Remote work is increasingly popular for a very practical reason: according to recent research, the employees, who can control where and when they work, are more productive and have a better work-life balance compared to those who do not work remotely. The coordination of such a team can be a little more difficult than that of an internal department. Due to the different locations of the agents, the process of supervising and motivating them can be more difficult.
Therefore, from our 15 years of experience in this industry, we have gathered the most important resources that can serve the optimal functioning of the remote work in the Customer Care industry:
- Organize the recruitment process for hiring the best people The most important part of building a remote team is hiring the right people. When hiring call center agents, define your ideal employee by selecting the top skills and personality traits specific to a remote activity in pursuit of the company’s goals, as they will have to generate high quality results within your team. The specific pre-hire evaluation of candidates is a great way to effectively find the most suitable employees for your team. Also, make sure that you have a detailed documentation of the responsibilities, requirements and policies of the workplace, so that the agents understand the expectations of the team from the beginning.
- Pay more attention to the Onboarding and Training processUsually, in any job, the first few weeks determine the direction of the new employees. Agents working remotely will not have the opportunity to engage in face-to-face conversations with the new colleagues or the rest of the company’s employees, but you can do other things to help them accommodate quickly enough.
For example: presentation of team members (personal information, photos, tips for new employees), training links in human resources, task checklists, long-term goals and more. All this, included in a system that provides access at any time, will increase the level of accommodation of the new employees working remotely. In the case of a remote team, this stage, with the related resources, is essential to compensate for the lack of direct interactions with the people working at the company’s headquarters.
Another action that has proven to be very effective in the onboarding process is the mentoring of new employees. Mentors can schedule regular video checks, are always available on different social networks, and make new employees feel welcome.
In order to adapt to continuous changes, employees must be constantly informed. The trainings can be conducted either by video, voice or chat. Agents should be aware of changing trends in the industry and should be able to adapt to technological advances.
- Invest in the right tools for remote workAlthough email is an easy way to communicate instantly, it is not the ideal platform for project management when working with a remote team. In fact, an endless stream of email communications can quickly become messy and overwhelming.
To help manage projects, information and communication need to be centralized in an easily accessible place. A cloud-based project management tool allows your team, wherever they are, to authenticate and access the information they need within minutes, while giving you an overview of all projects in each moment.
When they need help, the agents cannot simply come and ask for it, and the use of the email could lead to a delay in getting a timely response and, consequently, to the customers’ dissatisfaction. Having all the information on a platform, with all the updated procedures is more easily accessible for the employees.
Some of the best systems for coordinating remote teams are: Call Monitoring, Comprehensive Analytics, Remote Access and Screen Sharing, Workforce Management Tools, Post Call Customer Surveys, Real-Time Supervisor Dashboard, etc.
- Make time for face-to-face interactionsJust like when working at the company’s headquarters, remote agent teams get the highest results if they are motivated enough. There are strategies that managers can use to inspire the team for better performance. Personal relationships are the basis of all, so make sure you take care of them. Here are some simple things you can do to strengthen team relationship:
Weekly video calls with the team are very important to ensure that everyone cooperates and respects each other, but also to build a strong team relationship.
One-to-one video calls are useful and necessary to motivate the productivity of the agents, giving them the belief that their work really matters. This is the reason why you need to pay attention to each team member. Discuss how the activity works, find out if they need help, or say “thank you” for a good job. This simple change can bring extraordinary results.
Meetings in person with the whole team at least once a year, will foster a personal connection and significantly improve the work ethic within the team.
- Set clear goals and reward performanceThis is even more important when employees are not physically located at the company’s headquarters. A system that offers remote agents real-time reports so that they can check their performance, see trends over time and see how they rank compared to other agents, can lead to increased competitiveness and growth of their performances.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) with each team member, allowing them to focus on important tasks, achieve their personal goals and grow through this job. Whether the remote team works full-time or part-time, it is your responsibility to monitor and evaluate these performance indicators on a regular basis, and to provide constant feedback.
Like any distance relationship, a long-term relationship with remote agents requires dedication, patience, communication and a little fun. By following these practices, you will be able to help the agents shine, the company to bloom, and clients to leave satisfied.