Back to work (from home)? Here’s what you need to know about setting up a remote contact centre
With the government again advising people to work from home if they’re able, contact centre managers face the renewed challenge of adapting to remote operations.
Many in the industry will already have been exploring remote options for their operations, but COVID-19 has given the move a new urgency.
At Zing, we’ve spent a lot of time this year helping clients and customers manage the transition from office-based contact centres to remote or mixed location setups.
Here are the key things to bear in mind when making the shift.
Cloud, omnichannel, secure
Cloud-based tools give you the flexibility to scale your offering, as well as providing vital cost savings. With a clear idea of what your business needs, it’s possible to shape a cloud-based software platform to your specific requirements.
You’ll want to think about the long term, so consider omnichannel options.
Live web chat is beginning to overtake traditional channels like telephone calls, so you need to be sure your new setup can adapt to changes in the way customers are interact with your business.
Moving out of the office shouldn’t mean you leave security behind.
Top notch data security should be a given with the right contact centre provider, but you’ll want to consider advanced options like voice recording encryption too.
A clear view of your hardware
Configuring your software platform will be made easier by having a good view of what hardware – laptops, headsets, monitors etcetera – your agents and managers will be using.
If you’re starting with a clean slate and buying in all new kit, then aim to standardise across the business as far as possible.
If you’re planning a more staggered upgrade, then you should first produce a thorough audit of what gear is currently in use – and what you’ll need buy in.
This will not only help you manage costs, but give a stronger sense of what’s possible with your chosen cloud-based platform.
Knowing how much screen real estate your agents are working with, for instance, will help you configure your software to ensure that all employees are able to access their full suite tools from a single screen – and not just the ones with bigger (or more) monitors.
Getting all the gear you need will likely take a little longer than usual, however, given the increased demand – so bear that in mind when laying out your plans.
Working apart, but staying together
There are more than just technical challenges involved in this shift. Perhaps the trickiest element of working remotely is making sure your colleagues feel comfortable and confident with the changes they’re experiencing.
To make the process as smooth has possible, it’s important to ensure new platforms and processes are clear and intuitive. Consult staff on what’s working and what isn’t: take them on the journey with you.
Encourage self-service options where possible, as often the best way to learn is by doing – but be cognisant of the fact that not everyone will adjust at the same pace.
Use features within your contact centre, such as listening in on calls, and providing live advice to agents, to help your colleagues feel supported – and ensure that these features are properly integrated and easily accessible at all times.
Consider ways in which you can stay on top of your key metrics, and how bringing elements of your company culture to the remote setup can be part of this.
Casual weekly catch-ups over video call, for instance, can go a long way to making sure everyone is on top of their workload – as well as offering an outlet for the social interactions that people may be missing while working at home or in isolation.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, visit our in-depth article – how to set up a remote contact centre