Keeping the productivity level the same between your on-site team versus your work-from-home team can be challenging. The need of real-time supervision, the abundance of distractions at home, and being socially isolated can affect the performance of an agent.
Below we have essential elements you should consider for a remote call center operation; your agents should have the right tools in place, with appropriate supervision level and secure communication systems.
Here are some tips on what you can do for each of these elements:
First, before hiring or sending an agent to work-form-home, you need to make sure they have space and tools required to work in this modality. Some of the must-have things are:
- Quiet and private room at their house, where they can work without distraction and loud background noises.
- Stable high-speed internet connection.
- A computer with the right features to be able to perform the activities they need. • Software tools to keep communication and control of their operations. Having the right set-up will reduce problems and increase quality on their calls.
Additional advice: You can provide them a start-up package with the training access and guides to teach them how to use the tools the company offers and the contact information and instructions to request support.
For a work-from-home agent team, daily guidance is critical. You need to keep them focused on their goals to avoid distractions and remind them you are there for them if they need something.
Schedule daily check-ins via video call (preferably if possible), phone call, or chat where the supervisor can set the priorities, follow up on their performance and activities, and establish daily goals. You can create a daily checklist of activities or use task management tools, so the agents know what to do on their day-to-day and give them a sense of achievement. These can help to reduce distractions and increase their motivation and performance.
Providing support on time is critical for your remote agents. They aren't physically close to your support departments, such as IT, HR, Finance, etc., it is your responsibility to get them closer to their help. It is evident that if they have a problem with their computer or software and IT doesn't support them rapidly; this will affect their performance. Moreover, if they need a letter from HR or need to fix something about their payment with payroll, for example. They will probably need to go to your center, call several numbers or wait for transfers because they don't even have a number, email, or even a name of a person who can help them; this is lost time and stress for your agents. Make sure to have your departments ready to support your remote operation and that your work-from-home teams know how you can help them.
You can build a support site for them or give them a contact list sheet with the procedures for anything they may need.
Many times, we have talked about agent motivation and things you can do to have a great work environment and keep agents happy. But when we talk about the work environment, we always think in our on-site operation and come up with ideas such as organizing celebrations, bringing donuts for everyone, theme day, contests, massages, motivational talks, and more. Still, when it comes to work-from-home agents, it just seems to be impossible to do all those things. It doesn't have to!
To create a healthy and happy work environment for your remote operation, you can organize group video or phone calls for casual conversations; there are platforms to play with others online you can use for your team. Another idea is to turn theme days into a contest, where they send their pictures and choose the best outfit. Make video conferences about a relevant topics such as leadership, teamwork, etc. Remind them to use their breaks, to eat healthily, be self-conscious about their posture and exercise, health also affects their performance.
One last thing, make them feel part of the company! Build a community within your company and include your remote agents. A recommendation we can give you is creating an online group where they can share their thoughts, experiences, and memes (always keeping an environment of respect).
Find other creative ways you can do to keep them connected with the company. For example, at CCSI, we have a daily podcast where employees can share a positive message to all; we mention their birthdays, share some jokes, and play a song request.
If you are looking to expand your contact center operation with work-from-home agents, you can partner with a company that has the right infrastructure, procedures, and experience. Call Center Services International has expertise in a WFH agent model that is successfully servicing North American Clients. We have technology tools to make the WFH model plug & play. Our platform allows you to have operational & security control and real-time monitoring of productivity & performance objectives.
If you are interested, contact us we'd love to talk to you!