People are working remotely more than ever thanks to the proliferation of online productivity, communication tools, and of course, the pandemic.
At the beginning of the pandemic, 31% of employees worked from home at least part-time. By March 2020, that number grew to 45% and then grew again to 62% by April 2020, according to Gallup.
Forty-three percent of companies in a January 2022 PwC executive survey said they would keep offering hybrid work options for employees and 30% said they’d make remote work a permanent option. Contact center managers should adopt best practices when it comes to remote work as it becomes more and more common.
Explore seven essentials to managing remote contact center agents to help boost productivity, secure stronger results, and enhance your brand’s reputation.
1. Offer Rewards To Engage and Motivate Agents
Gamification is increasingly popular for managing remote contact center agents because it’s a motivational tool, providing workers with tangible rewards as an incentive. (And, let’s be honest, it’s just fun!)
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 contact center agents a little easier.
Employees also have more reasons to push themselves and aim higher than simply checking off their job duties. Gamification creates healthy competition between agents too, and as they will feel more valued, it builds their sense of loyalty toward your company.
2. Embrace Team Collaboration Tools
Team collaboration tools are essential for managing remote contact center agents.
One of the main benefits of collaboration tools is that employees with a little less experience can receive help from their more seasoned 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 given time. This helps them to feel part of a group, rather than as if they are working in a vacuum.
Related Article: 5 Proven Strategies to Help Remote Contact Center Agents Feel Valued
3. Make The Best Of Video Conferencing
Video conferencing tools give you the opportunity to unite your remote agents at one time and communicate face to face. It may be the closest they come to actually meeting, and face-to-face interactions will help build connections.
Video conferencing is ideal for training remote contact center agents 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.
4. Use QM Software To Boost Productivity And Performance
Quality management (QM) software is a fundamental part of managing remote contact center agents successfully.
QM software lets you monitor agents’ work and identify potential strengths and weaknesses. 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. With the right software in place, you can review customer interactions across all your channels to help you find areas that need work or are worthy of praise.
Training can be improved 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.
5. Nurture A Company Culture To Increase Engagement
For remote workers, it’s often harder to feel part of a company and a larger mission. You need to cultivate a sense of community 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?
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar offices, where company culture is easier to build in person, it takes a bit more creativity to build a positive culture among remote contact center agents.
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. This can make a big difference to agents’ engagement with the company, their job satisfaction, and managing remote contact center agents overall.
6. Invite Customers To Provide Feedback
One key part of managing your remote contact center team is building on customer feedback. By presenting customers 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.
Measuring the customer experience is important because customers’ views and experiences will vary from your own. Especially when managing remote contact center agents, customer feedback is crucial in determining how effective your agents are.
Related Article: Contact Center Feedback Questions To Get The Most Out Of Your VOC
7. Welcome Agent Feedback
Just as customer feedback is essential to managing remote contact center agents, agent feedback is too.
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.
Related Article: How To Create A Feedback Culture In Your Contact Center
By finding better ways to manage remote contact center agents, you can offer increased flexibility for workers and reduced costs for your business. While the remote work model can sometimes challenge contact center management, the right digital tools — such as video conferencing, collaboration tools, and WFM applications — provide a viable strategy.
Request a demo from Playvox to see how we can help you with managing remote contact center agents.