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Best Practices for Agent Management in Virtual Contact Centers

Tips for Effective Call Center Agent Management
There are many significant benefits associated with virtual contact centers. For example, having agents spread across multiple geographic regions and time zones can allow for broader availability and greater continuity of service at all hours of the day and night. Additionally, a virtual contact center can minimize real estate costs, and free up valuable office space for other, more important corporate uses.

But, a virtual contact center can present tremendous challenges when it comes to agent management. Supervisors may find it difficult to evaluate the performance of representatives who don’t reside in the same physical location, or provide them with the kind of constructive feedback they need to excel in their jobs. Or, remote agents may lack access to the information they require to properly answer questions and address issues.

However, there are many call center software solutions on the market that facilitate more effective management of remote agents within a virtual contact center environment. These applications make it easier to monitor agent activities, assess the performance of representatives, and ensure that everyone, everywhere, has the tools and data they need to service customers to the best of their ability.

Some of the call center software solutions that are most recommended to promote better agent management in virtual contact centers include:

Call Recording and Monitoring
With the call recording and monitoring capabilities of today’s call center software packages, supervisors can hear for themselves how agents handle customer problems. Both inbound and outbound interactions can be recorded, for review at a later date. Or, team leaders can listen in “live”, hearing agent interactions as they happen. This, in turn, facilitates more accurate performance evaluations, and gives managers the ability to more rapidly identify skill gaps and training needs that may require immediate attention.

Controlling how agents handle certain types of conversations can be nearly impossible in a virtual contact center environment. Yet, this is particularly important when it comes to outbound, sales-type interactions, where ensuring that representatives properly present promotions can be critical to the success of the campaign. Call center software with scripting functionality helps to guide agents – even those in remote locations – through a call, so they know exactly what key points need to be made, and how to convey the value of the offer.

Online Training
Ongoing training is crucial to the success of every call center agent. But in virtual contact centers, gathering all agents together at a single facility to conduct training can be costly, and can result in significant downtime that can hinder service quality.

Many call center software packages provide online training capabilities, so remote agents can expand their skills and gain new knowledge conveniently from their branch or home offices. This allows managers keep their entire network of agents up-to-speed on all new promotions, products, and frequently asked questions, and help them “refresh” their communication and problem-solving skills – without incurring high expenses or negatively impacting productivity.