You’re not letting a pandemic stop you from running your business. 

You know there are remote communication tools out there that empower you to keep your business up and running, but for a newbie, it’s a lot trickier than it looks.

What tools should you prioritize on? 

What should you watch out for, so that you can make the most out of them? 

More importantly, how do you use these tools to support customers in light of the pandemic? 

This article shows you how to get started. 

Remote Working Tool #1 - Video Conferencing

Emails and instant messaging solutions are useful for certain events. 

One’s great for sharing detailed information and data. The other’s handy when instantly connecting with co-workers. 

However, if you want to bounce ideas with your team and external folks in real-time, you want to look beyond these two channels — this is where online meetings come in.

8x8 Video Meetings allows users to enjoy unlimited meetings and unlimited minutes — for free. It’s easy to get started right away, no download is required. 

Online meetings are effective, so much so that 56% of CFOs worldwide recognize the impact and are planning to invest in online meeting solutions to lessen the need to travel. 

New to hosting online meetings? Here are two quick tips on how to make the most of them.

1. Create a New Document And Jot Down Important Notes

Here’s a neat trick by Whisk CEO Nick Holzherr

Share this document at the start of your online meeting, so that your team can jointly collaborate on taking notes. 

Once the meeting ends, share it with those who couldn't attend.

Start An Online Meeting With One Click On 8x8 Video Meetings Today — No Sign Ups, No Downloads, No Call Limits

2. Appoint a Lead Speaker

This speaker is in charge of monitoring the meetings. They indicate whose turn it is to speak next, preventing issues of people talking over one another.

Remote Working Tool #2 - Task Management

Task management tools keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening. 

Tools like Trello, Asana, and Wrike allow you to easily organize your tasks, assign them to your team, and see what’s done (and what’s not) — visually all in one place.

Want your team to stay focused on their tasks as they work from home? Here are two quick tips on effective task management.

1. Create 3 Columns

Whichever task management software you use, create three columns: To Do, Doing, and Done. This will allow you to move tasks between these three columns depending on their current status. 

Set deadlines and reminders accordingly. 

With a system like this, says Jennifer Walden, Director of Operations at WikiLawn, employees are able to stay on the same page without having to constantly hound one another for updates.

2. Use The Pomodoro Technique

You probably realized working from home is not as easy as it seems. You may even find yourself procrastinating or struggling to focus.

Combat these productivity leeches with the Pomodoro Technique. 

Work in sprints (i.e., 25 minutes) and take a short break, then rinse and repeat.

Keep Your Business Up And Running For Customers: How To Communicate With Empathy

You’ve learned the high-priority tools that help you navigate the challenges of working remotely.

Let's now move on to how you can communicate empathically with customers during this sensitive time.

By now, you’ve discovered your customers have new and different needs. They’re anxious and scared — what can you do to help them?

Here are three crucial tips:

 1. Be Mindful

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Before the pandemic, companies would send multiple marketing messages in hopes of attracting sales and staying on top-of-mind. 

Right now, there’s a shift. Companies are switching to a genuine tone, one that’s sensitive to the magnitude of what we’re facing. That’s what you want to do, too. 

When you send your messages — whether it’s via email, SMS, or Chat Apps — stick to a mindful and empathetic tone.

Crisis Communication: Give Customers More Access To You Around The Clock With 8x8 Chat Apps

2. Invest in an Omnichannel Customer Support Tool 

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Speed is of the essence. When you provide timely support, you create a better customer experience.

If you’re recently hit with an onslaught of emails and your agents are struggling with managing shared inboxes, look into an omnichannel customer support solution (e.g., Freshdesk). 

Businesses that invest in omnichannel strategies enjoy 91% greater year-over-year customer retention.

Your customers will be able to self-serve and receive quick responses, while your support agents resolve issues and collaborate with each other — all from one place.

3. Rethink Your Services And Strategies

Ask customers what they’re struggling with right now and create a product or service to address it. Here are three real-world examples for inspiration:

Wholesale brand AURA QUE shifted to a direct-to-consumer e-commerce strategy. It promoted its products on Facebook Ads with a focus on those designed to be used at home (e.g., home slippers, homewares).

Education platform Coursera compiled its free courses to support learners’ well-being in this difficult time.

Secret Lab, a gaming chair manufacturing company, offered discounts and free delivery for its office chairs to help folks who are working from home.

#BetterTogether

These online communications tools and tips help your business transition into remote work seamlessly.

It’s not easy — we hope sharing these tips has given you fresh insights on how you can support yourself, your team, and your customers as you work from home.

If you have questions, drop us a note below!