Contact center agent works from home as supervisor coaches him and his child plays in the background.

Maintaining a Strong Performance Management Process with Remote Contact Center Agents

Maintaining a strong performance management process with remote contact center agents can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. On a regular day in the contact center, a supervisor will usually walk the floor, check on performance levels and coach agents face-to-face. In a remote contact center, performance management processes look a bit different, but the fundamentals remain the same.

So, what are some best practices for contact centers trying to maintain a strong performance management process with work-from-home agents?

Give Agents Real-Time Performance Visibility

Your contact center agents live in a world of instant news, social media and text messages at their fingertips 24/7. Nobody wants to get yesterday’s news today.  We all want to view news and updates in real-time.

So why should contact center agents have to time travel back to the days of delayed news/results when it comes to their performance at work? Receiving delayed results will only cause them to feel disconnected to their goals and overall company objectives.

It’s not only important for agents to receive real-time feedback -- supervisors and executives need it too! It enables them to create a strong performance management process for the entire organization and identify bottlenecks and pain-points in real-time.

Remote contact centers can deliver performance transparency to every person in the organization with real-time, personalized dashboards. They will be better equipped to motivate agents with continuous feedback, decrease supervisor workload in running reports and manually updating agents, and increasing agent engagement.

Watch this short video to see how Webhelp Nordic has strengthened their performance management process with inView Performance Management for CXone agent and advisor dashboards.

Create a system to Recognize, Reward and Repeat

It’s not as natural to recognize and reward contact center agents when you aren’t in the same room, but it is a vital part of a remote performance management process.

You can consistently recognize and reward agents through gamification. A gamification program can be as robust or simple as you’d like.

An example of a simple gamification strategy would be to choose a metric you can measure and at the end of every week, reward the top 10 agents with a prize that can be easily redeemed virtually, like a e-gift card or an hour early off on Friday.

A more robust, long-term gamification strategy to incorporate into your performance management process could consist of skill-based games varying in duration, from one day to as long as an entire month. Prizes could include virtual coins and gems that can be used to earn and purchase real items out of an online marketplace.

Pro Tip: When distributing rewards to remote contact center agents, it’s best to choose items that you can purchase on online and then ship them to your contact center agents for free without sender or receiver ever having to leave home. 

Rewards are important, but don’t forget about the power of simple recognition. According to an ICMI article, Dr. Debra Benston said, “Remote has a different dynamic. Needing a higher touch from leadership/team to offset the contact planned/incidental in the office to know they are valued and still part of the team despite geography.”

You can offer remote recognition that both boosts confidence and increases engagement by:

  • Awarding virtual badges to your agents
  • Sending an agent a quick message of encouragement online
  • Assigning an agent a special project to work on during down time
  • Displaying a leaderboard module on agent dashboards
  • Sharing an announcement about an agent every day like “Everyone congratulate Katie on hitting her ninety-day mark at the company!”
  • Sending agents a personalized thank you note straight to their mailboxes at home
  • Asking an agent to help coach a peer

 

Create a Positive Company Culture

A strong company culture is linked to improved employee engagement, increased productivity and higher profit margins, all of which are a key to performance management. However, maintaining your company culture looks different for a remote workforce, and takes more deliberate and thoughtful engagement with work-from-home agents. Here are a few things you can do to maintain a strong company culture from your living room.

  • Virtual lunches: Schedule a time once a week for employees to eat lunch together virtually using videoconferencing tools.
  • Virtual extracurricular classes: Set up a virtual extracurricular class once a month. For example: you could have a virtual meditation, painting or cooking class with your employees for an hour!
  • Group chats: Use team instant messaging and collaboration tools to create a place for your employees to promote friendly relations and/or discuss work issues. It should act as a hub for chit chat that would typically occur in the office.
  • Themed Days: Pick a few days out of the month to create a theme around. For example, you could have a Hawaiian theme day where all contact center agents wear Hawaiian shirts, you share a pia colada recipe and meet virtually during the last 20 minutes of the day to drink it and chat.
  • Share Daily, Positive Announcements from Leadership: Send announcements out to your team about birthdays, tenure marks, and little wins!

 

Turn on Your Webcam for Coaching Sessions and One-on-ones 

Don’t worry, your team won’t know if you are wearing a collared shirt on top and pajama pants on bottom. What’s important is that you are making face-to-face contact with your contact center agents and that they are making genuine connection.

When you speak with someone face-to-face, body language makes it easier to interpret their thoughts and feelings and address potential issues. For example, if a contact center agent has poorperformance, talking face-to-face to them about their performance is going to help you get down to the root of their problem more effectively to enhance your organization’s performance management process. The cover of a checklist that provides best practices for leadership moving contact center agents to work from home.

An email saying, “Your CPH is down from last week, what’s going on?” is a lot less genuine than a face-to-face conversation saying, “I noticed your CPH was lower than normal, are you doing okay?What can I do to help you get that up?”

Not sure where to start with video conferencing? Learn how NICE inContact has teamed up with Zoom to create an integrated cloud communications platform here.

When transitioning to a work-from-home contact center model, it’s important to adapt your performance management process to your new way of remote working. Whether it’s implementing a new rewards program, having more video conferences or giving agents real-time performance dashboards, the extra thought and effort you put in is worth keeping your agents happy and your customers satisfied.

For more tips on managing work-from-home agents, check out this checklist – and good luck on your new performance management process endeavors!

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