Workforce Management Helps Build a Remote Call Center Workforce
The idea of the traditional call center or customer support center often brings to mind a large room full of rows of desks full of headset-wearing agents all engaged on the telephone with customers. In this image, a watchful manager and supervisors often roam the aisles, keeping an eye on agents and listening to their performance.
While this scenario may still happen, contact center agents today are just as likely to be located miles – sometimes thousands of them – away from the boss and coworkers. Agents may work from their home offices or a company’s remote offices. They might work for third-party companies. They might even be on the road using a mobile device, in the case of some subject matter experts or technicians.
Employee location aside, workforce management (WFM) is just as critical today as it was 20 years ago. (Perhaps even more so, since WFM can do so much more today). Today’s cloud-based workforce management solutions are ideal for remote workers, since they can be deployed widely and used by anyone with Internet access.
To keep workforce cohesion high, managers will have to make a little extra effort with remote staff to build the kind of relationships they can have with on-premises agents easily.
Use a collaborative communication solution. Whether it’s contact between managers and individual agents or teams of agents, consider using an easy messaging and collaboration solution that can allow for frequent contact, knowledge sharing and fostering a sense of teamwork.
Choose centralized, cloud-based workforce management. Even if you can’t see all the staff members in the contact center themselves, you can see their log-ins, their current work activity and their log-offs, according to a recent blog post for the website Workawesome.
“This provides an extra layer of accountability for your remote workers, and can help you keep track of their movements and activity when they’re on-the-go,” wrote the blogger. “This is also a useful system if a member of staff were to fall ill mid-shift, or find themselves stuck in traffic – if their activity is logged, stand-in staff can see exactly where they’re up to and what is still left to be done.”
Be sure to create goals and targets for remote agents. This is even more important when agents are not in the physical office. This is where a good performance management solution should be paired with your workforce management system.
“Even though staff are out there on their own, they still need performance targets and goals to help them move forwards and progress,” wrote the Workawesome blogger. “Some remote workforce managers don’t feel the need to set their staff goals or measure their progress – but this can lead to employees becoming disengaged at work. Arrange a meeting with your remote workers and agree on a set of metrics you can measure over the long-term. This will keep your remote staff on track and give them plenty to aim for.”
A remote-agent model can save a company a lot of money, eliminating the need for many capital expenditures. What you don’t want your lack of physically present agents to do, however, is alienate customers because they lack cohesion with the workforce. Rely on technology to maintain those connections that agents require to remain engaged with their jobs.
Edited by Alicia Young