Home-office agents? Yes, please!
When it comes to home-office agents, most employers take this position – it is difficult enough to supervise and coach an in-house team of agents, who are as close as the next room, not to mention if they are fa away, working from home. The modern situation, however, shows that home-office agents can be as effective (if not even more) as the in-house agents, if the necessary improvements are made and the needed measures are taken.
Virtual coaching of agents, who work from home, takes careful planning and practice. On one hand, they have to provide the needed effectiveness and quality, and on the other hand – they should not get demotivated. It may seem like good news, but working from home can lead to a serious lack of motivation – the lack of contact with the colleagues or access to supervisors and coaches, can lead to a home-office agent with no enthusiasm whatsoever. Of course, this can be avoided quite easily. All you have to do is integrate some new approaches in coaching and professional hiring.
If you’ve decided that home-office agents are the next step in the development of your customer service department, the next few advices will help you plan this change better:
- Call recording system (CRS) – whether it is an inexpensive or high-end system, the CRS is a very effective tool for motivating and coaching you home-office and in-house agents. In addition to the ability to provide your agents with virtual trainings (provided by professional companies like ours), the CRS can help the agents evaluate their own calls, as well as a live connection to their supervisors and coaches, for advices. The home-office agents can listen to their conversations for weak spots and learn from the mistakes they’ve made;
- Trainings – studies show that the combination of different training modules is far more effective than a single “fit-for-all” module. The successful managers of customer service team know this and use a combination of several types of training, hiring a professional company to coach their staff:
– online modules with knowledge tests, which can be taken in the periods with low volume of calls;
– videos with detailed explanations and discussions about new company products, expert opinions etc.;
– on-site trainings (if possible);
- Positive contacts and motivation – for most agents working from home, as for their managers, there’s a rule “If you don’t see it – you don’t think about it”, which, as we’ve mentioned, can lead to a serious lack of motivation. This is the reason it is good to have a constant contact with your home-office agents, so they won’t start feeling “out of the team”. The contacts should be positive (it is a big mistake to contact your home-office agents only when he has made a mistake) – include them in office games and raffles, congratulate them on their birthday etc.;
- Social media – encourage your team to create internal chat-rooms, where everyone from the team can communicate with each other (in the proper time, of course) or create separate social media pages, where your agents can publish information and solutions – these are some of the great ways to utilize social medias and avoid the feel of separation, which the home-office agent can get.
If you have customer service agents that work from home or you’ve made the decision to add such agents to your team – carefully plan every process along the way of creating home-office employees. The training, however, remains one of the most important things in this case, that’s why it’s always a good idea to use the services of a professional company, which can provide online training and has the proper tools, experience and tactics. We can help you – take a look at our services and give us a call.