It’s too early to brush COVID-19’s sweeping impact aside, but call center leaders are already looking for ways to proactively ready themselves and their teams for the next crisis—or the second wave of this one. While pandemics are rare indeed, things like drastic regulation changes and natural disasters are other scenarios that need careful planning and intellectual anticipation. For call center managers, it can be difficult to start (and continue) managing remote call center agents.
Here are some tips for dealing with this situation in both the near future and the far distant one.
A real strategy for sudden increased call volumes
In most industries, there was an enormous spike in customer contacts as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak hit. Some teams quickly found that their contact center software didn’t have the power of scalability. Cloud technology allows for dynamic scaling to accommodate the extra agents that are often required in times of crises where the increase in contact volume is simply overwhelming. In order to keep things moving in the right direction, call centers need software that is built on a flexible Cloud platform that can be instantly scaled.
Leveraging the power and security of Microsoft Azure, Tethr, for instance, can scale on-demand, ensuring flexible and reliable cloud computing. The cloud-first platform architecture provides a future-proof technical environment that can seamlessly accommodate growth and change. Tethr gives users the wings to rapidly scale up or down to ensure that regardless of the situation, businesses can respond to changing conditions and be there for their customers.
Continuous training for “what if” instances
While pandemics don’t just happen every day, trainings should periodically take place for unexpected situations. All new call center agents should be introduced to a regularly updated continuity plan so that in the event of a disaster or a pandemic, the process can be smooth and systematic. Training protocol can include items such as manuals, recording demos, use cases, and FAQs. All companies need a plan in place to handle emergencies, especially contact centers. Publish one, revisit it often and make sure it is understood and distributed to your entire team. This is an essential part of managing remote call center agents as well as in-office agents.
Be aware that remote work can become a reality at any time
Disasters can always strike twice. Whether you are seriously considering only hiring at-home agents or some of your current agents are looking to make the permanent transition to a remote basis, remote-specific trainings should be offered. In fact, they should even be offered to those reps who don’t aspire to make remote working a part of their lives because you never know. Be sure your management team is also equipped to train and monitor off-premise agents. Your IT department must be able to set up remote computers, check internet connections and practice troubleshooting with remote workers. IT teams can eliminate some bottlenecks by coming up with a guide to standardize troubleshooting procedures for home-based team members.
Keep your tools for managing remote call center agents up-to-date
Your call center agents need the best tools and should be trained on how to use them. These tools should work at the same level regardless of location so that if another remote work situation strikes, everyone is ready. Using listening enterprise software like Tethr, you can offer each rep a personalized training program based on actionable insights from their calls. Tethr’s technology works to combine what’s going on in real-time with historical data for context to lead your agent to the best practices. Managers can surface impactful coaching opportunities to help reps reach their goals.