People are working remotely more than ever, thanks to the proliferation of online productivity and communication tools.
Going into 2019, an Owl Labs report says 53 percent work from home at least once a week.
In 2016, 43 percent of employed adults in the USA claimed to spend at least some of their time working remotely. This was a 4% increase from 2012, and the figures are expected to keep rising in years to come.
If you have a team of remote call center agents, managing them efficiently can be a little more difficult than an in-house department. They aren’t all based in one location, which makes the process of supervising and motivating them somewhat daunting.
Below, we explore seven essentials to managing remote call center agents to help you boost productivity, secure stronger results, and enhance your brand’s reputation.
1. Offer Rewards to Motivate Agents
Gamification is increasingly popular as a motivational tool, providing workers with tangible rewards as an incentive.
By applying scores and prizes to your employees’ everyday tasks, you can make work feel more like a game and give them greater reason to do their best. You can provide them with potential rewards like gift cards, paid time off, dinner vouchers, and gadgets. This will make your task of managing remote call center agents a little easier.
This offers workers more reason to push themselves and aim higher than simply fulfilling their contractual obligations. Gamification creates healthy competition between agents too, and as they will feel more valued, builds their sense of loyalty toward your company.
2. Embrace Team Collaboration Tools
Team collaboration tools are essential for any remote team, especially call center agents.
One of the main benefits of collaboration tools is that more inexperienced workers can receive help from their colleagues through instant messaging/chat (a common feature of collaboration tools) without having to call or email them.
This cultivates a stronger team dynamic and creates tighter bonds between agents who may never actually meet in person.
Project management tools tend to include chat features, scheduling, and allocation functions to help agents see what their colleagues are doing at any one time. This helps them to feel part of a group, rather than as if they are working in a vacuum.
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3. Make the Best of Video Conferencing
Video conferencing tools let you unite your agents in one call and communicate face-to-face. This may be the closest they come to actually meeting.
Video conferencing is ideal for training in a more dynamic way than simply emailing documents to agents. Reading through page after page of dry text can make learning difficult, whereas video conferencing leads to a more interactive process.
Hosting training calls using video enables agents to ask questions in real time, help each other learn, and study visual aids to reinforce valuable points. All this makes it a powerful aid in managing remote call center agents effectively.
4. Use Qa Software to Boost Productivity and Performance
QA software is a fundamental part of managing remote call center agents successfully.
QA software like Playvox lets you monitor agents’ work and identify potential strengths and weaknesses to find improvements. This is much easier than trying to work backward from mistakes or customer complaints, letting you take a more proactive approach in boosting agents’ performance.
You can give your agents real-time feedback and let them share improvement ideas with colleagues using integrated messaging. Random customer calls can be submitted for review to help you analyze interactions, finding areas that need work or are worthy of praise.
Training can be improved by Playvox QA software, with targeted training involving quizzes and varied content. Your agents will get the right assistance to hone their skills and help them feel more engaged by the training itself.
5. Create a Company Culture to Increase Engagement
Company culture is a common element of businesses the world over. They help employees to feel more connected to the business, their work, and the brand’s individual goals.
For remote workers, though, it’s harder to feel part of a company and a larger mission. You need to cultivate a sense of company culture and make agents feel immersed in the brand.
- What are the core values?
- What should customers feel after interacting with agents?
- How does the business want agents to represent the company and themselves?
Make sure agents understand their part in the enterprise and their value. Regular video conferencing calls and a reward system can help them feel like they are important to the business.
6. Invite Customers to Provide Feedback
One key part of managing your remote call center team is building on customer feedback. By presenting callers with polls or surveys, either as soon as their interaction has ended or a few days later, you can gain invaluable information on how your agents are performing from a different perspective.
This is important because customers’ views and experience will vary from your own. You can learn whether the lines you request workers to use are annoying, whether agents spend too much time delivering sales-focused spiels and more.
Collate customer feedback and use it to improve overall performance, even if it contrasts with what you think customers want.
7. Welcome Agent Feedback
Just as customer feedback is essential to managing remote call center agents, so too is worker feedback.
Give your employees the chance to discuss the aspects of their everyday work they like and dislike. Which parts of the process do they feel are slower or more complex than they should be? Would they like more training and interactions with you, or would they prefer to be more independent?
Listening to your team will help them to feel more valued and respected, improving their overall experience.
This article has been updated from the original, published on August 16, 2018, to reflect new events, conditions or research.