SJ Thompson of EvaluAgent shares her preferred approach to maintaining high performance levels amongst remote contact centre teams.
“Productivity may dip, wrap times may increase but you will need to monitor that individuals don’t let standards slip,” Richard Lancaster, Head of CQC National Customer Service Centre Contact Teams.
“Ensure your Team / Ops Managers work closely with your Real Time Planning Team to review performance at all levels and start any conversations early with supportive measures put into place.”
Business must continue, and that means that the quality of interactions with customers must be to standard too.
There’s an understanding that these standards might have lowered slightly given everything else that’s going on, but a business that is able to maintain these service levels in spite of external factors will come out of this in a much better place. Using team engagement practices can help you do that.
It’s important to note that homeworking doesn’t come easily to everyone. Those who are self-motivated, with good communication skills and naturally resourceful are likely to take to it much better than others.
Here we have four ways you can use team engagement practices to support maintaining service quality with your remote team.
They’re based on our years of experience working remotely ourselves and with homeworking operations.
- Don’t stop feedback and 1:1s
- Remember the importance of communication
- Help team leaders and the QA team stay in touch and collaborate
- Keep spirits high
1. Don’t Stop Feedback and 1:1s
With service levels being under pressure, it can be tempting to cut the time allocated for coaching and feedback, but this is a big mistake.
In a remote-working environment, it’s more important than ever that you support your team because if you don’t, the medium- to long-term effects will be 10 times worse than the short-term hit on service levels.
It’s not an easy decision to make and it has a huge impact on dealing with customer queries, but in order to support customers, not just now but in the medium to longer term, we have to support our teams.
So, we have to continue to make that investment in feedback, coaching and 1:1s.
2. Remember the Importance of Communication
With a remote team, communication is the most important team engagement activity. Email is still the most widely used form of communication for a lot of organizations but it’s not the most effective for many types of conversations.
For faster answers, co-workers, managers and leaders are now conversing virtually with one another by using a variety of new, innovative and highly efficient collaboration tools.
Some good examples of these are Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, and there are many other options out there. At EvaluAgent, we’ve found Slack to be a very easy to use, powerful form of communication channel.
It can take a while to move away from email, but it fundamentally changes the effectiveness of communication within a business and is integral to remote working.
Make sure that everyone is keeping in touch and that your staff are feeling appreciated, even though you are not able to demonstrate that face to face.
3. Help Team Leaders and the QA Team Stay in Touch and Collaborate
Our most successful homeworking clients have also opened up communication tools and collaboration procedures whereby evaluators and team leaders can still talk amongst themselves and can still support each other.
That can be through daily stand-up huddles using systems and tools like Slack; creating a private channel that they can converse in freely, openly and honestly.
In a remote environment it can be very lonely, especially for managers and leaders, and sometimes it’s even more important to ensure consistency and check QA guidelines and scorecards are up to date.
So, ideally you’re still running those regular calibration sessions but doing them remotely. Your QA team can be scoring contacts, understanding how services are being affected and developing ideas together with team leaders as to how best to support the team.
All of that can be done over video calls and it’s a very powerful medium for having those types of conversations.
4. Keep Spirits High
The final tip is around keeping employees motivated and keeping their spirits up by looking at ways you can remotely recognize performance and motivate your teams. This is covered in more detail on our Remote Working Webinar Series.
Regular communication is so important, but so too is the culture and leadership behaviours that bring that all to life, so these also need to be focused on in the remote-working environment too.
This news story has been re-published by kind permission of EvaluAgent