CUSTOMER SUCCESS // Mar 31, 2020
Where’s the Remote? Success in the Age of Working Remotely
One of the things we pride ourselves on might be considered a relic of a bygone, non-tech era. Any of our North American farmer customers who need it, in the field or in their office, receive personalized customer support from a live person in our central office in St. Louis, usually within two minutes of calling. If a farmer needs specialist support to visit their farm and assist with installation or troubleshooting connections for a piece of equipment, our teams do that too.
But the world is different today than it was a few short months - or even weeks - ago. The global coronavirus pandemic is a threat to the health and wellbeing of our customers and teams, and it’s impacted the way we provide farmers with the support they need. As with every other team at Climate, we’re transitioning to working fully from home. The office setting we’ve always taken for granted is no longer available and so we have to adapt. The key question is: how can we connect with farmers and move at the pace they need in order to address their questions and help enable their planting success this season?
Our Customer Success teams are collaborative and closely knit regardless of how close we are to each other.
The things enabled by our team working closely together are the same as in any other office, but more important in this customer support setting - collaboration, information sharing, stress relief, teamwork. As nice as it is to be close in proximity to the friends I’ve made on our team, I take a lot of comfort in how little our work has to change as we move to working remotely.
My desk at home: small, cozy, made for and by me. My hairy, attentive supervisor: Fat Max.
I’ve worked at Climate since late 2018, and love that anybody on our team can work successfully from home at any point, providing customers with the same level of support as if we’re in the office. They can’t rest or wait for #plant2020, neither can we.
In the office or not, I’m in meetings with colleagues and customers across the country all day, every day, and it doesn’t affect my ability to be successful. On my couch, I have all the digital tools I need to access every single person on our team.
In contrast to a lot of customer service systems, it only takes a brief click or two to be routed into the queue for our team members to answer calls; our team claims calls as quickly as we can to keep customers running.
If there’s anything that has to change about how we stay connected, we’re adapting using tools we already have access to so that we can keep up that necessary contact, down to troubleshooting issues and installation in the field via FaceTime. It’s not ideal, but we’re making it work! Thankfully for our sake of connection, we’re also starting to hold some virtual happy hours to stay connected in a less formal way.
I’m not sure how the rest of the organization is feeling, but I can say I am beyond impressed with my company’s call to action during these times. They have been proactive, informative, and flexible. Thank you @Bayer4Crops for stepping up for your customers AND employees.— Megan McNamee (@megan_mcnamee) March 20, 2020
And when it comes to fielding calls, there’s another of the advantages I love about how we work: cross-training and connectivity. We’re all well-trained on FieldView™ and each of us is able to help with most questions, though we still need to rely on each other for knowledge gaps. And not only do we support our North American customers, but our office also fields questions from our customers around the world for more complex, escalated troubleshooting. All of our team members are available via our messenger service to consult on questions that are either region- or technology-specific.
Ag is different all around the world, even within the U.S. Our team is extremely collaborative and talk all day long no matter where we are. We very much rely on each others’ area of expertise. The more we connect, the better we know the specialties of each of our team members.
Even though we’re a digital company, person-to-person contact is very important. We’re helping farmers who run the gamut of tech familiarity, and some may not have a great deal of comfort navigating new systems and devices. This doesn’t only apply to Climate FieldView, but technology in general. It’s our job to be the digital age liaisons with our customers to make sure they’re comfortable using our technology on their farms.
We don’t know what the full effect of this pandemic will be, but our goal is to keep controlling what we can in the face of uncontrollable factors. The world relies on farmers for food, and our farmer customers rely on us to help keep them going!
Megan McNamee is a non-traditional agriculturalist, as she did not grow up on a farm. It was FFA that sparked her love for all things agriculture. From there she earned her degree in Agriculture Communication and Leadership from Illinois State University. She has spent the last 10 years working in many sectors of the industry, such as working on the university's farm, swine, and horticulture programs. Megan joined The Climate Corporation in October 2018 as a Support Generalist and now serves Climate customers as a Customer Success Specialist, enjoying the help she provides the agriculture community become successful in getting the most from their operation by using digital tools.