Workforce Management & Optimization

Should You Hire Remote Agents?

A trend that’s taking customer service centers by storm is hiring remote agents. Traditionally, a call center has been a physical office location where managers can work closely with agents to resolve customer problems. Today, better technology is making remote agents a viable and affordable possibility. Here’s a closer look at the trend and how remote agents can solve your most critical customer service issues.

Strong hiring process is critical: When hiring remote agents, take the time to enforce a strict recruiting process. Conduct multiple interviews, check references, and consider asking agents to model a couple of scenario customer support requests. When agents are remote, it is more difficult to provide direct supervision and mentorship. By investing more in the hiring process, you will be secure in the knowledge that you’re hiring top remote talent.

Invest in up-front training: Many of the call center managers I have interviewed underscore the importance of training to help remote agents succeed. In fact, if your typical training period is 1 full day, expect that a remote agent may require 2 days. Up-front training should include brand values, training, customer service protocols, and specific guidance on how to maximize your company’s technology resources. The more knowledgeable your remote agents are, the better equipped they will be to deliver a seamless customer service experience for your customers.

Look for previous remote experience: Some employees work well remotely, while others will struggle with time management, distractions, or interruptions from their home life. When hiring remote customer service agents, look for individuals who have held remote positions before. Not only will they understand the basic working structure of a remote position, but they will be more likely to succeed as they’ve already developed healthy work strategies to thrive in a home office. When evaluating candidates, look for agents who have held a remote customer service support position for at least 1 year.

Create a successful technology infrastructure: The right technology infrastructure is an essential component of helping a remote team thrive. From the right communications tools to the ability to quickly access company documentation, remote agents need technological support to stay connected to their managers, colleagues, customer resource information, and company policies. When designing your remote agent technology requirements, these will often include a dedicated landline, high-performance computer, and reliable Internet access. Beyond this, think about what enterprise-level tools you can invest in to help ensure your remote agents perform at or above the level of your in-house customer support team.

Remote agents can help you add capacity to your customer support or call center team without requiring the expense of additional office space. With a bit of up-front work during recruiting and training, it is possible to build a world-class team that can support your clients from anywhere.