Everything You Need to Know About running an At-Home Call Center

This week we are re going to be talking about everything necessary in order to have an at-home operation in the wake of COVID-19. We are going to take a look at everything from the computers we are using, how people are taking them home, how we are managing supervisors, doing QA, security, and so on.

Protecting your Equipment

It is obvious by now that everyone has moved to a virtual landscape. Everyone is in the Cloud (or almost everyone). We are allowing our employees to use our computers; therefore our take-home policy was one of the first documents we created before sending everyone home. This document outlines that the computer being given to them is only going to be used by them, for work purposes, during work hours. They understand that when their day is done, it must be locked down, and that if they leave the company with our hardware still in their possession, we hold their check until they return it; but we haven’t had any issues with that.

Importance if Supervisor Management

Our associates are divided into teams, and each team has a supervisor. Supervisor Management has taken a brand new role in terms of operation. Keeping in communication is the most important thing with our management/associate relationships. Every day the shift starts with the supervisor will have a video chat with their entire team. After that they chat one-on-one with each rep to establish individual goals. Throughout the day, our supervisors will touch base every 15 minutes and message in our chat groups small things like, “have a great day,” or “service levels look really good so far,” that sort of thing. Multiple, short touchpoints are more effective than less frequent, longer ones.

Checklists

It becomes difficult to stay on task while working from home, so we have found that checklists are a huge piece of policy procedure for us to utilize. Each of the supervisors with their team have a specific checklist that we have created. Everything from their morning meeting, making sure they have reached out to every single associate, that they have done a video chat with them, that they are monitoring a certain amount, to payroll and other organization.

Security

Before the associates take their computer home, we lock it down so nothing can be downloaded onto a flash drive or anything like that. We use LogMeIn to remote into a computer if we have any problem. We have virus protection on all their computers, but another topic is PCI compliance. If you have at-home agents, you are not PCI compliant. PCI compliance goes way beyond your hardware and firewalls; it goes into your policies and procedures as well. We have moved to an IVR system for collecting credit card information, so the agent never sees it. They only see the last four digits so they can verify and move on.

Dashboards

Dashboards become your lifeline considering you cannot control how your agents are working while they are at home. It is hard to enforce a no-cellphone rule when you cannot physically see them. Set up a dashboard to be configured in real time so you can see every everything from quality scores, service levels, handle time to occupancy, and unavailable time.

Employee Engagement

Are your employees having fun at home? There are a lot of different games we play and things we do through Slack to keep the enjoyment in our employee’s workday that they are otherwise missing while working from home. We play rock, paper, scissors, we host tournaments, and play cards. We had a game going on every day in our brick and mortar, and it is definitely more difficult to play games remotely. (I have an entire LinkedIn post about that if you want to check it out!)

Monitor MORE

Speech analytics go hand in hand with monitoring, and our monitoring tools have become more and more useful. Do everything you can possibly can to keep your quality standards up. One monitoring tool we use, that I like to call “The Voice of God,” is when you come into the headset to listen to the agent/customer interaction, you can talk to the agent and guide them without the customer hearing, or we can barge in. We have definitely been doing that a lot more since sending our workforce home.

That is how we have managed our new norm, and the most important aspect to take from all of this is that middle management is a much more important role now. Make sure you have a beefed-up middle management, we cannot stress that enough!

Want more call center operations content? Head over to our weekly call center operations podcast “Advice from a Call Center Geek!” at expiviausa.com/call-center-geek-podcast/

Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek

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