By now, three years after the start of the pandemic that forced everyone to work from home, there are two things that are clear about remote work. One is that it is here to stay, at least in some capacity. And two is that there are ways to establish a remote working environment that encourage productivity, accountability, and employee satisfaction and other ways that lead to disappointing outcomes and unmet goals. Here, we’re discussing three of the clear keys to a successful remote working environment for call center agents.
- Clear and Effective Communication
Communication is so critical in every single working environment, but the second you spread your employees across locations or even time zones it becomes more essential than ever. Simply put, everyone must be on the same page at all times regarding expectations, best practices and availability. Unclear communication of expectations and goals is the primary driver of disappointing outcomes, as well as the easiest scapegoat for agents to blame for said outcomes. Clear communication can take different forms depending on what works best for your team. If your entire team is working the same hours, perhaps you hold a weekly meeting where you outline goals and expectations for the week. If this isn’t possible, perhaps you have a central message board or messaging system where you spell out goals and reminders that your team members can access at a time that’s most convenient for them.
Hand in hand with effective communication moving in the supervisor-to-agent direction is clear communication from agents. Agents must know when they are expected to be available to speak with team members and supervisors—and if they won’t be available for whatever reason, they must know how to communicate that fact effectively. Finally, supervisors and agents alike must be committed to maintaining clear avenues of communication. It doesn’t matter how many updates a supervisor is posting if an agent chooses not to read them. The responsibility is a shared one that everyone must carry.
When people first started working remotely, it was likely hard for many managers and supervisors to wrap their heads around the fact that they wouldn’t be able to pop out of their office at any given moment to check on their agents. Indeed, even if supervisors require remote agents to be available to chat at all times, it’s impossible to know what they are doing for every minute of the day. This is where trust comes in.
While the results of establishing trust are slightly less tangible than those of creating clear communication protocols, their effects are just as far-reaching. Employees who know they have the trust of their managers take more pride in their work and their productivity than those who feel like they are being watched or second-guessed. Managers who trust their employees feel less stress and anxiety and more confidence in their team—plus they spend less time monitoring and micromanaging and more time on other important tasks. Finally, agents who work in an environment built on trust are more likely to succeed and stay at their jobs for longer.
- Evidence-Based Feedback
Conducting performance reviews and trainings and offering critical feedback to agents can be tricky in remote working environments. After all, agents have the built-in excuse that their manager wasn’t there and didn’t see what really happened. This is why managers and supervisors of teams who work remotely need to take a slightly different approach to offering feedback, grounding everything in data and specific examples of how an agent performed. This is one of the many reasons that a call center platform that effectively collects and stores data on calls and agent performance is so critical, as it allows managers to offer concrete feedback that is difficult for agents to refute and easy for agents to apply going forward.
CallShaper’s built-in analytics and quality assurance mechanisms are just one of the ways the cloud-based software supports a successful remote working environment. To learn more about the others, contact us today.