Right now, your support team is either mostly or entirely remote. Agents can access the platform from any location and are fully capable of helping customers resolve issues. But what if you were used to having your entire team in one office and usually spoke to them in person.
How can you manage a dispersed team effectively when everyone is remote?
Use the Right Technology
Agents start work by signing in, but what other technology do they need? It’s important that they have access to tools they need to work successfully. Helping to resolve customer issues is their daily focus, but they also have emails to address, reports to analyze, and meetings to attend.
What tools and platforms will they need to complete that work too? A supervisor should have a complete understanding of which tools agents need and make sure that they have access to them all.
Use Workforce Management and Quality Management Solutions
Data is the best friend of a supervisor. Knowing the average length of support calls, possible bottlenecks, and the overall quality of support offered can have a large impact on support team goals. WFM and QM solutions can help optimize the support organization.
In fact, according to the 2020 State of Customer Experience report, half of all call center professionals said they are currently using Quality Management solutions to measure success.
A WFM solution will reveal trends and supervisors can adjust schedules to fit high and low times. QM tools provide more information about agent performance and reveal opportunities for training and improvement. These two solutions will help when scheduling and planning support strategies.
Stick to Schedules
When you work in an office, you know when the workday is over. When you leave work, you change mindsets. But when you work at home, it’s more difficult to make that mental switch.
Supervisors need to make sure that remote agents have dedicated work hours and that they create a division between work and personal time. While it might be helpful for agents to go beyond their work hours to answer a couple more support requests or answer email at night, it can create stress to always be connected. Make sure that agents know that their day is done after their shifts.
Schedule Regular Meetings and Feedback
Remote agents don’t get the same interaction with coworkers or supervisors. It’s important to help them feel like an active part of the team. Aside from weekly meetings, supervisors should schedule one-on-ones and feedback meetings with remote agents.
These feedback meetings don’t have to be between the supervisor and agent every time, have agents connect with one another, and foster a deeper team relationship.
Promote Mental Health
Since supervisors don’t have physical contact with remote agents, their window to communicate is through chats or video. Agents might feel the need to always be “on” during communication and conversation leading to a build-up of stress.
Create open communication with remote agents so that they can speak openly. If they’re frustrated about customer interactions, provide options to find a solution rather than force them to move right back into their queues.
Customer support can be frustrating and remote agents may not know how to address these feelings. Agents aren’t machines and their mental well-being is an important metric to track.
Manage Through Communication
The best way to manage remote agents is to keep an open line of communication. Supervisors can use WFM and QM solutions to monitor and track agent efficiency and gather data to provide helpful feedback, but that pales in giving agents the ability to speak to fellow agents and supervisors.
Remote agents are physically distanced from the team and may feel isolated from the start. Bring them into the team and provide the right structure so they can maintain the best work environment for themselves and continue to offer high-quality customer support.