Prepping Your Remote Call Center Agents for the Holidays

by Alissa Pagels-Minor

Preparing Your Remote Call Center Workforce For The Holiday Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! Most businesses, especially E-commerce stores, are coming up with strategies to capitalize on opportunities that come with them.  According to  Adobe Digital Insights in 2019, sales increased by 13.1% with consumers in the USA spending more than $142.5 billion dollars between November 1 and December 26 online. This number has been rising since 2016.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only been a health hazard but has caused a disruption in the operation mechanism of businesses across industriesTo counter the possibility of complete annihilation, many businesses have had to adjust how they function. Most businesses have had to abandon their workplaces and resort to remote working. In fact, According to research by Gartner, 88% of businesses worldwide encouraged employees to operate from their homes. Thus many technologies and solutions have arisen to help businesses with their digital transformation in the midst of the pandemic.

But, one of the trends has caught the eyes of major research firms such as Techavivo and Gartner: Speech analytics. With a projected growth of $2.7 billion between 2019-2023,  18% CAGR, Voice analytics is expected to help many businesses revolutionize their Customer Experience (CX) hence increasing efficiency in their remote call centers for maximum ROI.

Do you want to capitalize on opportunities that come with the holidays to increase productivity in your remote call center workforce during the upcoming holiday season by using voice analytics and other management hacks? Well, this article helps you prepare for the holiday season by showing you how to jump over every hurdle that your call center workforce may come along.

Problems That Are Likely To Face Remote Call Center Workers During the Holidays

The holidays are unpredictable and can work, either way, increase your sales and ROI, or destroy your customer experience. The best way to be on the winning side is by having a solid customer service plan. Depending on the industry you operate in, you are likely to experience different call volumes.

 Due to the pandemic, customer service will mostly be remote, which is quite overwhelming for agents. This can be disastrous in many ways. Here are some of the problems that are likely to face remote call center workers during the holiday season and how you can tackle them:

1. Increase in Workload

This should be the first component of your strategic plan to provide your customers with a good customer experience.  During the holidays, there will be a great increase in ticket volumes and inbound calls. This means that your workforce would have to be flexible to handle as many cases as possible while maintaining good customer experiences.

Customer experience in this case is vital because customers are likely to abandon transactions or go to online platforms to complain about your services. Not all customers are empathic and understand the increase in call volume. After all, they all expect the normal support they get on off-peak seasons. To avoid this, you may need to add more staff to your remote workforce or re-adjust your agents’ working hours. Increasing the hours puts your agents at risk of burnout, and adding more untrained workers to your team may lead to a poor customer support experience. 

Here are several solutions that your company may use to make sure the workforce steps up their game during such occasions. 

 

Analyze Your Data

Making data-driven decisions is always a good way to capitalize on opportunities. Before the holiday season kicks in, you should analyze your speech and text data, and come up with strategies that can help you handle the traffic in a convenient way. 

VoiceBase speech and text analytics can prepare your workforce by providing you with rich insights from your voice and text data that will help you tap into the heart of the problem, resulting in increased sales.

Use Omnichannel Support Systems

If you want your business to satisfy and retain new customers, this is a must-have solution. This system helps your agents handle the peak seasons efficiently. The Omnichannel system involves using different support systems  such as:

  • Self-service
  • Chatbots
  • Live Webchat
  • Social Media
  • SMS
  • Emails

For instance, FAQ and well-coded chatbots are a great way to deal with queries that do not need the attention of agents. This helps spare agents the time and energy of answering the same questions over and over hence improved productivity.   

Something To Keep you Going When Chaos breaks loose:

Sometimes, not even the most talented team can handle the traffic. This is where all managers and other related professionals may jump in to help the remote workforce handle the crisis. Another way to improve efficiency, in this case, is by providing agents with emergency scripts.  You can increase the effectiveness of the emergency scripts by sourcing insights from speech and text data using voice analytics. For instance, you can analyze calls from customers who called in angry and ended up in a good resolution. You can look for texts and calls with different metrics as well, to help you come up with a winning script. 

2. Demotivated Remote Call Center Agents

Remote call centers can have a ton of benefits when it comes to the individuals involved including flexible working hours, time to be with family, and also the conveniences that come with remote working. However, it is a difficult task for businesses to have a guarantee that their agents would provide customers with high-quality support. This is mainly due to the negatives that come with working from homes such as poor networks and gadgets, distractions from social media and people around them, and many other challenges. 

All of this coupled up with the craziness that comes with customers over the holidays may lead to extra emotional distress. Agents may end up unleashing on customers as a result. It is therefore important to make sure that you implement strategies to ensure that your agents are mentally prepared to handle anything that is thrown at them. Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your agents motivated.

Improving Agent Experience (AE)

Agent Experience is the pivot of Customer Experience. To improve customer experience, there is a need to invest in your agents. Good agent experience also gives them the motivation to overcome challenges that they may face during the process. 

Here are a few suggestions that can help you get the best performance out of your agents: 

Finding the Right Technology

Businesses should find technologies that aim to improve their agents’ experience. Some technologies you may want to consider include collaboration monitoring tools, text analytics tools, speech analytics text analytics, and many others. Collaboration tools help your team to communicate effectively, while text analytics and speech analytics help you to use data in improving agent experience and customer experience.

Businesses can also use speech analytics tools to monitor performance and spotting loopholes in customer support affecting conversions thus implementing strategies to fix them before the holiday seasons arrive. 

Investing In Training

According to research by LinkedIn, 94% of employees are likely to stay in a company longer if they are provided with a learning platform. For your agents to perform, they need training. They need to be able to handle any situation that is thrown to them. However, it will not be wise to just train them for the sake of training, it needs to be effective. One approach you may decide to take is using Voice and Speech analytics to highlight the main areas of concern. You can then train them based on insights you surface through voice analytics.

    call center agent gamification score card

    Gamification Is A Motivation Catalyst

    Another approach is to use gamification in remote call centers to improve motivation, thus increasing conversions. You can provide them with visibility on their performance, and reward the top performers with medals such as (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) which can be redeemed. Amazon and other Fortune 100 companies have implemented gamification in their business models and it’s doing wonders. This will also help your remote workers improve their learning and spark some positive competitiveness in them. 

    Some Other Ways To Improve Their Motivation is by: 

        • Listening to your agents’ suggestions and implementing them when appropriate
        • Giving them well-defined and attainable goals
        • Integrating company culture that makes them happy 
        • Career paths are effective in improving learning and hard work
        • Adapting operation methods that increase optimism in the team
        • Keep tabs on team members

    3. The ‘Minor’ Problems Worth Mentioning

    Many Technology Solutions in Play

    In an attempt to be in control of customer experience, call centers may have a multitude of software solutions. Some software may include VPNs, Cloud collaboration technologies, email chat providers, and many other technologies. All of these software solutions can be empowering or overwhelming, depending on the agent’s training and ability. 

    Limited Resources Available To Some Agents

    Not every remote agent can afford or have access to resources such as fast internet connections, fast laptops or computers, and a good workspace. This may affect the performance of the remote call center agents. One way businesses can solve this is by giving some form of commissions to remote workers so they can have access to resources. 

    Difficulty in Providing The Right Support to Customers

    This is another reason for concern for workers. It is very difficult to provide customers with the best support during the Covid-19 pandemic. Customers have become more demanding than ever before. To make sure your agents provide your customers with the best support, it is important to keep track of metrics that make up for a good customer experience. You can achieve this by using solutions such as VoiceBase, to cut right into what customers need by using the right speech and text insights to make decisions and formulate strategies. 

    The holiday season can be a taxing time for customer success and customer support teams, but with the right tools and practices in place, it can be more manageable and profitable for enterprise contact centers

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