Call center management requires high levels of attention, coordination, and strategy, especially as remote work environments become more and more of a reality.
In an article by Destination CRM, founding partner of International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) Brad Cleveland asserts that COVID-19 shifted 80% of in-person call centers to virtual call center environments. It is clear that completely outsourced, work-from-home, and hybrid models are all common call center scenarios these days.
80% of call centers shifted to remote work environments after the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can managers promote productivity, ensure employee engagement, and satisfy customers while managing a virtual call center? The first step we’ll take here is to help you understand the differences between virtual and in-person call centers. After that, we’ll share some virtual call center management tips to help you keep operations smooth, and keep customers calling!
What is Call Center Management?
Call center management is the group of strategies call centers use to handle daily operations, which, as call center leaders know, encompasses many moving parts! Here are a few of its common characteristics:
- Customer satisfaction oversight
- Metrics and data analysis
- Day-to-day tasks and delegations
- … and more!
But call center management in an office versus a remote environment are two different things.
Remote Call Center Management vs. In-Person
If you want to be an effective call center manager in a virtual environment, it is best to face the reality that your job will change and grow once your call center goes remote.
Remote offices do have their benefits. For instance, in a remote workplace, employees experience better work-life balance and managers note an increase in agent engagement, which is known to translate directly into customer satisfaction. Companies might find some savings too because virtual work reduces costs for rent and office equipment.
But when it comes to call center management, remote work environments also pose a few challenges:
Outside of secure office servers, remote work settings pose more security risks. From customer data to employee network connections, remote offices make your call center vulnerable to cyber hacks and malware.
Maintaining Workplace Morale
Call center agents experience better work-life balance when taking customer phone calls from home. But here’s a negative flipside: managers may see decreased employee motivation due to reduced in-person camaraderie amongst team members. Moreover, company goals and values become watered down when agents are removed from the in-office environment.
Transferring company equipment and call center software from one place to another isn’t always seamless. Sometimes tech transfers result in blips that hinder team communication and customer service. Obstacles to call queuing or IVR assistance could result in reduced customer loyalty if not attended to immediately.
5 Tips for Effective Virtual Cell Center Management
How do you overcome the above challenges that come with remote workforce management? Consider some of the following tips.
1. Maintain robust and updated call center software.
Companies that don’t invest in up-to-date, cloud-based call center technology won’t maintain their competitive place with industry rivals that prioritize strong tech tools. In a virtual work environment, cloud technology is more vital than ever, and allows managers to achieve the following even when off-site:
- Reduced operational costs
- Improved quality monitoring
- Smoother employee communication
For example, Fonolo’s Voice Call-Back option is essential for virtual call center management. It helps customers receive quicker service and feel more in control of their experience.
2. Generate regular reports and data analysis.
Virtual call center operations might change company results and timelines. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of call center metrics and data to assess any areas that need improvement, or any new strategy needs. Fonolo’s Portal helps call center managers find real-time insights on both agent and call center performance through rich reporting, stats, and trend information.
3. Check-in with agents regularly.
Technology allows agents and managers to stay connected even in virtual work environments, but studies show remote work can still lead to feelings of isolation. If your agents feel isolated and disengaged, their overall performance and customer satisfaction scores might suffer. Make a point to check in with your agents regularly to find out if they need:
- Flexible scheduling
- Moral support
- … or anything else!
4. Monitor customer interactions and collect customer feedback.
Sometimes metrics don’t tell you the whole story. If you notice any dips in customer satisfaction or increases in wait time, these are the moments to roll up your sleeves and join the floor. Take a look at real-time customer interactions to find out the source of any service discrepancies, or use software like Fonolo’s Portal to access call-detail records (CDRs).Fonolo’s Portal gives you access to call-detail records, real-time insights, and rich reporting to help with quality monitoring and effective call center management! #CallCenterSoftware #RemoteCallCenterEfficiency Click To Tweet
5. Foster a strong company culture.
Fostering a strong company culture is difficult enough in an in-person office, let alone a virtual environment. Effective call center managers know that in remote work settings, it’s more important than ever to ensure employees have a strong understanding of company goals and values, and for them to feel recognized for their hard work.