It’s been a while since we all have been working from home. And it seems like work from home is turning into a permanent option for a few enterprises. With a newer variant of Coronavirus terrorizing us every day, it is safe to say that work-from-home is our new reality. In fact, around 80% of call center agents have been working from home.
During the pandemic, there has been a surge in customer support-related conversations. It has been a crucial period for contact centers as they struggled to meet this spike in support volume. While some were migrating from on-premise to cloud solutions, others were struggling to adapt to this new module.
This sudden shift in the normal also exposed the pain points in the day-to-day operations of the contact center. It revealed the importance of hiring flexible people, investing in the right tools, and the mentality that runs across the office. To survive in this economy with so much uncertainty involved, it would be wiser to rethink and evaluate a long-term remote working solution rather than just winging it for a few months.
How does one embrace this new way of working? It becomes a successful module when you manage your team well, without impacting the customer experience. This is possible with a smart amalgamation of remote-friendly tools and a democratic management style.
According to a 2-year Stanford Study, employees have shown remarkable productivity by working from home as opposed to on-premise work. It means, if done right, work-from-home is a beneficial model to run businesses in the long run.
Here, are some tips on how to manage your workforce and enable smooth onboarding to the remote working situation.
1. Video Chat for Personalized Communication
2. Cloud-Based Solution for Better Agent Assistance
3. Skip the Micromanagement
4. Recognize Employee Efforts
5. Make Communication Effortless Across Departments
6. Team Building Activity
One of the biggest concerns about the work-from-home model was the lack of personalized interaction. People were afraid to feel distanced and isolated thanks to limited contact. With video chat solutions, interacting with your employees or customers for that matter, shouldn’t be too difficult. In fact, during a video call you to host conferences, gather snapshots of highlight moments, and even complete KYC procedures for document identification. The healthcare industry is one of the first embracers of the virtual chat solution for patient aid, where face-to-face assistance really bridged the gap.
Well, if you are working from home, then you are already most likely using a cloud contact center solution. Some on-premise installations have been using their on-premise infrastructure over the VPN. But how scalable and helpful is it for your agent? Your cloud contact center solution (CCaaS) should be a one-stop solution for all sales, support, and management-related needs. From ACD to CRM integration, your cloud solution must cover all bases to support your agents. With WebRTC powered solutions, your agents do not need an additional softphone and no more routing calls to the agent’s mobile phone if they have optimal internet connectivity. Alternatively, the CCaaS solution can route calls to the agent’s mobile as well.
It can be difficult to lose the visibility of your employees in a work-from-home model. Supervisors might feel anxious about how the agents are spending their time. Under such pressure, it is very easy to start micromanaging, however, you are just pushing your agents towards a different job. Instead, focus on the bigger picture. Re-instate your KPIs to evaluate your agents on daily performance, such as their regular talk time, their average call handling time, and customer satisfaction rate. You can choose a centralized Contact Center Solution which comes with a mobile app for agents. With our centralized admin panel, you can assign leads, monitor calls, track calls, and even read post-call notes and access the call recordings. This will also help you to track the employee’s performance, without feeling the need to micromanage.
Usually, managers will check employee progress at the end of the day. However, it might seem tricky when you are working remotely. Here you are at risk of lowering employee morale and ignoring the efforts of some agents who are putting in the extra work. Lack of recognition can lead to reduced productivity and repulsion towards higher management.
Recognizing and incentivizing the efforts of hard-working or innovative employees is an essential practice. It can be done by learning and hosting town hall meetings with your employees. Offering feedback, and assisting with work, can lead to a healthy workplace atmosphere. All these can come together in bringing up morale and productivity.
Communication needs to be effortless amongst all teams. It is easier for few employees to communicate however; it is hard to enable smooth communication across departments. When people worked from the office, employees could always walk up to their table and get the issue resolved or a question answered. When working remotely, it becomes really difficult. This is why team collaboration solutions are very important. There are popular solutions like Google Workspace, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even Discord. Different channels and in-house chat rooms make it convenient for employees to communicate across departments. The team should be very responsive as they can’t meet face to face, so active communication makes the difference.
Remote working agents are constantly taking calls and talking to strangers. With no in-office interaction, their jobs can really become tedious over time. A good manager must ensure that the agents are kept engaged either via team-building activities or gamification. It is advised to host virtual events, organize less-time consuming games like a quiz contest or even mental health awareness sessions.
The workspace is going to stay a bit more diverse than it was before. It is obvious that all the offices won’t return to work from an office, very soon. There will obviously be a hybrid structure or a complete remote pattern. It is high time that we adapt to the current protocol embrace the new culture and make the best use of cloud-based software platforms.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.