How to Successfully Motivate Your Remote Contact Centre Team

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Introduction

The flexibility of working from home became even more apparent in the past twelve months. For many, it was not even the normality before offices shut and work patterns became staggered for the few that depended on travel to conduct business. For contact centres, this was no different. In this case, organisations have had to balance coordinating their virtual teams and arranging agents who wish to return to the office.

Employers have been focusing on what employees are accomplishing instead of where they’re doing it. As long as the work gets done, they realise it does not matter where the employee is located. Managers communicate job responsibilities and direction clearly, provide the resources their employees need, and then stand back and trust them to do the work. But what else has impacted the contact centre industry in the past year?

We asked leading experts to define how contact centres can evolve to the next level by addressing specific pain points.

The growth of remote work

In recent years, remote work has grown 44%. A significant step-up has been handing team individuals more personal time, boosting team spirit, increasing productiveness, and reducing tension in workers.

Michael Brandt

“The current WFH situation has increased the challenges for line managers immensely, but that doesn’t mean that all the sensible resource-management rules learned or gathered through years of experience should be discarded.”

- Michael Brandt, Founder & CEO, CX-Excellence

By now, you probably know of the results of remote work on current employees, yet the other point to consider is the benefits of recruiting for your expanding team in the coming months. Now, more than ever, you can evaluate candidates from further afield with the skills you are looking for. Remote teams can expand instantly, and the lure of remote work within a job description facilitates a more diverse range of candidates for those roles.

Marianne Rutz

“The home office is here to stay...and if we have not succeeded to think about it in the past twelve months, if we have not introduced changes or even think that it will somehow work, then we are too late!”

- Marianne Rutz, Founder of Rutz Consulting

Moving forward further into the future of work, a hybrid work framework – a mix of remote, semi-remote, and in-office workers – allows organisations to build around technology, digital platforms, innovation, efficiency, and resilience. From time zones to locations, employee experience to customer experience, hybrid working is likely to remain an essential element for businesses supporting end-to-end customer journeys.

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Using the right strategies, tools, and processes

When customer service representatives have the tools they require, customers have a better customer experience, which is a top requirement. 75% of customers want to have consistent experiences, no matter which department they’re communicating with.

Contact centre technology endues agents to deliver a more refined customer experience with omnichannel flexibility. It allows them to preserve the conversation with customers so that they can resolve questions faster. Moreover, these tools help representatives obtain vital contextual information which they otherwise would not have.

Transitioning from a fixed location to a remote one is not easy for many reasons, several of which can be easily solved. It might start by enabling agents with a laptop and the necessary tools. You can explore the plethora of apps that allow flexible working with increased team connectivity when swinging by their colleagues’ desk is not possible.

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Build stronger relationships within your team

Teams face challenges with creating cohesion and building up camaraderie when at a distance, so finding ways to fill the gaps is vital. In this case, make sure teams can create groups and encourage meetups when it is safe to do so, to bring together the interpersonal skills or break time at the end of a video meeting for a coffee.

For new hires, encourage them to engage with a team member who can be their designated mentor, allowing them to connect and help each other or connect to colleagues with similar interests.

Michael Brandt

“Working remotely means that staff, more than ever before, need to know they are appreciated and trusted. Without daily interaction with peers, they have no more points of reference. Treat one-on-ones as coaching sessions, directed more towards maintaining and improving performance levels rather than “checking up”. As a line manager, don’t forget that working from home brings its own challenges for staff. And line managers should be open to addressing these issues in their regular one-on-ones.”

- Michael Brandt, Founder & CEO, CX-Excellence

Demonstrate to your remote teammates that there are sufficient opportunities to connect with you and address issues. Urge them to hold one-on-one video conversations where possible and look for moments that allow them to express themselves

Marianne Rutz

“A 15-minute conversation = results! Three 15-minutes conversations per day with three employees, colleagues, clients can achieve more than 60 minute one to one! However, you have to keep at it!”

- Marianne Rutz, Founder of Rutz Consulting

The key to leadership in remote work

Meetings with employees are essential not only for team building but also for leadership. With a regular exchange, you can address the problems and difficulties of your employees or your teams. If you have issues, find a solution together and support your employees. It’s essential also to mention the things that are going well so that your employees feel valued and motivated.

Michael Brandt

“You can also use workforce management to plan 15 minutes a day for superiors, which you can use with each employee for advice and troubleshooting. The daily exchange is important to support employees and to guarantee their efficiency.”

- Michael Brandt, Founder & CEO, CX-Excellence

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Not only is general feedback important, real-time feedback and instructions at the right moment are also essential to support your employees. Give them the right advice and thereby help them to continually work on themselves and grow.

Since there is no direct contact with colleagues and no social contact with working remotely, employees can feel a strong sense of isolation and insecurity. For this reason, it is suggested that you communicate more to counteract the negative feelings.

Marianne Rutz

“Not every employee is suitable for the home office! It is up to us managers to recognise this and to create the best workplace for each employee - whether at home or in the office!”

- Marianne Rutz, Founder of Rutz Consulting

Conclusion

Creating a sustainable condition for workers to succeed in the new world will demand interpersonal and technological communication to be reliable for a dispersed team to thrive. 

For those who have yet to implement strategies in advance of this period, time is of the essence to improve the fine-tuning of your organisation.

To bring forth these developments and make the most out of a remote team, the first step is to give them ways to communicate and collaborate as if they were in an office.

Expert advice on how to meet customer expectations, manage remote employees and set agents up for success.
Robert Morrissey

Author

    Robert is a Content & Creative Specialist for RingCentral, producing content and gathering insights from experts worldwide to help companies deliver exceptional customer experience and service in an omni-digital world. His creative work extends to previous experiences as a music journalist and content creator in titles based in Ireland, France and the UK.

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