Like many businesses, call centers have experienced significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — and we imagine yours is no different. By now, you’ve successfully set up a remote call center and your agents have learned to manage spikes in call volumes. But your customers and leads have rolled with the times, too, and they expect to see businesses at the top of their game.
While remote call center management isn’t always a walk in the park, there’s plenty of opportunity beneath the challenges. As you gear up to take on new targets, we’ll guide you through the factors that are continuing to shape call center operations and give you the tips you need to help agents connect and close from home.
A new working model brings new challenges
The home office is a far cry from the call center floor, with dozens of agents dialing and working collaboratively within arm’s reach. But until your team can work safely from a shared space, remote work is here to stay — which brings about a number of new challenges.
Accounting for unique work environments
You’re no longer managing a call center team in one secure environment with standardized computers, devices, headsets, and network connections. In a distributed setup, encouraging your agents to work at their best means supporting their local connections and personal devices, which may introduce security risks.
Investing in the right technology
The shift to a virtual workplace has brought to light how much more call centers can do with the right technologies; cloud-based communication, automation, and digital channel support help to better connect your agents to each other and to customers. At their best, call center tools should create efficiencies, cut out redundant tasks, and simplify complicated processes — which is exactly the kind of support your agents need.
Getting the best out of remote work
Keeping your agents on track and in high spirits can be more difficult from a distance, and depending on the industries and customers you deal with, guaranteeing compliance could be tricky. Industry regulations like the GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and CCPA are just as important when handling customer data remotely, so you need to make sure your reps understand and stick by their regulatory responsibilities.
Figuring out how to best manage a call center team is key to rising above these challenges. By taking the following tips on board, you’ll give your agents the tools and mentorship they need to dial smarter and faster.
6 ways to manage and support remote call center agents
At this point, you and your reps have hopefully enjoyed some of the upsides of working remotely — whether your team’s gained a better work-life balance or achieved greater productivity. To keep the wins coming, motivate your agents with clear direction.
1. Update your training program and sales playbook
Whether you’re taking on new agents or upskilling current team members, training is essential to turn your reps into rockstars. Call center software offers far more than just dialing, so help everyone understand how to use your systems’ features to improve call quality, quantity, and outcomes.
New agents can benefit from taking training calls with an experienced guide from the team, but your existing reps also need to be clear on how you’ll manage them remotely. Are you encouraging any new sales strategies during the pandemic? Have your business objectives changed at all? Does everyone know their KPIs and compliance procedures? Clearly define and communicate what you expect from your agents to set them up for success.
2. Make communication open and easy
Without the buzz of the office floor, it’s essential that you make the most of virtual channels. Video conferencing on a regular basis is one way for your agents to build relationships, share updates, and engage with team initiatives. Instant messaging platforms also help you and your team to collaborate in real time. Taking these steps will encourage your agents to connect as a team, but it’s also important to make space for your reps individually, so set up regular check-ins to chat with each rep in more detail.
Having a cloud-based system like ReadyMode makes remote communication easy — our built-in webphone and instant messenger create easy connections between you and your agents, whether you’re sending out quick messages or hosting conference calls. Our Live Floor Monitoring feature lets you whisper to agents while they’re on calls, helping you steer them through tricky situations. In addition, you can share unlimited appointment queues with your agents that sync to Google Calendar, making it simple and inviting to arrange talk time.
3. Trust your analytics — and act on them
One thing that hasn’t changed about this business: your call center is collecting data by the second, and it’s the best window you have into how your agents are doing. Set aside time to go over call logs, agent activity, and KPI reports so you know where your reps are. By doing this consistently, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to train and mentor each agent, when to adjust targets, and how to spot and resolve any performance issues.
When it comes to analytics, we’ve got you covered. ReadyMode’s system features detailed reporting, stats, and analytics for agents, calls, campaigns, and more. Even from far away, you’ll never miss a beat.
4. Automate as much as possible
The more time your reps spend on manual admin tasks, the less time they have to chase leads and close sales. If there’s anything you can do to make your agents’ lives easier, it’s to implement a remote call center management system with automated features. Leaving the likes of data entry to the machines lets your people focus on what they do best — and they’ll appreciate having fewer tedious tasks on their plate.
ReadyMode lets your agents get ahead with automated dialing lists and emails that send reports to administrators. Our system also loads leads automatically from third-party vendors and your own lead gen source, and you can create dynamic sales scripts that include auto-generated lead data. The result? Less agent downtime.
5. Turn sales into a game
Some of your reps might find working from home isolating compared to office life, so it’s important to keep your team’s spirits running high. Gamifying your sales cycle can fire up your agents to work their magic on the phones, knowing there’s a reward at the end for driving the highest quality customer interactions, converting the most leads, or going above and beyond their targets. Sales is a competitive business, and leaning into that can really pay off.
Investing in a gamification program can make your agents happier and more productive. While you can use agent analytics to see who’s on top of the leaderboard, a dialer’s API connectivity may help you take a more engaging approach by integrating with some gamification solutions.
6. Monitor call quality and compliance
We know you want to see your agents keep pace with their KPIs, but what counts the most is that your customers get quality service. Monitoring calls for quality and compliance helps you ensure that your agents are on top form, providing value with each interaction and doing their due diligence.
When it comes to compliance, our DNC features give your agents a head start — you can easily import, export, filter, and edit your DNC list and set custom filters for comprehensive telemarketing compliance. Beyond that, our call logs can help you determine whether agents are following industry regulations and sticking to the sales playbook (or if it needs any tweaks), and whether leads and customers are ending each call better off than before.
ReadyMode gives you the ideal system for remote call center management, with all the features you need to help agents keep the dollars dialing in, no matter where they’re working from. But don’t just take our word for it — get in touch with our team and see what a demo can do for you.
Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock Inc.
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