Business As Usual…Blizzard And All.

This past week, we had an “epic” storm in the mid-west with snow up to two feet in some areas and two inches of ice here in Indianapolis.  Luckily, I work for a really cool company and we can work remotely when needed so “the storm” didn’t stop any of my normal work.  The ability to work remotely saved many companies during this past week.  And yet, with all the benefits of it, many people are still not comfortable with employees, much less contact center agents, working remotely.

The pros of working remotely are huge.  Lower real estate costs for office space and infrastructure, broader workforce availability with flexible efficient scheduling practices and business continuity during things like a blizzard are just a few.  The cons are typically related to managing and measuring employees along with the administrative challenges like training and ensuring remote employees become part of the company culture.  Which one is right for your contact center? 

I’d argue that contact center agents, probably more than any other role, can be measured to extreme levels with AHT, schedule adherence, quality, customer feedback and even first-contact resolution so measuring and managing them remotely isn’t the real problem.  It can be challenging to integrate remote employees into your company culture and to keep them updated through training and meetings but even those have their solutions in the industry. 

I think perhaps the largest challenge with having remote employees is learning to lead remote employees and being comfortable in an environment where everything is over the phone or via chat rather than being able to walk over and talk.  It is a different world, but one most contact centers should consider.  I’d love to hear from some of you on this.  How many of you already have remote employees?  What are some best practices you use to lead in the remote environment and what are some of the challenges you haven’t yet solved?

Troy Plott