5 Tips for Improving Customer Service (Even While Working Remotely)

5 Tips for Improving Customer Service (Even While Working Remotely)

How to Impress Your Clients

The past year has presented many challenges, but one thing that hasn’t changed: clients still expect personalized and exceptional customer service. In fact, 72% of consumers expect agents to know who they are, what they have purchased, and to have insights into their previous engagements.

In insurance, one of your main differentiators is the service you provide. Pull away from your competition by giving your team the tools they need to level-up their customer service efforts in a remote setting.

Our Client Success team here at AgencyBloc has always been “remote” in the aspect that we have clients all over the United States and provide support to them via phone, email, and chat. I took a moment to ask some of them about how they continue to provide top-tier customer service in their remote setting.

The full interview is below; for a shortened visual version, watch our video:

Meet Our Sales Interviewees

  • Neal Price

    Neal Price
    Operations Manager

  • Megan Kraft

    Megan Kraft
    Client Success Strategist

  • Taylor Behrens

    Taylor Behrens
    Onboarding Specialist

  • Brittany Liggins

    Brittany Liggins
    Support Specialist

  • Sara Hughes

    Sara Hughes
    Onboarding Specialist

Question 1: What are your go-to tools to make remote customer service a success?

Neal: Three things: a good internet provider, good home internet network, and a thought out tech stack. You can only be as good as your internet speed and quality allow you to be. Consider hardwiring in via an ethernet cable over WIFI to ensure you have solid, reliable access to your network. 

For your tech stack, consider tools like a modern VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone, a high-quality headset with a dedicated microphone, a webcam for any virtual Zoom-type meetings, a CRM to help you log your conversations and to-do items, and a central chat app for you and your teammates to easily communicate with each other—like Slack or Google Chat.

Megan: My noise-canceling headphones, a good video conferencing tool like Zoom, and a good CRM to track my daily appointments and activities.

Taylor: Zoom. I use Zoom all of the time for remote customer service to feel like I’m with someone even when I’m not. Additionally, I can look at their screen and answer their questions a lot quicker than emailing back and forth or even being on the phone.

Another tool: my CRM. It helps me keep track of my clients, my follow-up tasks, what I need to do, etc. All of my information about my clients is tracked in there and helps me stay organized, keep a consistent follow-up strategy, and just helps me stay on top of things.

Lastly, my equipment. My noise-canceling headset and mic, a separate office space, dual monitors, and good internet contribute to how successfully I can work at home and the level of service I can provide to others.

Brittany: Multiple screens. I can be way more productive and better help the client when I have everything I need for them open and visible. Also, Calendly. It integrates with your calendars, which allows your clients to choose the best time for them and you.

Sara: Our #1 tool, absolutely, is Zoom. We could not survive without Zoom. It’s made useful by the use of headsets. If you get a good set, you can sound like a movie star—which is really fun. Internally, a CRM is crucial for us to track our client communications, organize information, and take notes.

Question 2: How do you create a connection and make your client feel “seen” in a remote environment?

Neal: Consider making video-first a priority for any scheduled meetings. While in-person meetings have helped maintain a connection naturally, we need a way to replace that. Use your webcam and applications like Zoom or GoToMeeting for your planned meetings.

Megan: I like to do video conferencing as much as possible. I prefer to schedule a time to talk face-to-face to build that connection, share my screen, and be there to walk through all of their questions with them.

Taylor: Obviously, it can be challenging to create a connection with someone when you cannot see them. One thing I have found that is super helpful with this is communication. Communication is huge with everyone. Being able to consistently and clearly communicate with your clients and prospects, providing them with valuable information, and keeping them up-to-date with the process/timeline is essential.

Brittany: Just be real. Be real and honest—people appreciate that. Be yourself. Be relatable and talk to them, get to know them, and let them get to know you. This is a challenging time for everyone. There may be a child in the background or a spouse—so just be understanding. Also, be reachable. Some clients may prefer a different contact method than I do, so I ask about their preference so I can do that when I contact them again.

Sara: This is where we use Zoom a lot. Using video, if you have it, allows you to assess body language and read faces in a way that you can’t if you’re strictly on a phone call or the audio part of Zoom. Then, it’s just good follow-up, like any customer service. Do what you said you were going to do. That’s not much different than normal times, but I think it’s especially important in a remote environment.

Question 3: Can you share your process for onboarding a new client?

Megan: My process for onboarding a new client is to look over their goals of why they purchased in the first place. I want to match the different features in the system with those goals, help streamline their processes, and add value right away.

Taylor: Absolutely. I am an Onboarding Specialist, which means I help train new clients on how to use AgencyBloc. We like to start with a short introduction call to discuss the training timeline, any initial questions, what features they want to learn, and their goals both for onboarding and ongoing. Then, we move into the actual training.

Sara: The first step is to set up an intro call. I prefer to use Zoom Meetings to see each other’s faces, share screens, talk through goals, talk through what they’re trying to achieve, etc. Then, you make a plan of attack for going forward, set up additional training(s), and get those folks up and running.

Question 4: What is the most challenging part of remote customer service?

Neal: Building a system that is organized, so you know all of your bases are covered. Depending on your service model and company offerings, you may need a blend of multiple communication tools and apps to meet your customers’ needs. A phone, a live chat, and an email inbox are some of the bare minimums to ensure you are gathering all of your customer conversations and fulfilling their service needs. 

Once you have your communication tools in place, where do those conversations get sent to? Likely a CRM tool to make sure support agents know which actions need to be tracked for your customers’ accounts. Planning and documenting your tech stack allows you, your support team, and your clients to all seamlessly communicate with one another.

Megan: Just finding balance. When you’re in an office, you can get up, walk over, and talk things through with coworkers. When you’re at home, you’re doing that via Slack or Zoom, but you’re not actually getting up. So, the reminder to get up every 30 minutes and doing a quick stand up really helps throughout the day.

Taylor: The toughest part for me is not being with my coworkers. It was super easy when we were in the office to tap someone on the shoulder when you had a question and have that immediate answer right there when you needed it. Of course, we have chat, Zoom, and regular meetings to help with that, but I do miss having them around me.

Brittany: Definitely distractions. Have a dedicated workspace and give yourself (and your clients!) some grace.

Sara: For me, the hardest part of working remotely is when I have a question. In the office, you can turn to the person next to you and ask. When you’re remote, you can’t do that. We have Slack and Zoom and everything, but that quick, spontaneous interaction with coworkers is what I miss most.

Question 5: What is your #1 piece of advice to improve remote customer service?

Neal: Don’t get complacent! The tools available to help you support your clients are ever-changing. Plan time every year to keep up with the latest and greatest practices and tools in customer service. The better you can serve your customers, the better your relationships will be.

Megan: Use your data. Having a good CRM to keep your data in and pull from as needed is so important. It really helps you keep a connection with your clients, whether it’s sending an email or scheduling a phone call—that can all be done by having good data.

Taylor: I think communication is definitely my #1 piece of advice for maintaining good customer service in a remote environment. I am an advocate for clear, consistent, timely, and valuable communication. Everyone appreciates being communicated with, being kept in the loop, and receiving transparent, honest communication.

Brittany: For me, it’s “know thyself.” I am naturally an introvert. I read at least 15 minutes a day and listen to podcasts about people, connecting, and customer service to help me stay in a positive mindset and bring out the extrovert that customer service needs.

Sara: It’s not much different than normal. All of the same stuff that you have to do all of the time? That stuff doesn’t change. The methods might change, but the processes don’t. You still have to make phone calls, write emails, log calls, keep track of what you have to do, etc. The tools differ, but the process is no different than it ever is. So, put a smile in your voice, make your calls, and get the work done just like normal.

I hope these answers were helpful. Remember, you are human; they are human. Keep that at the forefront and find what works for you.

The most important things to have in place are the tools to help you. Here’s a quick list of what our team relies on:

  • A cloud-based CRM
  • Noise-canceling headset with a microphone
  • Dedicated office space
  • Zoom (video conferencing software) 
  • Reliable internet setup

Do your due diligence and get yourself set up for success. Then, take a look at the technology you use to run your business operations. Does your agency have the necessary tools to help you to not only improve customer service, but also run a business remotely?

A cloud-based, industry-specific agency management system (AMS), like AgencyBloc, can help you close the gap and provide top-tier customer service for improved client retention. Make your customer service your agency’s differentiator.

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Allison Babberl

By Allison Babberl on February 23, 2021 in Customer Experience

Allison is the Marketing Content Specialist at AgencyBloc. She creates educational content and designs videos to promote AgencyBloc's resources to help you organize, automate, and grow your insurance agency. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski  More articles


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