiencing our helpdesk software to the fullest
Of course, we know all about our own tool, but at Trengo, we did not work with remote teams. “It may seem crazy,” Tamara says, “but now we really get to experience at first hand how great Trengo is for working remotely. I do miss going to the office, but I’m happy we can still maintain our customer experience. That’s what it is all about.”
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