One of the questions I’m frequently asked is how do we manage people in a virtual call center? Can you really manage a person when you cannot see what they are doing? The answer is emphatically yes. However, it takes a mind shift toward progressive staffing and a change in how you view projects, deliverables and customer service.
The idea that seeing an individual ensures they are more productive is simply not true. The deciding factor is an individual’s attitude, focus and desire to perform. This level of commitment is based in the emotional intelligence of that person, not the fact that they are being monitored. These types of individuals will perform no matter where they are or the type of environment – virtual or brick and mortar. However, they will perform better in an environment that promotes trust, provides support and fulfills a strong desire, such as flexibility.
The most important aspect of a virtual call center, or any kind of work setting, is to hire the best people, and then manage the processes. Often we see companies where employees are held accountable for poor processes and communication. Even the very best person will struggle in a company that lacks focused processes.
Creating strong procedures begins at the leadership level of an organization and is then distributed throughout the ranks. It is not enough to say you have a process. It must be well-documented and distributed throughout the company. A focus on developing processes that support the values of an organization, such as excellent customer service, immediately improves the productivity.
Once the process is documented, a system to ensure full-circle communication is critical to success. Processes will require altering to best fit the intended outcome; therefore, implementing series of feedback touch points regarding the results of executing the process will ensure that improvement.
Intelligent Workload Distribution
Finally, when working in a virtual call center, or any remote work environment, segmenting the work so that it can be easily distributed, managed and tracked is critical. This is known as Intelligent Workload Distribution (IWD) and is key to successful outcomes. Utilizing applications specifically for IWD provides real-time monitoring and reporting of all agent activity. IWD also redistributes tasks based on an agent’s activity level, leading to increased productivity and improved customer service.
By focusing efforts on creating excellent processes, you uncover challenges that cause issues in productivity or customer service. Additionally, you have an opportunity to streamline areas such as communication between departments, escalation paths, and productivity of agents, increasing revenue and improving the customer experience.
The ability for high-caliber agents to work remotely is available and easily supported with existing technology. These agents do not require monitoring to succeed. They require an environment that empowers them. Hire the right agents, then implement excellent processes and systems such as IWD, and you have a recipe for continued success.