Spring training and remote agents?

My son Tate had a baseball tournament down in Arizona a few weeks back. My dad and son Ryan joined us, and we made an Alley guys’ Spring Training trip out of it. We had the time of our lives in what felt like baseball heaven. We basked in the warm desert sun bouncing between the Big League Dreams and Cactus League parks, watching our favorite players participate in America’s greatest pastime.

On the last day, we saw the strangest thing…

As we walked into Giants stadium in Scottsdale, we noticed everyone wearing agent headsets and talking on the phone while watching the game. In between calls, they shouted to their favorite players, chugged sodas and gobbled down hotdogs. However, it was all business when they were talking on the phone. Stunned, I turned to the guy next to me and asked what was going on. After placing his caller on hold, he explained, “It’s Remote Agent Day buddy. Anyone that takes their calls at the park gets free drinks and hotdogs! I have to get back to my call now or my AHT will go through the roof…enjoy the game.”

OK, just kidding around and having some fun…no need to check the GPS logs of your agents. :-)

However, the Alley boys did go to Arizona for Spring Training and I did experience something pretty unique on the tail end of the trip: an At Home agent Workshop put on by Michele Rowan of Customer Contact Strategies.

The workshop was designed to help those looking to deploy remote agents or improve their existing remote agent operation. It was one of the most worthwhile workshops I’ve attended. I highly recommend it for anyone serious about deploying remote agents. The sessions were targeted – going below the surface – and spread out across two days to provide plenty of room for collaboration. Michelle shared best practices and experiences, as did many of the companies attending. The folks at Support.com offered up a case study revealing how they successfully deployed 600+ remote agents to tap into a specialized, highly technical workforce. I had a chance to speak on behalf of Interactive Intelligence about the virtual contact center and the technologies enabling true location and device ubiquity, including: all-in-one architectures, VoIP, and virtual server and client technology. There was a ton of useful information shared. Here are a few areas I found particularly interesting:

  • Insight into the number of large, mission critical centers moving agents to the home
  • Making the business case – while cost savings are real, it’s no longer the primary driver
  • Methods for testing out the model to gain additional support and insight
  • How to access an untapped workforce of highly qualified and capable professionals to gain a competitive advantage and more stable workforce
  • The benefits of leveraging part-time workers, and strategies for managing them effectively
  • How to virtualize recruitment and training processes
  • Technology available to make the transition to remote agents more seamless

The group discussed each of these topics, and others, in detail and Michelle shared best practices and survey results designed to equip attendees with the ammunition they needed to make progress.

If the topic of remote agents is of interest to you, there are two additional resources you may find useful:

The Giants play the Cardinals tomorrow at 1:35pm. I just may bring my headset and laptop to ATT Park. I thought I read somewhere it was Remote Solutions Marketing Guy Day

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley is a senior solutions marketing manager for Interactive Intelligence. Since his employment in 2010, Jason has helped Interactive Intelligence develop market requirements and go-to-market strategies for contact center, customer experience, and cloud solutions. Prior to Interactive, he spent ten years consulting with large enterprise contact centers and suppliers for Vanguard Communications, and a company he later founded, SmartContact Consulting. Jason spent the first seven years of his career in sales, marketing, and product management roles working for Aspect, Hipbone, Nortel, and others. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.