How do you work together when you’re not in an office, surrounded by your coworkers? More to the point, how do managers ensure their employees are engaged and have high morale when they can’t see them in person? These questions are especially pressing for contact center supervisors and their agents as they work remotely.
Consider six ways to build a positive culture for your remote contact center team, so your agents are motivated, happy, and productive.
What is a positive culture?
A positive contact center culture has a number of characteristics:
- Agents have high morale and are enthusiastic about being at work.
- Team members collaborate effectively, both with one another and with managers.
- There’s frequent, appropriate, and trustworthy communication from management and HR.
- Agents are given the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.
- Managers can be flexible under changing circumstances.
Is a positive work culture possible with remote work?
When you think about building a positive work culture for your team, it may be difficult to imagine you can do that with remote workers. Yet, research shows it’s possible:
- A May 2020 Gallup poll points to remote workers being more engaged than their peers who work in an office – 32% vs. 28%.
- Remote workers have higher job retention rates; a 2019 study reported that remote workers are 13% more likely to stay in their jobs for the next five years than onsite employees.
- A 2012 study from Stanford researchers revealed that transitioning to remote work boosts performance by 13%.
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6 ways to build a positive work culture for a remote contact center
How do these principles and statistics apply to contact centers, especially to ones in which agents and managers are working remotely? It’s still possible for agents to work remotely and feel that they’re part of a vibrant, positive culture.
Here are six ways to create a positive work culture for contact center agents working remotely:
- Choose the right tools.
- Empower agents to find the answers themselves.
- Offer timely, relevant feedback to agents.
- Intelligently route contacts to the right agent.
- Customize workflows.
- Optimize schedules.
Choose the right tools
What do the right tools look like in a contact center environment? The right tools enable agents to connect to customers through the channel of their choice, on-site or remotely, while also giving managers real-time reports, agent monitoring capabilities, and in-depth customer surveys. Moreover, the right tools integrate with CRMs, so that agents can deliver personalized service to every customer.
It’s frustrating when the technology that’s supposed to enable agent jobs actually make them harder – 10% of workers have actually left a job because they were dissatisfied with the software and hardware they used. Cloud contact center technology allows agents to work remotely while maintaining high levels of performance and productivity.
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Empower agents to find answers themselves
Two heads are better than one. There are times when your agents won’t know the answer and will need access to internal resources to answer a question. Market-leading cloud contact center solutions provide a shared directory with presence indication, so agents can reach out to company experts to solve issues.
When agents can collaborate effectively with other teams, you can see a productivity boost of 20 to 30%, according to McKinsey. Productive workers are less frustrated and more engaged, which leads to a more positive work environment for all (even for remote work).
Offer timely, relevant feedback to agents
How can managers offer feedback to agents when they’re not in the same office? Cloud contact center technology helps here too. It enables contact center supervisors to course-correct through whisper coaching, silent monitoring, and even being able to join a call in progress.
Even if agents are working remotely, feedback is still crucial to them. They need it to make continuous improvements. This isn’t anecdotal, either; companies that implement regular employee feedback see a turnover rate of 15% or lower.
Intelligently route contacts to the right agent
In a McKinsey report on contact center agent engagement, researchers noted that job stress is one of the top five reasons that affect an agent staying with a contact center. One source of job stress is dealing with a customer whose issue you can’t resolve. Maybe the customer’s problem is complex, or perhaps you don’t have the right knowledge to solve the problem.
Being able to intelligently route contacts to the right agent goes a long way toward building a positive work environment. Intelligent routing is based on AI, an agent’s skills, and actionable analytics. How does this build a positive remote work culture? Agents feel that they’re doing meaningful work within their skill set, and they’ll be more engaged as a result.
Leveraging contact center technology that enables you to build customized workflows increases agent productivity and engagement. For example, RingCentral Engage is built on an open API platform, which means that you can integrate your favorite productivity tools to create seamless, automated workflows. This level of customization enables agents to spend less time on after-call work, automates previously manual tasks, and reduces errors, all of which leads to greater productivity overall.
In the 2019 Buffer report on remote work, 40% of respondents said a flexible schedule would be the best perk of working remotely. Contact center agents generally work on shifts. What if there was a way to optimize their schedules so they could still work remotely, but would only be working during the busiest times?
Market-leading contact center technology offers a scheduling feature that optimizes agents’ time on the clock, ensuring that they’re not sitting idle (no matter where they’re working). Optimized scheduling boosts productivity as well as morale.
As a contact center manager, one of your tasks is to ensure a positive work culture, no matter where your agents are. A cloud contact center solution helps build that positive culture by making agents’ jobs easier. To learn more, view a free demo.
Originally published Sep 14, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022