Organisations all over the world are currently scrabbling to get up and running remotely. In this article Natalie Keightley, Solutions Sales Director at Avaya shares some best practise for those businesses in need.
Organisations and their customers depend on contact centres that stay up and running to deliver great experiences. Sometimes, the workforce may need to work remotely and there are several reasons why home-based workers are a good idea:
•Find and retain the best, most motivated, employees
•Overcome agent scarcity in high-employment sectors
•Serve peak periods and provide 24×7 service
•And of course, continue operating during the global health challenge we are facing today
With these benefits in mind, here are some best practices to aid success when implementing a remote worker strategy:
1: Policies and Procedures
Establish a written policy with clear rules. Important areas are job responsibilities, organisational and departmental goals and objectives, customer impact, and employees’ work performance. Protection of customer sensitive information is vital for customer-facing roles.
Some employees may not suit home working although it can open-up a much wider and more inclusive workforce opportunity for employers, such as working parents who need to stay local to schools and nurseries, people who want shift flexibility or those who may not want to do face-to-face but are great with online chat or over the phone. An awareness and focus on what the ‘right’ people look like is important.
3: Job Function
Each job function must be carefully assessed before deciding whether it’s suitable for remote working. Reasons for keeping a function office-based include having acccess to customer-sensitive information, such as financial or health data.
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The written policy should define what you expect of the remote workspace. It may seem obvious, but a dedicated area with minimal interruption maximises efficiency and customer facing workers and contact centre agents need locations with minimal background noise.
Remote workers generally need a phone, a noise-canceling headset and a PC. If your company provides the PC or otherwise enforces system requirements, your IT admins will thank you.
Obviously, remote workers must have sufficient internet access to connect to corporate resources and applications to do their job productively. Be prepared to provide connectivity if needed. If your team is speaking to customers, the voice quality of their connection must be up to scratch whether your remote working policy lets them use VoIP, mobile or landline telephone services.
VoIP eliminates the costs associated with an analogue phone or monthly mobile plan but as it depends on a robust internet connection, ask your IT department to evaluate each remote employee’s internet performance.
Remote workers need access to experts and support. “Presence”, which indicates a person’s availability, makes connecting almost as easy as being in the same room.
7: Manage and Monitor
Remote workers should be as productive as office workers although this needs to be managed carefully. Regular check-ins are vital but there also needs to be an element of trust. A properly deployed remote contact centre solution can provide the ability to monitor performance in real time if needed.
It’s really important to foster the right culture when enabling work from home. People need to keep feeling part of a team and part of the organisation so don’t stop including them in meetings, events, training, mentoring and reward programmes.
You can do it!
Whether you are planning to deploy remote workers, including contact centre agents, or are already doing so, learning from others’ experience can improve the chances of success. The most important thing is to carefully think through the people, policies, and procedures. Good luck!
Natalie joined Comms Business at Channel Live last year where she spoke about the trends she was seeing in the market, particularly around Customer Experience. You can catch that episode below
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