Most people working from home are able to maintain their productivity levels – according to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2021 report, 83 percent of remote workers are at the same productivity level or higher. But for remote customer service agents, staying focused, engaged, and productive is not just good for business. It’s critical. The new normal is not the time for customer experience (CX) to slip.
Nearly three-quarters of customer experience leaders report record-high service requests since the pandemic. Also, shifting consumer trends indicate that companies will have to elevate CX to stay competitive. People are spending less on unnecessary items and being more conscious about where they spend their money – which means customer service can be the differentiator that drives loyalty. At the same time, they are leaning on customer service channels more than ever with the surge in ecommerce and digital experiences.
The bottom line is that customer service agents will continue to play a key role in ensuring a great customer experience and driving business growth. Let’s look at how you can help your remote agents stay productive so your business can stay ahead amidst the changes of the post-pandemic era.
1. Provide Tools to Encourage Productivity
Remote agents need communications tools that have the features they need to work efficiently. Here are the tools your remote customer service teams will need:
- Cloud-based contact center software with advanced features like smart routing and in-depth feedback from interaction analytics.
- A unified communications platform for internal communications and collaboration. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based application that offers remote teams chat, video conferencing, secure email and file sharing, and more. Ideally, your communications software integrates with your contact center solution for better data visibility and seamless interactions between staff.
- A task management tool to help your agents stay organized. Tools like Trello, Asana, and Monday.com make it easier for everyone to stay on the same page regarding ongoing tasks and goals.
2. Create Structure Within a Flexible Schedule
Your remote customer service agents should have some flexibility in their schedules to revolve their workdays around their unique needs. But creating structure with routine virtual meetings or other forms of communication can help agents stay on track.
For example, use brief morning update meetings or internal emails to go over tasks for the day and performance goals. Weekly review meetings can be helpful for seeing where targets are being met and creating goals for the week ahead.
3. Train Your Agents to Learn Customer Needs
Sometimes taking more time upfront can save time in the end. When your agents feel empowered to listen to the customer, learn their needs, and then provide a solution, they can provide a better experience for customers and hit those key performance indicators all contact centers aim for, like better first-call resolution rates and higher service level feedback.
Asking the customer questions and learning about their needs can also help agents make better (and faster) decisions on future calls.
4. Offer Regular Feedback Sessions with Each Remote Agent
When agents aren’t working together in the office, managers don’t have the opportunity to provide regular feedback. If a remote customer service agent isn’t getting the feedback they need to perform, they could waste time making the same mistakes repeatedly.
Help your agents stay productive by giving them the insights they need to work more effectively. You can do this through regularly scheduled performance review meetings or your contact center software.
Intermedia Contact Center has a built-in Evaluator Tool that enables managers to evaluate conversations and provide detailed feedback to agents. The feedback can be sent through the system, so there’s no need to schedule virtual meetings every time a customer service manager has input for an agent. You can also create customized evaluation templates to stay focused on your agents’ unique workflows.
5. Ask Your Agents What They Need to Be Productive
You can provide a nice balance between structure and flexibility, cutting-edge communication and productivity tools, excellent training, the thorough feedback, and still have productivity issues if you don’t ask your remote agents what they need.
Remote customer service agents have a lot on their shoulders – they are one of the most important CX layers. If they aren’t successful, the business can lose customers and spend more money trying to attract new buyers and ensure loyalty.
So make sure they have what they need to be productive. Ask your agents if they need better remote office equipment, help creating a quiet workspace in their home, or more training and guidance. Invite their feedback on processes, scheduling, and performance expectations.
The more supported they feel the more productive they can be.
Unlock Your Customer Service Teams’ Productivity with the Right Software
The first step to helping your remote customer agents be more productive is arming them with the right tools. With software that helps them provide the best experience possible for customers, communicate with each other to resolve issues, and get the feedback they need, they can work more effectively.
Intermedia Unite and Intermedia Contact Center enable remote teams to stay engaged, connected, and productive. These platforms also talk to each other and integrate with common business applications, which can help you streamline workflows for your remote employees even further. Learn more about what Intermedia can do to enable successful remote and hybrid work.