Published: July 15, 2020 | Comments
Before widespread work-from-home policies, many service organizations were considering distributed contact centers. They provide flexibility for agents, create the ability to span a workforce across geographies, and reduce overhead costs. Now, as service teams adapt to the long-term ways of working through the pandemic, distributed contact centers are here to stay.
Managing remote service teams takes the right tools to open the lines of communication, foster collaboration, and increase agent productivity. This article uncovers the four ways service leaders can set their teams up for success from virtually anywhere.
1. Create virtual training programs for managers and agents
Institute a training program that teaches — or, in some cases, reinforces — best practices for managing remote teams. Provide the basics on how to motivate agents virtually. Offer coaching tips and techniques. Teach managers how to spot dips in performance and suggest ways to correct the trend. You can set up a training program easily with on-demand, customizable digital learning platforms like MyTrailhead.
Use the same platform for an interactive, gamified approach to onboarding and training. Fine-tune soft skills, such as communication style and listening — a Salesforce consumer survey found that 70% of Americans say that companies that show empathy and care during this time earn their loyalty. Get agents up to speed on new processes, too, like how to schedule delayed service calls to repair equipment.
2. Invest in virtual collaboration tools
When your team is apart, you have to emphasize communication and collaboration even more. Agents can’t simply swivel their chairs to ask someone nearby for support.
Implement video conferencing such as Google Meet to keep everyone connected. Set a regular cadence for team meetings (for example, once a week) as a way to catch up. Send any documents ahead of time and follow up with any relevant notes afterward. Encourage managers to offer virtual office hours and schedule one-on-one time with agents who want to discuss questions or concerns.
Create shared documents to reduce meetings and keep projects on track. Quip is a great resource for collaboration in real time. It provides easy-to-use templates that can be embedded with Salesforce data and internal records and processes.
Last, but certainly not least, find ways to keep everyone connected. Community forums offer a place for agents to ask questions and get answers and access knowledge articles. Enterprise social networks like Chatter give agents a forum to share quick tips, virtual high-fives, and even a little part of themselves, including their work-from-home setups or pet photos.
3. Coach and motivate agents from anywhere
Out of sight cannot mean out of mind. Consider creating digital leaderboards, visible to all agents, to track goal performance. Add incentives such as gift cards or the ability to pick your own shift to make it fun.
At the same time, use intelligent analytics to track performance. If managers see a performance issue, they can easily jump in to help. Encourage managers to coach agents through digital chat or a phone conversation for in-the-moment support. Or schedule time with agents afterward.
4. Prioritize employee well being
This is a unique time for everyone. Survey agents to see how they are feeling. You can use these insights to better understand employee satisfaction and wellness. Make it a priority to check in with team members each week, even if it’s just a quick hello, to mitigate any potential feelings of isolation.
Some agents may be parents or caretakers. Whenever possible, make your schedules flexible to accommodate their needs. Consider compiling wellness resources, too, like mindfulness tips or easy and healthy recipes. This shows that you care about your team’s wellbeing.
Empower your service team
With the right tools, setup, and support, it doesn’t matter whether your team is inside or outside of your physical contact center. Agents feel supported and connected. As a result, they deliver the best service experiences to customers.
For a deeper dive into how to manage service teams and prepare for the new way of working, read How You Work Inside and Outside of Your Contact Center in The Service Leader’s Guide to Resiliency by Salesforce.