The contact center is still the hub of customer service for your business, but it might not be a physical office space filled with agents due in part to the fact that technology has removed many of the physical constraints of work environments. Instead, businesses can now use cloud technology to connect with customers from numerous locations around the world.
Allowing some of your agents to work remote or moving your entire operation online is a big transition for any contact center. You have to consider which remote access tool you want to use, how to provide secure remote access, and more. Your company, agents, and customers rely on you to guide them through this process, so it’s important to use the right remote support strategy during your transition.
Creating your remote access strategies
Equipping your contact center agents to become remote workers requires more than just providing a remote access solution, but you won’t need incredibly advanced strategies to succeed. Below, we’ve outlined several tips for providing remote customer support from your contact center. Whether you’re considering a work-from-home option or want to improve your current remote operations, these strategies can help guide your decisions.
1. Use the right tools for remote access sessions
Your contact center tools are always the first step to a successful operation. As you build your remote work plan, carefully consider the remote access solutions you will provide to your agents. Focus on finding tools that enable seamless team collaboration, simplify working from home, and best meet your customer demands.
Cloud-based contact center solutions
When managing customer support through a remote workforce, your agents need the ability to access your solution and data through any access method. This system flexibility and accessibility is only available through a cloud platform. Agents can log into your system from home or co-working spaces, using all of your tools and customer data to manage their interactions. In any situation, you’ll be able to maintain reliable customer support at all times.
Agent hardware and tools
To access their virtual desktop on your contact center platform, your agents first need a computer or mobile device. You may choose to equip your team with company-issued devices or you can allow agents to use personal computers. If your agents will be taking calls, you also need to provide headsets with microphones to allow for quality communication.
Most important, ensure every agent has an internet network secure and fast enough to support remote support. If agents are securing remote access from public spaces such as coffee shops, make sure they understand the access risks of using unsecured internet services. Experiencing a data breach or allowing unauthorized access to a resource library due to poor security measures can quickly create enormous problems for your business and contact center, so use advanced security measures to protect critical information.
Security for critical infrastructures
When using a cloud-based solution for remote work, your remote access security is critical to maintaining compliance and data safety. Utilize options such as multi-factor authentication to secure accessible data on corporate networks. Limit access for vendors to avoid any breaches related to third-party vendor access. Use powerful security tools, such as a privileged access management (PAM) solution, to increase your access control and avoid any potential vulnerabilities that can threaten your contact center.
2. Implement check-ins and regular reports
Your supervisors will no longer be able to walk the floor to check in on agents, but you can still maintain workplace visibility. Use your team collaboration tools to encourage communication among your team. Have agents check-in with managers at the start and end of each shift to avoid any miscommunication and to monitor performance. Enforce transparency throughout your contact center for better workforce management. Though your managers can’t use in-person reports or check-ins to keep track of your agents, they can enjoy increased visibility into performance, success, and results throughout your contact center.
Utilize quality assurance tools
Your managers can also use their remote desktop to check in with individual agent performance. If you’ve received complaints or just want to confirm results, your contact center platform allows you to view call logs, metrics, and reports. You can use this information to measure your customer service quality throughout the transition and after. This privileged access allows your managers to make targeted improvements to maintain high-quality support.
3. Incentivize your remote contact center agents
Your talent acquisition process involved evaluating candidates for their ability to be part of a team, so don’t let remote work isolate your agents. Instead, create a new, fun approach to your customer interactions by adding rewards and elements that make work similar to playing a game.
Create competitions to encourage great results and drive productivity. Build a gamification system that improves workplace efficiency by rewarding your highest performing agents. Measure the number of interactions each agent completes, the level of satisfaction with their service, and first-contact resolutions to improve your customer support while also increasing workplace satisfaction. Add excitement to the workday to keep employees engaged and happy about the work they’re doing.
4. Actively maintain company culture
Even though your agents may be spread across a wide geographic region, it’s important to foster a sense of teamwork and community. Keep agents connected through regular team meetings and continuous communication. If you outsource to third parties, make these vendors active parts of your team to maintain camaraderie. Hold events to celebrate product news or significant milestones. Develop a positive, close work environment to keep agents engaged and invested in the work they do.
If you have enough agents who live in a centralized area, you can also rent coworking spaces for their use. Though they won’t be in an official office, your employees will be able to see and work alongside team members. These face-to-face interactions and proximity can reduce any feelings of isolation or disconnect that can sometimes affect remote workers. This also gives you the opportunity to hold in-person meetings on a regular basis. Whether your agents work together on a daily basis or meet up every few weeks, they can create valuable connections with their team members that carry over into their work.
Creating a virtual or remote contact center is a significant transition that can offer benefits to your customer service and contact center agents. To learn more about using an omnichannel cloud contact center solution to support your remote work, contact our sales team for a personalized demo of our platform.
Originally published Apr 06, 2020, updated Aug 27, 2020