Remote call centers are here to stay. Hiring agents flexibly from anywhere in the world widens call centers’ recruitment networks and gives agents more freedom. Efficient remote work also requires a well-oiled operation that understands the unique needs of remote employees.
Call center work has changed dramatically in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the transition to modern, cloud-based call center software. Thanks to cloud software and remote work, call centers have been able to recruit the best talent regardless of where they live. Having teams working in different time zones also allows call centers to be operational 24/7.
At the same time, however, the major shift towards remote work has brought organisational and management challenges. Team leaders and call center managers have had to come up with new ways to build comradery and competitiveness in teams that don’t meet face-to-face. Also, optimising team performance, fostering happy employees and ensuring premium customer experience have required managers to embrace new approaches.
In this blog, we’ve compiled tips to help you and your remote team succeed.
Communication guidelines are the first thing that has to change in remote-first work. Without clear and organised structures your employees soon find themselves working and solving problems alone. The information needs to flow through the organisation smoothly and transparently, whether you are at the office or not.
Agreeing on regular communication systems and intervals ensures that your agents stay motivated and efficient in the new hybrid working life.
Many workers feel that their managers have become distant figures in the remote work environment. Isolated agents might not feel connected to their team or the company.
You should go the extra mile in making yourself available to your agents. Listen to their needs and signals about the atmosphere and encourage them to speak up. Staying aware of your agents’ workload is a crucial aspect of remote management. You should also give your agents positive feedback regularly. Celebrating successes together is a concrete reminder that the team’s efforts are being noticed.
Creating virtual spaces where your agents can just hang out without pressure is important. Virtual water coolers, which are open all the time and available to everyone, can create a bond between people who have never met in person. Along with a breather, they provide agents with important brainstorming opportunities where nothing is expected of them.
When everyone is not working from the office, you need to consider your agents’ unique schedules and situations more carefully. While you’re having a Friday morning meeting at the office, someone starting their weekend in another time zone might not be too delighted about a two-hour status check. Arranging regular, short huddles instead of long meetings is a good way to ensure that everyone stays updated on important matters.
You should quickly transition all your software to cloud-based solutions. In today’s working life, you can’t be dependent on fixed locations anymore.
For remote work, you need a modern, cloud-based call center software solution. The software should be easy to use, flexible and efficient. The goal is to have a system that requires minimal training, can be used anywhere and delivers great results. Integrating the call center software with other key systems, such as your CRM, cuts down on hassle and streamlines your operation.
For internal communications, emails alone don’t suffice. You need additional software that enables both video calls and less formal text-based communication. Joking around and having fun together should never disappear because of remote work.
Setting clear goals is a vital part of remote work and team performance. When everyone knows what is expected of them, they can start working as a team to accomplish those goals.
Work/life balance is also a major problem when there are no office hours. Make sure that your agents don’t burn themselves out with overtime.
Gamification is a big thing for call centers, as competing agents are often more efficient. In a field where sales incentives are an essential motivational factor, leaderboards can create productive competition between agents and boost team spirit. Used right, a sales dashboard could result in a closer bond between agents, teams and the call center.
For managers, leaderboards are an easy way to track the performance of teams. When everyone knows the rules, it’s easy to notice if an agent or team needs extra coaching or support.
For a long time, call centers were basically big offices full of cubicles where the whole agent force was crammed together. The flexibility of remote call centers attracts new people to the industry. It allows agents to work from anywhere they want, which is a big benefit for people who don’t see themselves working in a large office building. Agents also don’t have to quit if they move abroad or to another city, which decreases agent churn.
To make remote call centers work, you need to consider the differences between the old world and the new, cloud-based reality. Building a successful and attractive remote call center requires actions from all parties from call center managers to team leaders and agents. When you manage the process right, you can run an operation that is efficient, flexible and attractive for agents.