Your call center may experience some challenges as more people need to work from home. Just because you have more remote employees, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t reach your goals. Adopting the right virtual call center tools will make it easier for you and your employees to succeed.
Virtual Call Center Tools for Success
While employees try to adjust to working from home, call centers can discover new ways to add flexibility to their staffs and schedules. Your agents need more flexibility because new remote workers often say that they feel distracted by family members, housework, social media, and other factors that don’t interfere as easily when working on site.
You can’t prevent every distraction, but you can provide virtual call center tools that will help agents work as efficiently as possible.
IVRs (Interactive Voice Response)
IVRs create a professional tone even before your call agents pick up their lines. Interactive voice response technology lets your team members record greetings that callers will hear while they get routed to the correct person.
IVR can also help by identifying the best team member for each call. For example, an incoming call from someone speaking Spanish will get routed to an agent fluent in Spanish. As a result, you keep customers happier, and you improve your virtual call center’s productivity.
Caller Information Display
Your agents need information about callers so they can close deals and solve problems. Caller information displays may tell your agent things like:
- What the caller has purchased before.
- Whether the caller has tried contacting the call center recently.
- Where the customer lives.
- The customer’s age, gender, and phone number.
Your agents can work more quickly when their computer screens provide customer information automatically.
Your employees may not have the equipment that you give them at the office. Make sure they have the integration tools needed to make the most of customer relationship management, call routing, and other tools. Without seamless integrations, some of your call agents will struggle to meet their goals.
Call conferencing tools let more than one agent come onto a call to solve a customer’s problem. When your employees realize that they don’t have the expertise to answer a question, they can get a different agent on the line without transferring the call. Instead of frustrating customers by putting them on hold, you can have a professional, solutions-focused conversation with a supervisor or other agent while the callers listen.
Conferencing tools can improve efficiency by helping team members coordinate their efforts. The tools can also enhance customer satisfaction by showing them that your agents care about finding solutions as quickly as possible.
When you walk your call center’s floor, you can give real-time advice to your agents. You can do something similar with a virtual call center tool called whisper coaching. Whisper coaching lets you talk to your employee without letting the customer know. You can encourage your agent to use a different script, finish the call in a few seconds, transfer the call to someone else, or try a different strategy.
With whisper coaching, it’s almost like you can manage your team in person.
Working remotely does not mean working without supervision. Call monitoring lets managers listen to incoming and outgoing calls for quality assurance. Employees don’t know when their managers are listening, so they must assume that every call gets monitored. When agents know that someone could be listening, they behave like someone is always listening.
Call recording lets managers record exchanges between customers and agents. The managers can use the recordings as coaching tools by providing examples of when the employee did something well or fell short of expectations. Having concrete examples makes every piece of feedback more instructive.
As a manager, you rely on reporting tools so you can track key performance indicators (KPIs) and make sure agents hit their performance targets.
Internet technology makes it relatively easy for you to gather data about KPIs like:
- How many calls an agent makes or receives per hour and per day?
- How many calls your team handles per hour and per day?
- What is the average call length?
- How many sales your team members finalize?
- How long it takes for calls to get answered?
The more data you have, the more effectively you can manage your remote team.
Call routing sends incoming calls to the best available agent. Most call routing systems let managers experiment with a variety of arrangements. Try a few configurations throughout the day to see how your team responds to changes in call flow. Ideally, you will find the best approach within a few days or weeks. Then, you can optimize your team’s strengths to surpass your call center goals.
Phone Number Management
Service providers and third-party apps help consumers avoid unwanted calls. Unfortunately, criminals can spoof your phone numbers. Eventually, enough people will report your number that it gets labeled as “potential scam.”
Once a phone number gets listed, it will prevent you from reaching customers. Caller ID Reputation tracks your phone number reputations so you don’t drive away customers who want to hear from you. With continuous phone number monitoring, you can make it easier for your call agents to connect with more customers and complete more sales.
Tools for Training Remote Employees
Ongoing training plays a critical role in a call center’s success. Having remote employees means that you have to shift your approach to training. Luckily, there are plenty of virtual call center tools that you can use to train agents while they work at home.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Today’s learning management systems (LMS) work well for employers as well as schools. You can create a module-based training program that lets employees new one skill at a time. Some platforms will even let agents collaborate as they learn essential skills.
Learning Experience Platforms
Learning experience platforms (LEP) have a lot in common with LMSs. With an LEP, though, you can combine micro and macro elements of training. For example, you can give employees access to short training videos that introduce them to concepts as well as tiered modules that help them master their understanding.
Video Training Tools
Visual learners tend to prefer video training tools. Video learning tools can include anything from a YouTube video about using your CRM to video conferencing that lets employees ask questions and receive answers in real-time.
Project Management Tools
Project management becomes more important than ever when you have employees who work from home. The best project management tools will let you assign tasks to individuals, attach relevant files, and communicate with members of your team. When someone completes a job, that person can mark it as complete to keep you and the whole group informed.
If you don’t already have a project management tool, consider options like:
Video Conference Tools
Video conference tools are essential for building camaraderie among remote workers. Some of the most popular video conferencing apps include:
Maintaining Productivity for Stay-at-Home Employees
Some members of your team will adjust to virtual call center tools and working from home easier than others. Even those that pick up the new tools quickly might struggle to stay motivated.
Offer incentives that help stay-at-home employees maintain their productivity. For instance, you might try:
- Paying to upgrade the home work station of the employee who makes the biggest improvement.
- Sending free lunch to teams that hit their KPIs.
- Emailing virtual gift cards to the employee who sells the most items in a day.
Even something as simple as recognizing someone’s achievement during a video conference can keep remote workers motivated. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make sure that your team members feel appreciated while they work from home.
Remote working will cause some disruptions for call centers. With the right tools, you can move your employees to a system that works for everyone. By the time people can return to work, you may have found ways to make a virtual call center just as successful as your on-site center.