The covid-19 pandemic divided the world into two eras.
The era preceding the pandemic where everything went on normally. And the era post the pandemic where everything changed.
Most businesses grappled with adjusting to the new normal and the call center operations were not left untouched.
Call center management revolutionized with remote call centers finally taking center stage.
At this stage, a pertinent question arises- are remote call centers here to stay?
Well, if a recent study is to be believed…the answer is yes! Around 75% of the remote workforce now have a heightened awareness of work flexibility and don’t want to let go!
It's a win-win situation for call centers as well. Call center workforce management initiatives did not yield the desired results in the pre-pandemic world.
Attrition rates remain low, call volume remain high. In the pre-pandemic scenario, one of the major pain points for call center organizations was enhancing employee satisfaction.
But now, three years and two vaccine shots later, you finally have a chance at achieving the long-desired outcomes. Thanks to the strengthening of remote call center supervision. In today’s blog, we discuss-
- Remote Call Centers- A New Chapter for Call Center Management?
- Remote Call Center- Yah or Nah?
- Benefits of a Remote Contact Center
- Challenges of Remote Contact Centers
Remote Call Centers- A New Chapter for Call Center Management?
In principle, a remote contact center is similar to any regular call center.
The only difference is that the workforce is spread around different locations rather than being in the same place.
There are several technologies such as VoIP calls, single communication platforms etc. for remote agents to stay connected to the team.
With the rising popularity of online learning modules, coaching and training agents for call center management has never been easier.
A remote call center agent works similarly to a call center agent on-premise. And in the coming time, more customer service reps seem to go the remote way.
In a study, almost 40% of employees said they would resign if their company switched back to physical working mode.
Well, it is a wake-up call…you might risk losing your top-performing employees if they don’t have the option of working remotely.
Remote Call Center- Yah or Nah?
The writing is clear on the wall. Your customer service executives want to shift to a remote style of working.
Around 70% of the world's organizations emphasized their employees’ well-being during the pandemic. You can take inspiration from this and begin shifting operations to a remote model.
But there is hesitation. We know that all too well.
You are worried about disruption in business continuity and communication gaps propping between your employees and you.
And most importantly, worried about how to handle call center performance management effectively.
So let us guide you through this initial phase of confusion and list some of the most decisive benefits of a remote contact center.
1. Reduction in Expenditure
As soon as you shift operations to a remote set-up, you’d not have to pay the rent for a dedicated working space.
You’d also cut down on other expenditures such as maintenance, food, electricity, and IT costs.
The amount saved can be diverted towards the upgradation of training modules for agents or implementing novel technical methodologies such as conversation intelligence platforms.
You can also aim to scale your call center operations and hire more personnel without worrying about too many overhead costs.
All these investments contribute to a smooth remote call center workforce management.
2. Hiring a Diverse Set of Employees
In today’s time, a diverse workforce enables you to multiply your profits quickly.
An on-site mode of working puts a reasonable restraint on the kind of people you can hire. Only those candidates who live in the proximity of your office or those willing to relocate can join the workforce.
But this is where remote call centers swoop in for better call center management. There is no geographical restraint and hence the ambit of the hiring pool multiplies significantly.
You can hire the best candidates across regions and give them the flexibility to work as per their terms.
Post-pandemic, employee expectations have changed with several demanding permanent work from home.
Imagine the global talent you would be attracting if your business offered this.
And this trend directly impacts your customer satisfaction because the more exceptional your employees, the better an experience they can provide to your customers.
3. Increased Job Happiness
The importance of a hybrid working model is seen in the fact that more than 50% of employees mention this criteria as a decisive factor for deciding their stay in an organization.
In a remote setup, employees would save commuting time and thus have more time to manage their personal and professional lives.
We stress employee satisfaction as THE most crucial criteria of call center management.
Call centers faulting in this aspect lose talented resources and eventually fall behind their competitors.
4. Reduced Scheduling Headaches
Many call centers provide services related to seasonal industries or products. While the busy months are smooth, scheduling agents during off-season months can be a headache, especially regarding call center management.
A remote contact center is a viable option in this scenario as they offer flexible scheduling of agents.
Infact many call centers are planning to have only 20-40% of agents physically present in the office while the rest work remotely.
Additionally, increasing your workforce during peak months is easier if you are operating remotely.
Concluding all these awesome advantages, we can safely say that remote contact centers will not only strengthen your business processes but also promote a positive work environment for your employees.
However, it’s also safe to say that remote working has its demerits. It comes with its own set of challenges that organizations have still not been able to overcome.
Call center heads can also attest to the fact that remote working has not been exactly smooth sailing.
Hence we discuss some of the pressing challenges of remote contact centers below. After reading these, you can better understand how to make an effortless transition to online working mode.
Challenges of Remote Contact Centers
1. Securing Employee Devices
Remote working poses a big risk to the security of employee devices and call center management.
Employees might not be able to maintain the required security standard at home, thus putting critical business data at risk of being compromised.
You might be able to curtail this by issuing company devices to agents or using VDI but there’s still a chance of data corruption as the agents would be working on a private network.
Hence, you must regularly educate your employees to lock their devices and use VPNs if working on a public network.
2. Business Losses Caused By Cyberattacks
Close to 70% of small and medium enterprises reported losses amounting to 4 cr solely because of cyber attacks in the pandemic.
As we discussed above, these incidents' occurrence was exacerbated by the security loopholes caused due to agents working remotely.
From a call center management point of view, this is a nightmare as call centers often deal with sensitive information. If leaked, business continuity can be compromised beyond repair.
Hackers are always on the lookout for such gaps from which they can steal data. To avoid data loss, you must make your remote agents aware of ethical practices.
For example, tell your agents to choose a different password for their personal and business accounts.
These might seem like small steps but they can go a long way in maintaining cybersecurity compliances.
3. Loss of Productivity
Another pain point for remote call center management is the drop in employee productivity.
Now we are not generalizing. Most of your remote employees have been able to strike a good work-life balance.
But there also have been instances where employees have started lagging behind on the assigned targets.
There are some clear signs to gauge whether your employees are performing to the mark while working remotely. These include-
- Not actively answering work emails, messages or calls during working hours.
- The total call volume being handled by them has been significantly lower for some time now.
- They have resolved the tickets assigned to them.
- They have not solved the grievances of several customers.
Even if these instances occur, we suggest you don’t jump the gun and have a frank conversation with the agent.
These instances can also be avoided if you take regular updates and give timely feedback to the agents. This way you can stay aware of the latest status of their day-to-day work.
Even though it has some concerning drawbacks, a remote call center is here to stay. It allows organizations to work with global talent with minimum investment in building physical infrastructure.
If you are also planning to shift to a remote work style, opt for the best technological tools that aid in call center management.
Convin is one such efficient tool. It’s an AI-powered conversation intelligence platform that helps you have better conversations with your customers, thus boosting conversion rates.
You can analyze all incoming and outgoing calls and grade the performance of each agent individually. Based on the grade, you can put the agent up for coaching for the skills they lack.
These few offerings are just the tip of the iceberg. Reach out to us now to get customized assistance and surpass your competitors!
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