Managing Virtual Call Center Agents
The increasing trend in remote work has created the modern profession of virtual call center agents. Just like agents in a traditional call center, virtual agents handle the same customer support or telesales tasks with the only difference that they work from home.
In a fast-paced, globalized business environment, it is an increasing asset to have such a remote work infrastructure. There are an increasing number of studies on the benefits of remote work, such as location and time flexibility, time saved due to the lack of commuting, and general employee well-being. Remote work is also beneficial for companies as it increases productivity and lowers operational costs. More importantly, as the current situation shows, it is essential for any business to be able to keep up business operations in times of uncertainty, such as mobility restrictions.
The most common concerns
There is a lot of discussion on how to work from home as a single employee, all the way from its psychological to its practical aspects. Go through your morning routine, get dressed as if you were going to the office. Have a comfortable, secured home office infrastructure, including a quiet place to sit, high speed internet, and an established place for video calls. However, managing an entire virtual workforce is a whole different question. How do you remotely manage your employees while keeping your KPI’s and your clients happy?
Some of the most common concerns for managers of virtual call center agents involve productivity, security, and communication. In terms of productivity, managerial concerns include the failure to properly oversee agents. Many feel that if they are not there to supervise their team, agents might go on breaks more often or expand their downtime. Alternatively, they might feel that they cannot oversee agent communications with customers or clients.
Adding to this is the issue of security. Many managers might feel concerned about how to ensure remote data security. What if agents log in to insecure public Wi-Fi or simply do not have a secure connection of their own? What if their laptop gets stolen?
Last, but not least, communication concerns might involve the possibility of decreased community and work morale due to the lack of one to one interactions and live contact. This might be to the detriment of effective team collaboration when needed.
So how do you go about managing your virtual agents?
Track activity remotely
While your agents might not be reporting to you in person, you can easily manage them remotely as long as you have the right technology and plan in place. As we have previously written about setting up the office for remote work, your agent activity can easily be tracked with remote, cloud-based systems. With features such as user state logs, you can keep track of agents’ states to find out, for example, when agents are on a call, use a broken code, login or out, or exceed the allowed break limit.
Real-time monitoring can also give you direct insight into ongoing agent conversations and call-whispering features will allow you to give feedback to an agent without the customer hearing. Using a cloud contact center, you can transfer agents between projects, or change the agents’ status from a distance.
Similarly, features, such as the user activity log can further help you in keeping your remote agents’ work on track. User activity enables you or the supervisor of your team to log daily updates, log-in requests and updates do not call registries.
Remotely meeting you KPI’s
Understanding your metrics and establishing your daily or weekly goals might seem like a headache when initially trying to set up the management of virtual call center agents. However, the KPI’s dashboard of cloud-based contact centers provides easily understandable numbers that you can follow in real-time. These statistics include quantifiable oversight, such as disposition, global and project-specific calls, inbound and outbound statistics.
VCC live provides all these features, needed to support virtual agents and their supervisors. Additionally, it is worth considering tools that further help team cooperation. These involve easily accessible video conferencing and team collaboration tools, such as Zoom or Slack. Such tools not only enable team collaboration, but can also provide a sense of social contact and connectedness, making agents feel that they can reach out if they need support.
What about data security?
Tracking your agents and keeping your KPI’s solved. But how do you get around to data security? How can you make sure that virtual agents follow data security protocols? Modern call center solutions have an answer for this. With the help of a secure VPN connection and cloud technology, you can set up a call center network that your employees can have access to in a safe manner. Additionally, features such as two-factor authentication prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. In the case of VCC Live, the data itself is stored in five various Global Data Centers with a 24/7 Security and Data team.
The bottom line? Although it might initially seem difficult, managing virtual call center agents has never been so easy. If you are confronted with the challenges of managing a virtual workforce, remember the variety of software you can use to track your agents remotely, keep your KPI’s, and secure data. With the right technology, you can observe the full benefits of remote work in an effective and safe manner.