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Best Practices for Managing a Remote CX Team

Develop High-Performing At-Home Teams With These Impactful Resources and Tools

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, employees around the world have shifted to long-term remote work arrangements. Certain industries have felt this upheaval more than others – in particular, contact centers whose agents and managers were forced, virtually overnight, to comply with work-at-home protocols where none existed before.

The transition immediately ushered in a number of challenges for employees and managers across the board: reduced face-to-face supervision, fewer opportunities for social interaction, decreased productivity, heightened distractions at home, technology and communication challenges and threats to enterprise and customer data security.

Considering the many challenges distributed workers continue to face, it’s worth taking a closer look at the resources and tools contact center managers really need to develop high-performing at-home teams. Keep reading to learn how to equip your organization to continue delivering high-impact CX in a remote work world.

 

Remote manager training

Any supervisor who recently shifted from managing employees in the office to managing them remotely will tell you it requires a very different skill. That’s why managers need customized training geared specifically toward supervising at-home workers. 

Ideally, remote manager training focuses on developing skills in these key areas:

  • Communication – Strong, proactive communication from managers and within teams is even more difficult and more important in a remote-work environment.
  • Culture – Managers are faced with the challenge of translating company culture and employee engagement to a virtual space.
  • Performance – Promoting productivity and accountability is harder with a remote, distributed workforce and requires specialized methods.
  • Security – Managers need to be aware of different security threats and protocol when it comes to keeping customer and enterprise data safe.

The return-on-investment for specialized training is significant. Managers who are well-schooled in the nuances of supervising remote workers fuel higher employee satisfaction, engagement and retention.

Engaged at-home employees

To develop truly talented at-home agents who are ready to support your brand, you need people who feel motivated, engaged and supported. By developing a complete virtual methodology for engaging agents across multiple channels and platforms, you can keep them connected with each other and your brand. 

The most effective virtual engagement and support includes a combination of the following techniques:

  • Regular team meetings – From structured daily check-ins and weekly team huddles to town hall meetings with senior operations managers (SOM), online meetings should happen on a recurring schedule and take a predictable format that allows employees to voice their questions and concerns.
  • Scheduled social activities – One of the simplest ways to give employees opportunities to socialize is to leave some time at the beginning of every call for informal chit-chat. You can also plan a virtual pizza party, coffee time, happy hour or tailgate party. Like in-person social events, these activities help foster a sense of connection.
  • Social media engagement – Engaging with staff through non-work channels is another great way to keep employees connected. You could encourage them to share positive work-from-home stories using an internal hashtag, participate in fitness challenges that they document through their social feeds or connect with each other on private groups and channels.
  • Promotion & Development – With employees working from home and not getting that usual facetime with supervisors and management, it’s critically important to ensure that your at-home employees are receiving opportunities for advancement and growth. This should include ongoing learning opportunities, training sessions, and group seminars that focus on a good balance of professional skills and general betterment. If your employees feel connected to the business - and see a path of advancement - they will stick around longer, offer exponential value to your brand, and deliver richer experiences to customers.

Mental health resources

All of these engagement methods can also be effective ways to support mental health and ensure that working at home doesn’t take an emotional toll on employees. In a remote-work context, everyone is dealing with unique situations and challenges. Scheduling regular social interaction can combat isolation and promote supportive work relationships. And having regular check-ins and conversations around productivity can allow managers to set reasonable expectations and help employees manage stress. In addition, giving team members easy access to mental health resources, recommending useful tools and programs, and reminding them of the benefits available to them as employees are all especially important.

Operational tools that empower agents

On top of feeling engaged and supported when working at home, agents need the right toolset to perform well in every customer interaction. These types of tools are especially crucial for an effective remote workforce:

  • Team communication tools, including instant messaging, virtual meetings and cloud file sharing
  • Team monitoring tools that allow screen recording, blind monitoring and tracking of potentially fraudulent activity to ensure performance and data security
  • Coaching tools that use voice of customer insights, automation and personalized performance scorecards
  • Call evaluation tools that deliver real-time monitoring and assessment
  • Schedule and adherence monitoring tools, including workforce scheduling, planning and time tracking
  • Access portals that allow employees and managers to access tools and resources
  • Analytics and business intelligence, including synthesized, insight-rich touchpoint data from every customer interaction

Upgraded security and compliance

Along with a robust performance toolset, at-home agents and managers need to be equipped with the best security resources, protocols and policies to keep personally identifiable information (PII) and enterprise data protected at every turn. Here are some methods contact centers with a remote workforce can use to build strong security:

  • A dedicated team of data and computer security professionals led by a senior leader responsible for compliance and risk management
  • Secured agent computers with no data stored on agent machines
  • Client-defined role-based security, in-depth training and advanced real-time monitoring that make it virtually impossible for agents to compromise data security
  • Data masking for PII and PCI
  • Automated spyware and antivirus updates, along with the ability to push any required configuration changes remotely

Build your remote team

Managing a high-performing contact center of at-home agents is no easy task. It requires the right mix of training, talent, engagement, operational tools and security protocols.

Companies who use a trusted partner to manage their contact center are well-equipped with all the training and tools that supervisors and agents need for performance, flexibility and security at home. An effective CX outsourcer can optimize your contact center for the current realities of our remote-work world. They can supply a distributed workforce that reduces risk and ensures continuous uptime. And they can provide all the ingredients of a highly-trained at-home team: proficient managers, engaged agents, highly secure systems and reliable remote-work tools. 

Connect with us today to start building your at-home CX team.


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