Work from home programs have become an appealing option for call center agents. Even with the benefits, there are several challenges that call centers must work through that cause some hesitation or rejection. Yet, these problems are not impossible to overcome when making managing or making the transition.
Issue No. 1: Lack of Support
Support can become complicated with Work-at-Home (WAH) agents. If basic resources are not available within seconds, agents will become frustrated from trying to locate information and service will plummet. Solution? Invest in technologies that encourage ongoing communication that let agents find/ask for information. Put together a virtual support team to help supervise remote agents and give them easy support. Web chat is another effective way to communicate between agents and supervisors.
Issue No. 2: Plummeting Productivity
Many centers fear that WAH agents will view working from home as a chance to catch up on sleep or chores. How do you keep an eye on employees who are working miles away?
In a 2019 study by Airtasker, people who work from home want to work 1.4 days more per month and 16.8 more days per year.
Issue No. 3: Difficulties in Training and Coaching
When agents are not on-site, ongoing training can seem like a huge challenge. It's key to help agents be ready for changes in service or new products. Learning should be an ongoing process. Make sure you can train any agent, anywhere, at any time. Offer real-time eLearning capabilities that include the ability to send targeted training and coaching content to agents. Your solution should offer tools to assess learning results, enable quizzes to be embedded or linked to course material.
Use a learning management system that allows remote learning to be interactive and streamlined for WAH agents. Online visual and audio learning combined with instant feedback will let agents communicate easily with the instructor. This is important especially if they don't do well on an assessment, and it allows for virtual individual time with an instructor to help them out.
Built-in assessment tools can track the impact of specific training. They allow you to easily measure training results and impact on group or individual performance. Make it easy for WAH agents to look up their performance results to keep them motivated. Integrate tools that will allow your managers and trainers to measure whether training was viewed and understood.
Issue No. 4: Separation
Working from home makes it difficult to get to know those working around you. How do you make WAH agents feel part of the team? Make sure your tech encourages teamwork and interaction between agents. Community walls and chats within the company is a great way to communicate with each other, share ideas and engage with other team members.
Research and continually use the most up-to-date technology instead of just relying on traditional hardware. This will not only help prevent harmful future incidents, but it will remove tech that does a mediocre job of supporting your WAH agents. Call Centers who support work at home programs enable employees to balance their work/personal life, which fosters higher engagement and productivity. So, call centers...what are you afraid of?
Taken from original post.
About the author: Nicole is the Marketing manager with the Playvox team. Playvox is a platform that uses gamification, learning and social tools to make call centers better places to work.
This article has been updated from the original, published on May 28, 2013, to reflect new events, conditions or research.