Companies all around the world are encouraging remote work, especially after the coronavirus pandemic started. 74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees to remote working permanently after the pandemic.
However, this has affected the way call centers operate. From enabling remote work to ensuring customer satisfaction doesn’t decline and maintaining compliance standards, contact centers have had to reconsider their workflows.
At the same time, call centers are struggling to engage their agents and coach them effectively.
Here are some strategies that we found to be effective in coaching and engaging remote agents.
4 Ways to Engage Remote Call Center Agents
Improve Communication With Remote Employees
The best way to keep your call center agents working from home engaged is by regularly communicating with them.
You can improve communication with remote agents by:
- Invest in instant messaging platforms, such as Slack, to stay connected with the team all the time.
- Host video calls once every week with the team.
- Frequently check your agents with questions, like “do you need any help,” “how is everything going today?” etc.
- Encourage all your agents to share their challenges with the team so that everyone can discuss possible solutions.
Recognize Their Efforts
When you appreciate your agent’s hard work, it not only boosts their morale but also encourages them to give their best every time they are on a call. Don’t believe me? Here is a statistic to prove my point.
Remember, recognition is not only about rewards. Recognition is also about appreciating the agent in front of the team (in this case, via email or during team call), sending a personalized card, and giving a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Host Team Building Exercises
Coffee breaks, snacks break, and team lunch gives your agents time to engage with themselves and know each other better. However, with remote work, that sense of “togetherness” is lost somewhere.
But the good thing is you can bring back the sense of togetherness with team-building exercises.
- Play some virtual games together. You can even play multiplayer online games with the team.
- Exercise together in video conferencing. Exercise is known to improve productivity and reduce depression.
- Create a virtual lunchroom, so your employees can chat with their colleagues while eating.
Respect Boundaries Around Working
When working as a call center agent, there’s always one more call to handle. And when your personal and work life are under the same roof, it’s difficult to manage work-life balance. According to a study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their in-office counterparts.
This time is already stressful enough even without additional work outside the normal business hours. Some of your employees may have partners who have lost their job or a corona-positive family member or are frustrated with the stay-at-home environment.
Therefore, it is essential to give your agents the personal space they need. Encourage and allow for part-time off if your employees need to spend time with their families. This will make them feel valued, thereby keeping them engaged and motivated.
Best Practices for Training Call Center Agents Remotely
Implement Peer Coaching
Peer coaching refers to identifying the top performers and letting them hold group training or 1:1 virtual coaching. This helps boost the top performers’ morale and enables agents struggling to learn call handling best practices.
Another benefit of peer coaching is that it helps strengthen the relationship between agents. When they coach each other, they will be more comfortable to ask questions.
However, to successfully implement peer coaching, you will need a call center software that allows call monitoring and barging. This will help your best agents monitor and barge into calls in real-time to solve your customers’ queries better.
Create eLearning Content
eLearning content provides your agents access to training materials 24/7. Another benefit of eLearning content is that you enable your agents to take charge of their development and how they help your customers. You can even sign up for online call center coaching programs.
Here are some tips for creating excellent eLearning content:
- Ensure your agents have complete information about your products and services.
- Create detailed checklists and how-to guides that your agents can refer to anytime.
- Offer screenshots with voice-over examples for answering common queries.
- Provide call handling best practices to ensure your agents comply with business standards.
Document Scenario-Based Training
Scenario-based training is yet another great way to coach call center agents remotely. In scenario-based training, you give your agents a guide that contains various scenarios. Advisors can then use this guide to respond to customers’ queries successfully.
When documenting scenario-based training include:
- A list of common scenarios that your agents are more likely to face.
- Scripts and call flow that highlight what the agents ask say, and do for each scenario.
Make sure to update the document consisting of scenarios as new situations arise.
Monitor, Evaluate, and Give Feedback
When agents are not in the office, it could get challenging to evaluate their performance. But, with cloud based contact center software, you can effectively monitor customer satisfaction scores.
Then, provide timely feedback so your agents can adjust their approach accordingly. Also, keep an eye on learning or knowledge gaps. And then modify eLearning content to fill them.
Continually monitoring your agents’ performance will also help identify common issues affecting it (e.g., new environment, lack of necessary resources, etc.).
As expectations for exceptional customer service increase, call centers must keep their agents engaged and train them to meet their customers’ demands effectively. The eight tips mentioned above will help you improve engagement with remote employees and coach them efficiently.
Did we miss any crucial tips to keep remote call center agents engaged and coached? Let us know in the comments.