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Providing exceptional customer support is becoming increasingly difficult. The products and services companies offer grow in complexity, making it near impossible for your agents to know every aspect of a business. This means they often need to switch between various backend systems and communication channels when dealing with customers. And the growing number of at-home agents adds new twists to these challenges. 

Agents may feel isolated when working from home and could miss the regular interactions they used to have with their colleagues. They might also find it harder to talk to other agents and internal experts, which is vital for handling customer complaints. And when companies switch to remote work abruptly because of natural disasters, diseases, and other adverse events, adjusting to a new reality can be particularly complicated. 

The power of a unified communications solution

Complex, on-premise contact center (CC) systems are ill-suited for these challenges. Companies need flexible solutions that fit the way people communicate and work today. Otherwise, US businesses will continue losing over $60 billion each year because of poor customer service.

The answer lies in cloud-based platforms that integrate voice, text, email, social media, video conferencing, team collaboration, and other features into a unified communications (UC) solution. This technology helps to keep WFH agents connected with their peers and enables them to be highly productive when helping customers, which is especially relevant today in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

For years, many companies have provided some level of support for at-home agents – primarily as a perk for more experienced and trusted agents, to keep them in the fold. With COVID-19, companies have suddenly been forced to move agents home for very basic safety reasons. 

As companies are forced to deploy remote agents more broadly, they are actually learning to copy with this style of work and are beginning to see the benefits of at-home agents.

And companies that have been embracing a cloud-based, remote work in the past several years have learned a lot in that process. They have valuable lessons to share on how you can build collaborative distributed teams using RingCentral’s solutions.

Using video tools to build a sense of team among agents

Your remote employees might live hundreds, even thousands of miles apart. The geographical distance between them means that team-building efforts are even more important than usual. That’s why many contact centers use regular video meetings as a tool for building a sense of team among work-at-home agents.

Some managers, for instance, use morning calls to inform teams on major events in the company. Also, agents are encouraged to share their success stories during these morning sessions and help their colleagues improve as well. And supervisors can connect with agents by having periodic, one-on-one video chats.

Improved communication will ensure that employees feel as valued team members, which results in contact centers running more smoothly and efficiently.

Connecting agents and experts

Tools such as the RingCentral team messaging app can further improve collaboration between remote agents. File sharing, task tracking, screen sharing, calendar syncing, and team messaging are all integrated into one solution that makes teams more productive and connected. The seamless collaboration will help your agents solve customer requests faster.

But a single employee can’t possibly have all the answers customers need. That’s why today’s advanced cloud contact center solutions enable agents to reach out to experts in other departments and regions. By tapping into internal experts in real-time, workers can answer even the toughest questions and provide customers with exceptional support.

Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance distribution company, has been particularly successful in connecting its call center agents with relevant experts. It has set up region-specific teams through messaging capabilities to assist remote employees and staff at the home office. Experts with the right regional knowledge can be easily reached, helping teams to better serve customers and support local agents. RingCentral team messaging ensures communications run smoothly and the geographically scattered workforce feels more like a team.

Many benefits of cloud-powered collaboration

Using cloud technologies to make distributed contact centers more collaborative leads to multiple benefits. Agents have vital information at their fingerprints and are thus more productive, while junior employees can get up to speed faster by receiving support from supervisors and other colleagues. Collaboration also enables agents to connect with subject experts in real-time and improve a first contact resolution rate. And by communicating more frequently with other team members, agents become more satisfied. Happy employees lead to happy customers, which eventually helps the company grow its business and provide ever better products and services.

Achieving these benefits depends on choosing a relevant cloud contact center solution. RingCentral’s products are already trusted by thousands of companies and can also help you in setting up a collaborative working environment.

Remote work is becoming increasingly popular and deploying an effective cloud based CC and UC system will future-proof your contact center team and ensure that you can support customers no matter what type of adverse events hit the global economy.

Download this checklist on managing work-from-home contact center agents to learn more about our offering.

Originally published Apr 30, 2020, updated Jun 25, 2024

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