Moving into a more frequent, or even permanent, work-from-home schedule has become commonplace for the global workforce. While many of us now have about a year’s worth of experience of remote working now, you may still be asking yourself: Am I doing this right? Am I following the best practices to manage my remote call center agents? Or are there perhaps methods I can utilize to make the remote workforce experience better?
If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, check out the following tips and best practices to make sure you are engaging your agents and inspiring great employee experience and optimal productivity.
Best practices for managing your remote call center agents
There are several tactics that come to mind when trying to engage with your agents as remote working has continued. Managers will often gravitate toward items like team happy hours, perhaps games and incentives. However, we can often forget big picture items that will actually have a significant impact on the quality of their roles, functions and connection to their teams and supervisors, while making sure your expectations of your workforce are also met.
Consider the following when you’re assessing, or reassessing, your employee experience strategy and how to make sure your remote call center agents are properly encouraged and motivated.
1. Automate scheduling
Utilize schedule automating software to save you and your team time. This seems like a simple task that may not create much impact at first. However, you yourself will gain time back from having to gruel over scheduling needs when you may already have software available that can easily manage it for you.
Even more so, your agents will receive their scheduling faster as well and can better prepare and work out their overall schedules. They’ll appreciate the timelier heads up from you.
2. Team collaboration tools
Have an effective team collaboration tool that works for your team. For some, a simple chat tool like Slack, Teams or Google Hangouts is enough to coordinate what’s going on and when people might need help. For others, a project management tool like Trello or Asana makes more sense to keep track of assignments and notes.
You can also use data visualization dashboards to ensure your agents see key metrics, how they’re performing and how they stack up against the rest of the team.
3. Setup remote access
Sometimes, your agents will need your help or need you to step in for any escalations. Make sure you have a proper remote access tool set up. Test that it works efficiently so you can easily remote in when needed for these moments.
With proper training and positioning, your call center agents will know how these tools will better support them.
4. Video conferencing
We know that employee experience is just as important as customer experience, and video conferencing is one of the best resources available when managing remote call center agents. Keep up with personal touches like this when possible to engage with your agents and continue building a sense of connection.
5. Use QA software
Having QA software in place will enable you to listen in to how your agents are performing in real time without having to disrupt calls. This can give you the ability to also give agents feedback in real time when needed.
Other components of QA software will allow you to go back and listen to previously recorded calls in order to assess areas of opportunity for agents. While this isn’t new to the call center industry, it’s important to lean on QA software for a remote workforce as you won’t be able to sit with an agent to assess their performance as regularly as you would in a contact center. Think through tactful ways you can even use some examples for team building and coaching without identifying specific agents.
6. Engage and incentivize
After all is said and done, you also want to make sure you take moments to “bring the fun” for your agents. Taking even a small amount of time to engage with your team to make sure they’re doing well, having fun and are excited about incentives can inspire a higher caliber of work that will have a resonating impact on their experience and performance.
If you’re not already, have routine one-on-one meetings with your team members to see how they’re doing and where they may need assistance or coaching for growth. Have intermittent team sessions to keep a sense of connection, while also laying out monthly milestones to hit and offer incentives for.
7. Welcome feedback
This almost sounds like a corporate cliché, but it truly is an integral component to succeeding together with your team. Set up an e-suggestion box of sorts; whether that be hosted on a third-party website (like Free Suggestion Box), brought up in team meetings or just sent directly to your inbox.
You can also incentivize for the best suggestions, which could drive significant participation and morale. Whatever it takes, you want to encourage your agents to have their voices heard and respected, as they’re on the front line. Also, without feedback, you can’t grow or make sure that your team grows together. You’re all better together if you’re growing together.
Some of you may already have several of these in place, but pay close attention to how you can make them better. Assess how your current plan is working for your team on a regular basis and try to incorporate more of these practices a little at a time.
Want to hear more about how you can utilize data to turn these best practices into practice? Get a free solutions consultation today and see the difference for yourself.