The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on industries and businesses of all sizes. The spread of COVID-19 is changing the way in which employees work, run errands, and even communicate with friends and loved ones. The pandemic has also put an outsized import on customer service departments, that are having to handle an increase in requests for shipping information, order updates, and processing returns. This means it’s now more important than ever, to find ways to effectively manage your call center staff.
Of course, most call centers are also working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that you may need to implement new systems in order to ensure agent productivity and efficiency remains high, and that everybody stays on task and productive. Here are a few tips for managing your remote call center during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pick a software solution that has the features you need.
Call center software is crucial even when you’re not facing a global pandemic, but in 2020 it’s even more important to have the right software to handle calls. Whether you’re looking for inbound call center software, outbound call center software, or a hybrid solution, finding one that operates on the cloud can be a major boon for your employees and your business. It’s also a good idea to do a bit of research and ensure that your call center software offers features that make it easier for your staff to work and perform their necessary job duties remotely.
One majorly beneficial feature to check for in your call center software, is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration. Especially if other departments in your business work remotely, having a system that integrates with Salesforce or whatever other CRM platform you use, can help keep everyone on the same page about customer data, and is a major help to link both customer interaction and customer satisfaction.
Be clear about your expectations for remote workers.
As you’ve transitioned to have your workforce function remotely, you may have had to make decisions quickly, and not had the opportunity of thinking them through fully. As we are several months into the pandemic, however, there is time to make sure that you’re clarifying what’s expected of your remote call center staff. Just reiterating what sorts of quotas are important to your business, and how to live out your company’s values can be an important refresher, especially at a time when the boundaries between work and life are blurring.
Consider being a bit more flexible.
While it’s important to clearly establish what you expect from your call center agents, it’s important to remember that your call center operations are all taking place in the middle of a global pandemic (as well as a stressful election year). As such, having some grace, patience, and flexibility can go a long way in keeping your employees productive.
Many parents are struggling to deal with remote schooling and may have children underfoot even as they’re fielding calls from customers. At the same time, some workers who don’t have roommates may find themselves feeling isolated beyond their work calls. Asking how your agents are doing and offering some leniency with the hours they work, will give them a better experience and keep them engaged and invested in their job, even as they navigate a host of uncertainties.
Set measurable goals you can communicate with your team.
Part of functioning effectively while working remotely involves having clear goals that are measurable and can reflected on, each week. Making sure that your goals are specific and measurable ensures that there’s no confusion, while your team works from different locations. At the same time, when your team achieves their goal, it’ll instill a sense of pride in everyone who made achieving the goal possible. In situations where you don’t reach your goals, everyone can spend some time assessing why, which allows you to do better the next time.