We are all in unprecedented times, and that has caused the economy to resort to unusual measures. With everyone needing to work from home, there are pros and cons. Of course, the most significant advantage is that we have all reduced our outgoings on business expenditure. However, the most substantial downside is that we have a lot less accountability for what people like call center agents are doing. That is why, in this article, we will run through some of the things that you can do with coaching call center agents from home.
You may well have read our article titled Training tips, and if you haven’t, that is undoubtedly a great place to start. However, as I have already mentioned, things are different now. That means that we need to look at training differently, too. Although the basic principles of coaching remain the same, it is the method of delivery that must differ.
As we have just mentioned, so long as you have the telephone systems set up correctly, most of the training points are going to be the same. The customer still expects the same level of customer satisfaction, so the agent still needs to deliver it. The question really lies in the way that you keep on top of the agents and their work, not the way you coach them. So, what can you do to help with this issue? Well, we will give you our top five tips for keeping standards high while we work from home.
One of the best ways that you can keep your training as planned is to have conference calls or online video calls. Many companies have now turned to use Microsoft Teams as the primary means of communication. The reason for that is pretty simple, it is free to use, accessible to everyone with a PC, easy to set up, and you can have different “teams” for different sections of your workplace. Furthermore, you can use it for instant messaging in the same way as text messages or your usual dashboard.
Furthermore, using the chat option will allow the team members to talk between themselves. While that is not always good for productivity, if you use it correctly, it can help the team stay connected. That will allow them to keep their connection as a team.
Of course, with the Call Criteria dashboard, you can use all of the usual features that you have access to. That is, providing that you have the required security access from your company. However, the difference with using a separate tool such as Teams, allows you to have face to face (well, screen to screen) conversations. It also gives you an opportunity to show that you, as a manager or supervisor, still have control over what they, as agents, need.
As with the online meetings or conference calls, daily or weekly updates can significantly assist you in team coaching. Allowing your team to know what the company is doing in terms of KPIs and any other goals that you set for the team will keep them motivated. We all know the benefit of managerial updates in relation to performance. However, when you are coaching your agents from home, you are also going to need to keep their morale up.
Personal morale can go either way while being forced to work from home. I have found that sometimes, you can feel happier that you are at home. However, on the other hand, some people find that being away from their daily routines can be a daunting time. Keeping on top of those people can help keep their morale up, and that increases productivity.
As you have seen, checking in with your agents is a real help in situations like this. However, they need to know a time that you are going to ring and speak to them. Knowing that time will ensure that they keep their productivity at a high, as they know, you will want to talk to them. Furthermore, knowing that their managers and supervisors are still sticking to regular work hours will show agents a good example. That will help them stay focused.
One other thing that daily appraisals will do is allow you to check on how each of your agents is getting on. Therefore, you can help individuals that need it the most, as you are sure to have some that will struggle with the change of routine.
As with the Call Criteria dashboard, you should always have visibility of how the agent is performing. Knowing that they can get into the dashboard and the information that it holds is a huge benefit to working from home. It keeps their goals for standards the same as usual, and the visibility of it gives them accountability.
If you do not already have a universal system that you use for this, you should seriously consider one. While spreadsheets and other software may “do a job,” it is not really the best thing to use. We have an article that talks about that here.
One other thing that you can use a common database for, is to continue with your reward systems. While some of those rewards are not really relevant at the moment, you can change them for more appropriate rewards. For example, Amazon gift cards, supermarket vouchers, or anything else that you can deliver to their homes are all great ideas that you can utilize. Of course, you can still continue with things like half a day holiday, and managers taking their calls for 10 minutes.
Use your imagination for the rewards, but it is a very good way to keep up morale and keep your agents involved in healthy competition.
Something else that is worth thinking about is using training material. This option may not suit every company and call center. However, some will benefit from creating training material for how to remedy some of the points that get missed.
For example, you can make videos for how to open a call, how to tell people that the call is recorded, how to close a call, etc. Then, if you have those on another common database, or send them on Microsoft Teams, or whatever application you use for conference calls.
If you have them on a shared database, your agents can access them at any time that they feel the need. Furthermore, you can build that training section up to include everything that people miss points on. Then, when you have an agent that misses one of those things regularly, you can point them there to watch tutorials.
Now that we are all working from home, things have had to change. That is why we have run through some of the things that you can do for coaching call center agents from home. However, the most significant consideration is that every person, therefore, agent, will have a different outlook on the situation we are in. Consequently, you may need to adapt your training and coaching style for individuals.
Once you have looked through the training tips, and then fitted this section into the routine, you may find that training your agents, and keeping an eye on your call center monitoring will be easier than you expected.