February 14, 2015
The contact center has been evolving since its inception and, most recently, has been pulling a magical act—disappearing. Because of this, many companies are now moving towards adopting virtual contact centers or virtual remote staffing. This highly innovative approach is not only cost effective, but it also enables companies to find the best and highest quality talent from anywhere in the country and even the world.
Although there are no obvious processes to follow while you are creating a plan to deploy work from home contact center agents, there are certain best practices that you can adopt to get the best outcomes from your at-home employees. The following practices have been outlined by the early adopters and innovative software web-based solution providers.
Best Practices for Deploying Work from Home Contact Center Agents
Effective Scheduling through Workforce Management Software: Comprehensive and effective scheduling of your contact center agents is essential for smooth sailing when managing a virtual contact center environment. Workforce Management software enables supervisors, who don’t have in-person access to agents, to deploy and monitor real-time adherence. This will verify that the virtual agents start work on time and take their breaks at the scheduled time.
Remote Compliance of Organizational Policies: Remote agents’ working environments should comply with the organization’s policies. Agents should have a disturbance-free space with no distractions so that they can work comfortably and with maximum efficiency.
High-speed Internet and Proper Equipment: Agents should have high-speed internet connections, PCs or laptops that meet the system requirements of the company, plus headsets and power backups. It is highly recommended that laptops are provided for agents and that internet speeds are monitored on a regular basis. If the Internet speed is not adequate, VOIP calls will be jittery and choppy. In these situations, agents should also have a separate telephone line that can be used for phone calls. It is a good idea to verify that the contact center software deployed supports agent connections to remote phone numbers.
Deploy Quality Management Software: Quality management software should be used to monitor and score agent interactions. Records of performance scores and real-time monitoring and reporting should be done to enhance and improve the performance of remote agents just as it is done in the physical office environment.
Computer Screen Recordings: Supervisors and managers should have the ability to view and record agents’ screens. Screen recordings close the gap between a traditional on-site agent and a work from home agent. Being able to see how the agents are interacting with different applications as they handle customers inquires can help supervisors identify issues and can be a great training tool.
Training: Training the remote agents is essential before proceeding with work. Providing the necessary materials and guidance is required for the agents to be successful in your organization.
Effective and Open Communication: Effective communication is a vital component in the success of the work from home contact center approach. Collaborating with the agents makes them feel that they are a part of the physical team. Encourage positive communication and arrange for video conferencing with the agents on a regular basis.
Incent Remote Agents: Rewards and benefits should be given to the best agents in order to boost the overall performance and efficiency. I have even heard of companies that pay per call and survey result. For example, if you handled 30 calls and your survey or QM results were above a predetermined range, you would receive a higher rate per call.
By following these practices, great results can be generated through deploying work from home agents. Over the past few years, several big contact center operators have utilized virtual agents and the idea is well proven at a larger scale. It is very important to have a contact center solution that has the features mentioned in this blog, along with experienced consultants to guarantee a smooth transition.
If you are considering deploying remote agents and would like some help in doing so, please contact us today!
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