The level of customer service extended by a company is a major factor that influences customer satisfaction and loyalty. For instance, Help Scout is a customer service management provider that is globally recognised for offering advanced technologies to over 7,000 organisations, including reputable names such as Basecamp, Buffer, Treehouse, Trello, and a host of others. Help Scout has built and maintained an enduring partnership with these organisations through sustainable transactions.
One of the key contributing factors to Help Scout’s triumph is their dedicated team, operating remotely from various places around the world. This article delves into the strategies employed by Help Scout to initiate and maintain the commitment and efficiency of their remote workforce.
Help Scout is dedicated to elevating the quality of customer service encounters. They offer a platform designed to help companies manage their support teams and evaluate the proficiency of their staff. Additionally, their blog is packed with beneficial advice and recommendations on how to handle customer interactions proficiently.
The exceptional accomplishments of our company would not have been feasible without the unwavering commitment of our remote team. This global workforce operates from diverse regions, including Canada, the Czech Republic, and other areas beyond our central hub in Boston, providing outstanding workflow efficiency. At Help Scout, we take pride in having a team of extensively talented and devoted remote employees.
One of the foremost hurdles that the company encountered was the feeling of isolation experienced by its fresh remote recruits. To confront this issue, Help Scout designed an efficient onboarding programme that incorporated a culture of persistent interaction. This consisted of an all-inclusive onboarding checklist that enabled new staff to seamlessly assimilate into the team. The organisation also encouraged its employees to continue participating in company activities, fostering a strong sense of belonging.
The process of onboarding remote employees does not require any exceptional expertise despite its intricacy. While our blog post provides a more in-depth analysis on this topic, we have also shared some of our observations at Help Scout.
Enlist a colleague to work remotely alongside the new employee
The engineers at Scout have acknowledged the significance of asynchronous communication, a concept that has also been emphasised by GitHub. However, they have declined to adopt paired remote programming. Instead, they discovered that employing a buddy system for new hires had a positive impact on the organisation’s overall performance. Therefore, the role of a buddy system in providing support was recognised and valued.
At Help Scout, we provide a ‘work best buddy’ for every new remote worker, pairing them with an experienced colleague who can assist them with adjusting and addressing their queries. To maximise the duration of their interaction, we match them with someone who lives in a nearby time zone. This uncomplicated approach is remarkably successful in preventing employees from feeling disconnected and helps to foster a lasting engagement with our workforce.
The new employee should receive a welcome message via email or the internal messaging system of the company, such as Slack, which is the system utilised at Help Scout. This message should convey that the assigned buddy is available to attend to any queries, regardless of how trivial they may seem. For instance, it could be something as basic as “what’s the Slack channel for sharing amusing gifs?” The friend must ensure that the message is warm and welcoming.
The buddy allotted to a remote employee must employ an internal messaging system to maintain consistent communication. This need not be a constant flow of messages, but it is advisable to touch base with the new hire at least once every few days during their initial week of employment.
When a co-worker spends time teaching the unspoken practices and customs of the company to a new hire, it is a noteworthy occasion. We explore this notion more thoroughly in our recent post on sharing knowledge between teams. It is essential to acknowledge and capitalise on the benefits of informal interactions, such as ‘water-cooler conversations’ or lunchtime discussions.
Recognise the contributions and suggestions of all team members for the team’s progress
Help Scout embraces a version of “practical democracy” when it comes to managing their remote teams. Each member has the right to express their views and is granted the chance to voice them, provided that there is no urgency in the decision-making process.
Therefore, it is crucial to prolong the decision-making period to enable everyone, particularly those in different time zones, to express their perspective. Tools such as voting systems on Trello cards and Slack pins, in conjunction with the Scout application, can facilitate this process.
It is crucial to contemplate implementing a uniform time zone across the company, even if it may disrupt the schedules of certain employees. The goal is to ensure that all viewpoints are heard and that everyone’s input is considered.
Following a similar vein…
Adhere to your resolution to accommodate multiple time zones in your approach
Although we were disappointed that Scout did not adopt our recommendation to function within a single time zone, we do not disdain this verdict. Rather, we commend them for attempting to make it function despite the constraints.
Their crucial course of action was to diversify their meeting times. Instead of compelling individuals to sacrifice rest or forego a meeting, the team opted to alternate between Eastern Standard Time and Greenwich Mean Time every week.
By leveraging Zoom, individuals from anywhere in the world can participate in meetings without having to make significant modifications to their daily schedules. Additionally, each meeting is recorded to enable those who cannot attend to stay engaged by reviewing the minutes.
Develop a system that functions in real-time
In an earlier discussion, we examined GitHub’s approach to communication. Help Scout has taken this a step further and integrated this approach throughout their entire company.
The team has come to recognize that certain tasks do not require immediate attention, and thus they have documented them and made them available to all team members. This approach empowers any individual to take over where another left off, maintaining the company’s productivity.
Help Scout recently posted an engaging case study on their blog that is certain to persuade even the most staunch supporters of the Agile methodology. The Java development team has adopted a creative approach to their daily stand-up meetings by using a Slack channel to keep each other informed whenever it is convenient for them.
Although the programming approach is usually applauded amongst dispersed development teams, the duo has chosen to disregard its use and instead rely on the comprehensive GitHub documentation. They have provided a detailed analysis of their rationale on their blog. Find out more about their decision by checking out their blog.
Jacob always begins his day with the reassurance that I have diligently examined and pinpointed any issues from the previous day’s work. However, I am mindful that if I encounter a problem at 7pm, Jacob is there to support me, allowing me to avoid rearranging my evening commitments.
Occasionally connect with those who matter to you
It’s easy to forget that there’s a person on the other side of the chat window.
This is particularly true when communicating with colleagues in different time zones and utilizing an asynchronous approach.
Remember important dates and make an effort to chat briefly when your schedules align.
As an employee’s birthday draws near, Help Scout extends a kind gesture of acknowledgement by providing a card and some cupcakes. While it is important to express appreciation and kindness to team members, it is not necessary to go overboard. Creating a happy team is attainable through small yet meaningful acts of kindness.
We are delighted to offer our expertise in recruiting the very finest developers for your open positions. Our exceptional global team can connect you with some of the world’s most skilled programmers, ensuring that your team members are highly motivated and that you can be confident that the roles are filled by the most suitable candidates.
Get in touch with us today to start building the groundwork for your company’s success.