The landscape of call centers has been making drastic changes in recent months. With limited access to physical offices, remote work has become the default option for many businesses around the world. But while working remotely is the obvious solution, transitioning to off-premise call centers presents its own set of challenges.
This guide to successful call center management provides tips to handle remote team members while providing satisfactory service to customers.
Overview of the Call Center Industry
Traditionally, call centers were brick-and-mortar offices where teams fulfilled essential company functions like handling customer orders, questions, and complaints. The past few years, however, saw the rising trend of virtual call center agents.
With the advent of COVID-19, this trend has been fast-tracked to become the norm.
Effects of COVID-19
The global pandemic has greatly affected the industry. In many instances, the skyrocketing number of phone calls far exceeds the current capacity of skeletal and virtual teams. Providing even just average customer support can be challenging.
The exponential increase in call volume has caused a number of urgent issues. Excessive wait times, higher average hold time and disconnects, and frustrated customers are some problems a call center manager faces today.
The solution is virtual work. A remote call center provides the same customer service functions but utilizes teams of agents who work from home or co-working spaces. A remote call center also uses cloud-based contact center solutions to interact with customers and other team members.
Features such as SIP Trunking allow agents to reach customers via phone for inbound and outbound marketing. For managers, this feature can also be used for call center scheduling and agent performance monitoring.
One of the biggest advantages of remote work is the potential to hire the best talent from any part of the world. The reduced overhead to running an office location also offers significant cost savings to companies.
Virtual Time Keeping
Tracking agent time and making sure they are productive is especially crucial in a remote setting. Timekeeping ensures that agents are actively on-task during their scheduled work hours.
There are instances when agents might clock in to get paid but do other activities like scroll social media first. Checking in daily to reduce these instances is the manager’s job.
How to Manage a Call Center Remotely
A call center manager is ultimately responsible for providing a good customer experience. To do this, you must actively manage and monitor all your agents on a day to day basis. If you see an agent struggling, take immediate action before the situation worsens and the quality of work dips.
Nevertheless, this does not translate to micromanaging. You can rely on call recordings and past interactions to get the information you need. If you find this insufficient, whisper coaching and silent listening can be used to guide your agents during interactions.
Video Conferencing Meetings
There are numerous ways to effectively manage a call center. For instance, video conferencing is the next best thing to in-person interactions. Video calls allow the team to meet in one place at the same time.
These meetings are also the ideal opportunity to set goals and demonstrate to others your role as a team leader.
Your leadership as a manager is critical in setting the tone of your company culture. By focusing on problem-solving, you show the team that they can rely on you for troubleshooting when the need arises.
Promoting Virtual Work Culture
Company culture is central in retaining agents and minimizing turnover rates. A company that values its employees fosters loyalty and a higher rate of productivity. Happy employees interact with customers better and can provide them with positive customer service experiences.
Also, if employees feel that their jobs are career paths to even better opportunities, then they will strive for customer satisfaction. Otherwise, employees who simply treat their job like a job have no incentive to do better
Remote Analytics and Reporting
If you want to know how to manage a call center properly, then you need to know about analytics and reporting. Use call logs to see how many calls each agent takes and the length of their interactions. This information can be used to gauge their performance and measure them against your own goals and standards.
The best call times and customer satisfaction scores are not the only metrics you should be following. If agents are not complying with regulations and standards, then your call center is not working at its peak performance.
Evaluate the processes your agents use when processing sensitive data. By checking call logs, you can see if you are following DNC list rules. This is necessary to prevent potential fines and litigation.
Key Metrics for Goal Management
When it comes to metrics, there are some that stand out. Average Call Abandonment Rate tells you about an agent’s productivity as a whole. If the average call abandonment rate is high, look more closely and determine why they are not able to get to customers in time.
Service Level is a metric that measures an agent’s productivity in real-time during calls. Simply said, it is the percentage of calls answered within a specific time that is measured in seconds. This metric allows you to see if agents move too quickly from one call to the next.
Another one critical way to measure an agent’s productivity is through the Average Handle Time (AHT) metric. This metric measures the average time from when the agent picks up the call until they disconnect it.
AHT can be tricky since a long handle time may mean they are struggling with customer requests. However, a short AHT can also mean that they are not able to offer any meaningful assistance. A quality assurance software can help you monitor call quality to ensure you have all your bases covered
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