With nowadays technology, it is as easy to have staff working remotely as to have them all under one roof. While it may be trickier to create a sense of belonging, having remote agents brings businesses significant savings as companies no longer need to pay for office space. With fewer sick days and no commute, it has also been shown that productivity tends to be higher in remote staff who are happier working in conditions that suit them.
Last, this model can be hugely beneficial to companies with international customers or who want to offer round-the-clock customer service.
However, for a multi-site workforce to be efficient, the right environment needs to be put in place. Here is how.
- The right infrastructure
Contact centre technology is already highly suited to remote working. With a computer and a decent internet connection, all that agents will need from you is a virtual desktop to access whichever system you want them to use.
Wherever your workforce is, you will still be able to monitor their productivity as closely as if they were in the next room. Reporting features will show you how many calls they answered, the length of the calls, first-call resolution rates, and, if calls are recorded, you can make sure that they handle calls the way you want them to.
- Hire the right people
Although many studies have shown that remote contact centre agents are significantly more productive, not everybody is made for independent work and one of the most critical components to get right when managing a remote contact centre is to hire people who are self-starters in the first place.
They must be comfortable with technology so that they can use your systems correctly, and they must have sufficient experience in sales roles as well as your industry so that they can operate without requiring constant supervision.
You also need to devise interview questions that will ascertain their drive for achievement, their competitiveness and positivity, all crucial elements to working alone.
- Create a sense of belonging
Working remotely can feel lonely, but it can also make it more difficult to capture ‘the voice’ of the company. It is therefore essential to organise regular face-to-face meetings (at least virtually), training and opportunities for your remote agents to feel part of a team.
With proper management and good communication, remote call agents can be valued members of any contact centre.