In the post-covid era, the contact center sector has altered dramatically. Companies have to adjust to the new reality of remote work while still meeting market demands. Managing call center agents remotely has become a true challenge for the industry.
Of course, including telecommuting in this work may appear to be a rather sophisticated sort of work that may appear to be rather sophisticated compared to typical customer service practice. Running a remote call center, on the other hand, has become relatively simple with strong management, an excellent organization, and the necessary contact center technological tools.
In this article, discover 5 tips to manage remote call center agents successfully.
The value of the supervisor’s position for remote call center agents
First and foremost, the supervisor is the most important person when managing a remote contact center. As a result, he is one of the first to guarantee an excellent client experience and he is responsible for your campaigns’ success. But how exactly?
The supervisor’s role in a remote call center is to be primarily focused on outcomes.
It is up to the supervisor to implement all the tactics that will be used to attain the predetermined goals. These might be qualitative goals that assure consumer happiness (for example, a need for higher FCR First Call Resolution rates). They can also be quantitative (such as lower average handling time, higher number of calls handled over a period of time, etc.).
Furthermore, the supervisor is accountable for fostering goodwill in order to retain client happiness. He must be present at all times to provide guidance in the event of a difficulty during a remote agent and customer interaction. As a result, an agent can contact him at any given moment when a consumer makes a certain request.
Remember that it is the supervisor’s obligation to analyze the remote team’s performance in order to uncover any existing flaws or challenges. This enables him or her to determine the training requirements for obtaining a work atmosphere conducive to performance. The goal is to provide remote call center agents with as much comfort and mobility as possible.
5 Tips for managing remote call center agents
The pandemic issue has had a significant impact on the call center industry. Businesses had no choice but to invest in remote IT and phone solutions or risk losing direct contact with clients. This remote work presented technological, human, and management challenges. Here are the 5 tips to tackle them:
1. Revaluing the role of remote agents for more engagement
Many businesses have opted to go remote by allowing agents to accept calls from home, under unusual circumstances, without their typical workstation. Cloud-based telephony systems have enabled remote working, removing the need for employees to be at their workstations.
Remote agents are important members of your team who have unique perspectives and skillsets that can be used to improve engagement and productivity. Make sure they feel valued by:
- Allowing them to take breaks when needed
- Providing in-person training sessions when possible
- Encouraging them to connect with other employees at your company (and vice versa) through social media platforms like Slack or Zoom
The truth is that working from home has several advantages. Not only are the company’s operating expenses lowered, but employee happiness rises as well. This is because embracing remote work entails developing a more trustworthy connection and giving employees more control over their work location and personal organization.
This new type of work, in addition to promoting individual devotion, helps call centers to retain talent and surround themselves with the most qualified agents. Offering more freedom and flexibility in working circumstances, as well as cutting-edge technical tools, increases call center agent value and engagement.
However, at home, there are several sources of distraction, such as external sounds or children who might distract agents, to mention a few. As a result, professional equipment, particularly headphones, is an essential component. And this is precisely the issue for many businesses, which are unaware of the detrimental impact that substandard equipment may have on their image and the productivity of their agents.
Provide adequate training for your call center agents on how to use their new technology and communication tools effectively. This will help them avoid making mistakes that could result in lost productivity or customer satisfaction issues down the line (which would only add more stress!).
2. Create a remote communication policy while allowing for personalized follow-up
This is the most crucial aspect of running a remote call center agents. For a regular interaction, you must design a team communication policy. This entails organizing systematic virtual meetings with video conferencing software. However, you should strive to diversify the topics of conversation to keep the discussions lively.
A well-defined policy can help cut down on unnecessary communication between managers and employees, which is especially important when you’re dealing with a crisis situation like this one. At the same time, however, it’s important to remember that each employee is unique—some may need more guidance than others, so it’s important not to take away all autonomy from them just because they’re working remotely!
It’s important that your call center agents understand what is expected of them before they begin their shifts—and then it’s equally important that you allow them some flexibility in how they follow through on those expectations. For example, if an agent knows he’ll need to follow up with a client after leaving a message but he doesn’t hear back within the specified timeframe (and there’s no reason why he should have).
In addition to addressing current duties, you may discuss innovation in your industry or begin minor conversations on difficult topics linked to your sphere of work.
Individual follow-up is also required. This entails discovering and supporting potential “weak links” in order to bring them up to the required level. Over-monitoring your agents, on the other hand, may have a negative impact on the quality of your client support. You must have at least some faith in each member of your team.
3. Set up all of the essential tools and equipment for your call center agents
Invest in technology that makes remote worki easier.
Remote work has always been tricky, but the pandemic made it even more challenging. You need to provide your employees with tools that allow them to stay connected and productive at all times. We recommend using a cloud-based communication platform like a cloud contact center solution for example, which allows you to contact your team members directly from your computer or mobile device. This will make it easier for you to give them instructions or send them files, no matter where they are located.
Each call center agent must be well-equipped while managing a remote call center. This includes work equipment such as a good PC, a particular call center headset, a dual-screen, a broadband connection, and so on. Furthermore, it is critical to offer personnel with the required software tools, such as:
- A CRM application that is optimized and well-configured for a remote workforce.
- An excellent VoIP telephony solution that enables agents to use their respective browsers.
- Choose cloud-based software, available in SaaS mode, over traditional software that must be installed. Most Contact Center Management, ticketing, and flow routing systems are now cloud-based.
- A cybersecurity policy to safeguard your systems, particularly the data (use of a VPN, antivirus, Data back-ups etc.).
4. Create a virtual call center
The options for creating a call center are now accessible in a 100% cloud version. In other words, there is no need for specialized equipment or extensive integration to set up a Call Center. All communication channels, including the telephone, are connected to an omnichannel platform to provide seamless customer journey tracking and an excellent agent experience.
Here are some of the most important aspects of your Virtual Call Center:
- Identification of customers across all communication channels
- Request qualification
- Routing based on a specific affinity
- Data collection and centralization
- Customer journeys are visualized in real time
For more choices, connect your virtual Call Center to an IVR Interactive Voice Response:
- Call logging
- Call routing and rerouting
- Management of Queues
How to Set Up a Virtual Call Center? In 4 Easy Steps:
How to Set Up a Virtual Call Center in 4 Easy Steps:
Step 1: Define your goals: First and foremost, you must establish the goals that your Call Center must achieve. Do you solely handle inbound calls or also manage outbound campaigns? Telemarketing, lead generation, customer care, after-sales assistance, technical help, or all of the above?
Step 2: Define your customer contact channels: Of course, your Call Center must provide excellent management of your phone calls. However, it should be integrated into a bigger omnichannel strategy.
Analyze the actions or objectives of your clients. How are they attempting to reach you? What are their expectations and necessities? Consider setting up automatic replies to increase your availability, make your exchanges more fluid, and optimize your agents’ response time.
Step 3: Size your call center: What human resources must be engaged to achieve high-quality customer service? Make use of the flow history. Determine the peaks and troughs on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis. Also, consider the average time it takes a consultant to resolve a request. Plan your presence on an hourly and daily basis.
Step 4: Choose the right cloud contact center solution: Select a solution that enables you to build a scalable Call Center that readily adjusts to your information system, particularly by connecting with your CRM.
Your Contact Center must provide exceptional customer service across interconnected communication channels. Improve your agents’ productivity by liberating them from monotonous or time-consuming queries and making all data available for an increasingly personalized customer experience.
5. Real-time Quality Monitoring
Monitoring remote call center quality is critical. Here are some helpful hints.
It is critical that your agents be well-trained and capable of providing the necessary client satisfaction. It is also critical to understand what our customers think of your business and how you engage with them so that you can discover weak areas and potential solutions.
Some suggestions for assessing your remote call center quality:
- Call recording: An extremely beneficial feature for call center monitoring. This tool allows you to track how much attention your customers receive and how your representatives behave throughout chats.
- Agent monitoring: Ideally, the agent should be notified of errors and told how to remedy them. The agent’s activity should also be trackable to ensure they understand the problems. With time tracking tools, interaction reports, and geolocation, this will be achievable.
- Statistics: The statistics function comes in handy for evaluating your metrics. This allows you to examine all critical essential KPIs such as missed calls, average waiting time, abandoned calls, NPS, FCR, and so on.
Quality monitoring is generally based on the replay of recorded calls or conversations, which allows an evaluation of call handling based on a scorecard. It can sometimes combine qualitative elements (personalization, active listening, response quality, etc.) and more quantitative elements measured automatically (Contact rates, processing time, etc.). It can also rely on automated call analysis tools based on emotion analysis and speech analytics processes.
The fundamental factor in creating the circumstances for long-term consistency is the management of remote agents. They must be natively incorporated not only into your managerial decisions but also into the technology component of your contact center (Agents Experience).
Monitoring productivity and adopting planning tools will help you meet your call center needs (coaching, training, meetings, work schedules, task organization, etc.) and thus define the most effective schemes to meet customer commitments and agent needs to improve/preserve work/life balance.
In that regard, Our Cloud Contact Center Solution NobelBiz OMNI+ grants you the ability to move entire teams of agents to a remote environment and back to the office in just a matter of days without workflow interruption. Your agents will only need a laptop, a headset and an internet connection.
Furthermore, we accommodate virtually any communication channel: Voice Calls, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, SMS, Email, Live Chat, Webchat, and Voicemail. All unified in a single, easy-to-use desktop application.
Also, NobelBiz is not your usual telecom service provider, but one that was designed with the sole purpose of serving contact centers all over the world. You will find that every little technical detail is optimized for the contact center activity: usability, compliance, pricing etc.