Ten Tips for Optimizing Your Remote Voice Agents
The effects of COVID-19 continue to evolve on a day-by-day basis. With all the change and uncertainty going on right now, how do you ensure your business can maintain business as usual (or as close to it as possible), and minimize disruption in your contact center operations?
Shifting to a remote agent workforce may already be a reality for you. If not, it’s more than likely you’ll need to think about transitioning in the very near future. We understand you have concerns about data security, compliance, and managerial operations. And we know you’re looking for ways to ensure a more seamless process when shifting your voice agents to a work-from-home model.
Here’s the good news: Voice is easier than ever.
Here are the top 10 considerations we recommend employing in an environment where working from home is the new normal.
1. The Cloud, The Cloud, The Cloud
Look for a contact center solution that is based in the cloud. The limitations of on-premise contact center solutions have never been more clear than at this very moment when your agents are prohibited from going into the office.
With a cloud contact center provider, your agents should be able to operate from anywhere. You can empower them to operate and perform with the same efficiency as if they were inside your contact center.
As long as your agents have a high-speed internet connection, a computer with audio capabilities, and access to a modern web browser, modern cloud technology enables agents to make and take calls the same way as they would in the office.
2. Consider Virtual Private Network (VPN) Access For (Some Of) Your Agents
Contact center leaders have traditionally shied away from providing agents access to back-end systems while outside the walls of the contact center. However, many contact centers are adapting their perspectives on the topic given the potential for agents to be at home working for weeks or even months. Agents with VPN access are largely operating in a business-as-usual fashion, and contact centers have been successfully adopting the use of VPNs for a dedicated and more secure virtual connection.
When evaluating which of your agents need to have VPN access, map out the modifications to operating procedures that might be necessary based on business limitations and agent skill levels upstream and/or downstream.
3. Re-Evaluate What Your Agents Can See
Your at-home agents should be presented with screen pops to handle conversations without sacrificing customer security. If you don’t want agents to see every bit of data on their screens, they shouldn’t need to. And, modifications should be easy to make.
While you may minimize data exposure for certain elements, you may also want to think about increasing insight in other aspects. For example, consider empowering your agents with multichannel contact history so they’re able to get a holistic view of customer behavior.
By employing streamlined agent-friendly screen configurations, you can reduce or even eliminate the friction of transitioning to an at-home work environment, while also making agents more productive.
4. Update Your Workflows
Having a distributed agent population with different skill levels can create difficulties. Consider updating your workflows so that relevant calls can be routed to your qualified, skilled agents (in contact centers or with VPN access) from at-home agents without security.
For easier calls that don’t require significant data access, these could be routed to remote workers. For higher-level calls that demand more access, perhaps these calls remain with your agents inside the contact center. A virtual workforce opens up the door to almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to pooling resources more effectively.
5. Optimize your IVR/Self-Service
During this time of uncertainty, you may be experiencing an influx in inbound call volume as you simultaneously shift your agents to a remote environment.
To ease the pressure on your contact center, review your current IVR workflows. Ask yourself the following questions to see where you might have areas of opportunity:
- Can more be done to increase self-service?
- Is there timely information that can be presented in an IVR without needing an agent?
More automation through an IVR means less pressure on your agents. And less pressure on your agents means more bandwidth, reduced stress, and potentially a big uptick in productivity. It’s a win-win for both parties.
One area of low hanging fruit is to route customers into your Payment Portals.
6. Keep Agents Connected with Ticketing
Customers would rather not repeat their contact information and the reason for their call if they get transferred to different agents. Enable ticketing to function as a workflow between your voice agents and teams to ensure all key information is transmitted to improve customer satisfaction and reduce handle time.
And, give your management team the tools to monitor and measure hand-offs and resolutions so you can identify areas needing improvement.
7. Employ 100% Call Recording and Speech Analytics
You can only manage what you have insight on. With voice, call recordings are a fundamental and essential aspect of doing business.
Many contact centers have call recording capabilities, but they may not be comprehensive. In a work-from-home environment, the ability to record all calls—inbound, outbound, blended—end-to-end is essential to minimize the impacts of shifting to a remote environment.
Of course, that means you’ll suddenly have a massive amount of data. How do you possibly sift through it all? Think about layering on speech analytics to significantly automate and pinpoint instances for improvement and celebration.
8. Add Sight to Sound With 100% Screen Recording
In a remote environment, it’s crucial that you have visibility into the call audio itself. But it’s just as important to keep a pulse on what is happening on the agent’s screen during the call.
By seeing how the agent interacts on their desktop during the call, you’re able to:
- better evaluate performance
- uncover workflow inefficiencies
- identify training needs, and
- understand gaps in compliance.
Screen recording should also not just include the agent’s browser, but the entire desktop. This way, you get a holistic view of the call experience.
9. Establish a Scalable Feedback Loop
By its very nature, a contact center is an environment driven by continuous learning and communication. But what happens when your Voice agents are no longer an arm’s length away?
How do you maintain your connection with them? Consider setting up a feedback loop for agents to receive and give feedback.
To do this, leverage agent scorecards that incorporate both call and screen recordings. This can help managers personalize points of improvement for their agents.
Delivering these scorecards directly on the agent desktop helps streamline the review process, and opens the door to new incentive programs. By making reviews more efficient, and by making sure your agents are motivated, you’ll not only be establishing a scalable feedback loop—you’ll also reap the benefits of improving and optimizing your workflow.
Moreover, with configurable e-learning and scripting functions available at hand, agents can stay up to date, even in a dispersed environment. And best of all: agents can do an even better job staying on message.
10. Schedule Smarter and Organize Your Agents
Remote workforces can make scheduling more complex.
Yes, some agents may increase their availability by eliminating the time it takes to commute. But a remote work environment may also present additional challenges you weren’t expecting. For example, agents may need to balance childcare while working from home, or deal with a less-than-desirable workspace, or just plain old cabin fever.
You can’t anticipate every at-home challenge that your agents will face. But you can create a virtual and real-time scheduling model that is visible directly on the agent desktop.
All in all, the ultimate goal is to help create greater flexibility and understanding of who is working, and when so you can manage your expected call volume across your agent population.
There you have it—our top 10 strategies and tactics for optimizing your work-from-home operations for Voice agents. No one knows exactly what’s coming next in this environment of change and upheaval. Right now, uncertainty is the status quo. But one thing you can count on is that Voice is tailor-made for working at home.
With the right strategies in place, your transition to a remote work model can be less painful, more seamless, and will help unlock new ideas you can use to better optimize your agent workforce in the future.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.