Remote working can increase contact center efficiency, enhance agent engagement, and reduce overhead costs.
Yet, it is not without its challenges. Social isolation, network connectivity issues, and a lack of immediate support can hinder remote working strategies.
Thankfully, with a little planning, contact center managers can overcome such issues and optimize the performance of remote teams.
Here are some excellent ideas for how to do precisely that.
1. Define Your Goals and Expectations
Contact centers thrive when team members have both short and long-term goals to guide them. Unfortunately, many companies don’t invest time into setting and tracking goals.
Nevertheless, developing staggered performance objectives can drive results, as employees know what they must accomplish each day to impress supervisors and managers.
Ideally, companies will also consistently offer feedback to help guide agents toward their goals.
When individuals fall behind, supervisors should offer insights, support, or even training to help them improve.
Alternatively, When team members are excelling, they should receive recognition and rewards to keep them motivated.
Of course, this is tricky in remote environments. Thankfully, quality management solutions – which pull insights from every customer conversation help here.
2. Bolster the Technology Mix
Alongside quality management solutions, there are several tools designed to support remote agents.
Collaboration tools are an excellent example, connecting the contact center and enabling agents to work together to solve complex customer problems.
Some CCaaS solutions can even integrate with UCaaS platforms, like Microsoft Teams, to enable swarming channels, which connect agents to subject matter experts (SMEs) across the business.
Background noise reduction apps – such as Krisp – are another example, ensuring noises in agent remote workspaces do not negatively influence the customer experience.
WFM, CRM, and agent desktop innovations may also help to bolster remote working environments.
3. Kickstart Engagement Initiatives
Remote agents often become disconnected from company culture and workflows, which hampers their productivity and satisfaction.
Thankfully, numerous initiatives can keep the team engaged.
For instance, contact center managers can create dashboards for team members. These may offer real-time analytics and insights into their performance.
Some solutions even come with access to gamification features, like leaderboards, to inspire healthy competition between staff.
Often these come part and parcel with comprehensive “workforce engagement” and management platforms available. These assist businesses with scheduling teams, managing resources, and keeping staff connected.
Some even offer analytical insights into team engagement, provide ways to check in with staff, and help supervisors reward employees when they demonstrate exceptional work.
4. Mix Up Remote Agent Routines
Build specific activities into remote agent routines. Morning huddles, weekly check-ins, and coaching reviews ensure regular communication and that everyone stays on the same page.
Setting deadlines for specific tasks can also help to minimize the risk of procrastination and ensure any ad-hoc projects keep moving along.
Of course, with today’s flexible workforces, business leaders must stay aware of the various time zones employees work in if they have a global team.
Luckily, many CCaaS tools have AI solutions that tailor scheduling strategies to suit every business.
5. Support Collaboration Efforts
Collaboration is a valuable part of any successful business. Leaders should pave the way for team members to work together on many issues.
Again, UC tools help by opening up communication channels, swarming capabilities, and video conferencing. As such, more businesses have embraced CCaaS integrations with Microsoft Teams.
They may also invest in coaching tools that allow supervisors to whisper tips to agents during conversations and track the performance of new employees as they begin their first calls.
6. Provide Training Opportunities
Remote agents often require more assistance when embracing new practices and tools.
Giving your team members access to the right training opportunities and support when adopting these is critical in a flexible, work-anywhere environment.
If it is impossible to offer this training in person, there are many ways to guide team members using digital tools too.
Indeed, online webinars, virtual training sessions, and e-learning tools are becoming particularly popular in the current landscape.
Also, many collaboration tools come with documentation to help with training success.
7. Continuously Track and Optimize Remote Agent Strategies
Remote work is still relatively new for many companies and their employees. That means there’s a learning curve for everyone.
The best way for business leaders to optimize their team’s performance is to continually listen to their teams, scour for new agent insights, and extract learnings.
A mix of one-to-one reviews, group huddles, and anonymous surveys is often ideal. Such activities help piece together a complete picture of what is happening on the front lines.
Moreover, many contact center tools and platforms come with built-in reporting tools, which help track quality metrics, spotlight individual trends, and offer a complete view of team performance.
Eager for more ideas to support remote agents and improve well-being? If so, read our article: Prioritizing Agent Wellbeing to Overcome Contact Center Burnout