Remote Agents: Making That System Work With Workforce Management

Ten years ago, the concept of a telecommuting workforce was just starting to gain acceptance. But we’ve seen a sizable shift away from centralized workplaces since then. It wouldn’t work for every type of company, but for contact centers? If the job is answering phones or responding to emails, there is nothing that prevents a qualified employee from doing that from his or her family room.

The benefits of work from home customer service are obvious: in the current economy, when there are more job openings than applicants, the option of working from home will appeal to those who have a choice between companies offering positions.

When hiring, look for agents that have experience with a telecommuting arrangement, that are born self-starters, and that are independent enough to be trusted on their own. It’s also important to keep a sense of inclusion with the company’s goals. These are still team members, so they should be able to attend meetings onsite when necessary, participate in all coaching and training programs, and communicate with other agents to answer questions or solve problems.

Telecommuting also works only if agents can do everything at home that they can do in the office. A cloud-based workforce management solution makes that possible. With it, you will always know that your agents are working with the current software versions, as with the cloud they are uploaded automatically (and at no cost) upon availability.

Managers can access real-time and historic reporting so they will always be aware of current activity no matter where it is taking place. And remote agents can have their calls recorded and monitored for future training purposes.

The key is communication. As you begin your transition into a partially or fully virtual workplace, make certain there is an end-to-end communication plan in place so that agents have the knowledge, the tools and the guidance they need to deliver outstanding customer service, wherever they may be.

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