As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many call centers have gone remote. This is the perfect time to add more remote contract call center agents to your team. Virtually everyone is at home social distancing and this has caused a spike in call center volume worldwide. Callers are now calling instead of visiting physical locations due to COVID-19 shutdowns and more sales calls are being answered.
Thousands of able voiced Americans are currently unemployed, and seeking work-from-home opportunities right now in the midst of this crisis as unemployment numbers continue to rise. Finding and hiring highly-skilled domestic call center agents who are willing to work remotely presents a new opportunity to staff your call center.
The remote call center agent model is a proven-effective way to staff your call center with skilled telephone workers. It’s also one of the best and most cost-effective methods for addressing your call center’s staffing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So if you’re wondering how to manage a remote call center team, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we present best practices for adding remote contract call center agents to your team and managing a remote call center team.
- Invest your time in hiring work-at-home ready agents. Invest your time and resources into hiring and training the agents most likely to work from home effectively. These call center agents should be highly motivated, self-starters, with a proven track record of independent work and of course must satisfy all competency and skill requirements for the position. They should also be tech savvy, already have Microsoft Windows PC and if required be able to follow simple troubleshooting instructions.
- Implement a WFH trial period. Establish a three-month trial period for new remote call center agents allowing you to ascertain how your new hires are performing. Make it clear when hiring your remote worker that any paperwork, employee handbook, etc. reflects all HR policies unique to remote workers. It is important to get the human resources and legal department involved when relaying information to remote employees.
- Translate your in-person training program into an online training program. Because your agents are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing poses a challenge to face-to-face training. Instead, implementing an online training program that delivers all of the information they need to succeed. Regardless of the training tools used, please make sure to test your new employee’s knowledge and retention because body language and other interpersonal cues will not be visible.
Make sure that you are giving your remote employees the same mentoring, coaching and other opportunities available to on-premises employees. If, for example, you would typically assign new call center agents to “listen to an experienced agent”, make sure you give the same opportunity to remote call center agents. ChaseData’s monitoring function allows agents to not only listen but also to view the desktop of the experienced agent. Also, make sure that supervisors, trainers and managers are available to interact with remote employees following the training.
- Access lower cost U.S. labor markets. Engage Human Resources and your payroll provider before hiring out of state and in some instances out of metro area. Your business is currently accustomed to your local and state labor laws. However, hiring out of state may present new considerations that may impact overtime, taxes, etc. These are challenges however are more than offset by gaining access to a broader, more often less expensive domestic labor market.
- Include remote agents in team meetings. Whether your team is working remotely because of COVID-19 or any other reason, it is crucial that you include remote employees in your team meetings and activities. Make sure to host team meetings to keep your employees connected. You should also regularly have team bonding activities to promote a sense of connectedness or team spirit for your entire staff.