I’ve supported companies going remote for the first time and teams already pros at it. Here are the things that sometimes slipped through the cracks that I wish I’d never forgotten.
You got the call: you’re working from home. You’ve mashed the Amazon buy button to stock up on hardware, snacks, and hand sanitizer. Now you’re building a support plan to enable your illustrious coworkers in working remotely.
The culture of work is rooted in collaborative practice and with it comes a known suite of tools to help. While the jury is still out on if all these tools will help us work better, faster, IT teams can use their expert knowledge to perfect the socially distanced usability experience.
Getting to the customer experience initiative quickly requires rapid preparation from any IT, workplace technology, or help desk experience team. You may be building as you deploy. So how do you create the policies, process, and service infrastructure your team and employees need and fast?
Process implementation at this moment:
Over-communicate proactively. Announce your support plan to the company via multiple communication channels and with more information than you’d provide normally. If you have coverage concerns, institute set help desk rotations for your team. Set up a regular cadence of check-ins with stakeholder departments and teams to confirm that physical distance isn’t gating their ability to get help.
Have a contingency plan. Prepare for delivering break-fix hardware, long lead times on orders, and service interruptions. Nominate point people for on-premise service monitoring and response. Institute good ol’ phone trees or pages for emergencies. Go through a thought exercise of the worst-case response plan with your team to be ready for surprises.
Exemplify your best practices. Now more than ever is the time for empathy and patience where people come to you frustrated by technology. Dial your service mindset up to 11, but still, be honest and realistic on deliverables and deadlines. Be consistent in your response times, SLAs, and expected time spent with customers.
Lean on your peers. Utilize your network of technology leaders, administrators, and agents to connect you with like-sized and minded organizations transitioning. Share what’s working for you and solicit feedback in return. Shared solutions create collective successes.
If you’re acting fast to implement tools:
Take advantage of feature-rich free trials. Snag the limited-time free licenses of existing collaboration solutions. Now is a great time to evaluate what core services will be most impactful for your organization.
Use the tools you have to the max. Evaluate the feature options of tools in use at your company on different plan levels. Consider turning on gated features that will enable people’s efficiency or asking your vendor for a flexible, short-term upgrade.
Implement something new. Remote work without a directed support portal may lead to a fragmented or siloed response. Because everyone is adapting together, creating a unified access point and learning experience can boost productivity and focus.
Encourage BYO. Goodbye, all your chargers and USB-C adapters. Encourage good stewardship of lent hardware and peripherals, but make sure you’re stockpiled for break-fix and approved to send hardware directly to employee’s homes.
If you’ve got this handled, improve what you’ve got:
Automate, automate, automate. Use automated distribution to update or deploy your tools and services, including ease-of-use features like web browser plugins, stand-alone applications, and mobile apps. Assuring up-to-date (and tested!) versions helps reduce triage time.
Preempt commonly asked questions. Provide your workforce with the answers they ask all the time upfront. The more self-service information available, the more focused and strategic your IT team can be in ticket response and escalation.
Make space. Audit your total cloud storage for critical core services and collaboration tools. Make sure that you aren’t short on space or capped monthly to accommodate the increase in email, cloud docs, and meeting recordings.
Create consistency through calendaring. Instate cultural best practices for scheduling with your team. Offer calendar-visible office hours or appointment slots for teams and those in need of support to better aid ticket follow-through and decrease context-switching interruptions.
If you’re a pro at supporting remote work, tszuj it:
Negotiate. Talk to vendor owned tool and service partners and discuss options within your current or upcoming contract renewals. You may find they’re offering pricing or feature deals and upgrades.
Open up access. Do you gate access to efficiency or collaboration tools by team? If the cost per seat or user is low for the benefit of accessibility, it may be worth it to distribute these tools company-wide. Now is your time to evaluate the maintenance and implementation of core services.
Provide technology goodies. Offer your employees headphones, mini-mics, or external cameras or a stipend.
Do it in the cloud. Update your support docs—people are already used to self-service, so make sure they’re getting the latest and greatest!
Make it fun. Create a compendium of cool virtual backgrounds for your employees to use when on screen. Drop easter eggs in your knowledge base articles. Encourage personality and flare in the written delivery of requests. All of these double as great frustration diffusion and ways to showcase the character of your amazing IT team.