The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced the workplaces around the world to take urgent action to allow staff to work from home. In customer service departments and contact centres of many organisations, provision for this type of working arrangement has been included within business continuity plans, as maintaining delivery of customer service is paramount. In some parts of Australia, the shift to working from home has already been tested and tried during recent bushfire and flood events.
However, for many organisations the transition is not fast or easy, as they are finding that their current technology is unable to provide them with what they need.
The technology required for work-at-home staff
Anyone still using an on-premise contact centre solution are typically not able to provide access to the software from external locations. Even those using an on-premise/cloud hybrid system could find it difficult.
Only a fully cloud-based solution like Premier Contact Point can make it easy for managing remotely located team members.
To gain access to Premier Contact Point, your team members will need a computer with internet access, a web browser and a headset with microphone.
This will enable them to login to the system and use it just as they would if they were working in your premises.
How long will it take to get it set up?
The setup period depends on the solution you purchase, how it’s structured, and the type of support that is provided.
Vendors of many “out of the box” solutions don’t provide live support, so you will need to navigate your way through their online knowledge base and work it out yourself.
Vendors of the larger more complex systems will need to schedule time for the configuration and possibly development as well as the installation for the system, and that can take several months.
To meet the growing urgency for staff to be able to Work From Home, we’ve created a fast activation version of Premier Contact Point, which will give you the ability to have the key components installed and activated within 24 hours.
Features support staff will need
To ensure your teams can continue to work productively, our system provides them with the following essential features:
- Secure remote login from anywhere with an internet connection
- Access to an Agent Desktop which displays caller details and scripts, along with easy to follow process flows for initiating, transferring and ending calls.
- The ability to provide support via phone, email and webchat
- Access to real-time tracking of performance against KPIs
Features team leaders will need
When working remotely, it’s more important than ever for team leaders to be able to monitor and manage teams in real time. Premier Contact Point caters for remotely located supervisors by providing:
- Remote agent monitoring of live calls
- Access to a reporting Dashboard which provides instant alerts for spikes and updates key indicators in real time.
- Ability to change agent queue assigment as well as queue and IVR messages on the fly as required.
- Full control over user administration to monitor logins and logoffs and agent activity.
Tips for managing remote staff
Effectively managing remotely located staff requires a different mindset, management practices and tools. It’s definitely not a “setup and forget” situation, particularly in the early days. Whilst we can activate the setup quickly to enable your teams to work from home, there will be an adjustment period for everyone. Everyone will need guidelines and training, and your internal processes and communication practices will continue to change and evolve.
Here’s a few tips to assist with the transition.
Provide communication systems
Your remote agents will need fast access to each other and to your team leaders for help, and for building teamwork. Working remotely can be a very lonely gig.
- There are many instant messaging tools available like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Blink etc which are ideal for managing remote conversations and requests for help.
- You can continue to hold staff huddles and meetings using conference software such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Go to Meeting or Skype.
- Monitoring conversations with Speech Analytics is also a good way to pickup on your team members mood. See CX as a function of happy teams: tools to help analyse wellbeing and engagement for more tips on this important topic.
Workplace health and safety and security is still applicable for people working from home. We suggest you provide guidelines that have spell out your work from home policies, and provides tips for dealing with noise, distractions, taking breaks, security, etc.
Provide access to your internal systems
Once they’re all set up and managing the new working arrangements and technology comfortably, have your cloud based contact centre solution integrated with your key back-office CRM, enterprise system and knowledge base, so that all the information they need is screen-popped into their desktop.
Optimise workforce scheduling and management
Working from home takes a lot of adjustment, particularly if other family members are at home also. Your team members will be happier and more engaged if they can work the shifts they prefer. The Premier Contact Point Workforce Management solution provides insight reports and predictive capabilities to create accurate demand forecasts and baseline staffing levels. It also has roster and holiday bidding functionality.