By Megan Hottman, Brand Evangelist, Quality Contact Solutions
The workforce continues to globalize. The ability to work from anywhere certainly has not lost its appeal in the last few years. Technology has made it possible for outsourced call centers to leverage a remote workforce both effectively and efficiently outside of traditional offices, which is great! Outsourced call centers gain a distinct advantage of being able to hire from different cities, gaining access to additional talent pools, decreased overhead costs and increased employee satisfaction.
Making the decision to leverage a remote workforce as part of your outsourced call centers strategy isn’t as easy as just “setting up shop”. Engaging and managing remote employees takes established processes, collaboration, communication, accountability and a leader who is actively available and is willing to help.
Process is key if your outsourced call center has remote agents
Good processes provide the shell for structure and direction with getting work done, especially when remote teams are spread across the country or world. It’s imperative for outsourced call centers to have procedures, with both remote and onsite employees, with day to day functions documented. What is the process for lead generation? What’s the appropriate way to facilitate a product demonstration for your company? Is there a certain sales methodology or philosophy that teams are required to follow? Your remote teams will flourish when processes are systematized and understood.
Collaboration is key if your outsourced call center has remote agents
Strong collaboration is essential when working with remote teams. Part of collaborating requires the emphasis of openness and the ability to adapt. Flexibility and communication are essential for effective collaboration in a remote environment with outsourced call centers.
Leverage teleconferencing, online meeting and file-sharing tools like Skype, WebEx and Slack, to name just a few. These allow you and your remote teams to connect with ease and are critical to have to help foster collaborative environment and to communicate. With the simple click of a button, employees and leaders from different parts of the country can use collaboration technology to communicate and ensure they are active, engaged participants in discussions. Equip your remote employees with the necessary resources to get the job done.
Communication is key if your outsourced call center has remote agents
Effective communication is one of the most important requirements for outbound call centers using remote workers. Your team should be able to and needs to communicate effectively and frequently regardless of being face-to-face, if it’s over the phone, using instant messenger, email or any other method.
Communication should be clear, precise and efficient. Sometimes we use fewer words to communicate in an effort to be efficient. Rushing through a discussion and not checking for understanding can lead to unnecessarily wasted time when your team tries to interpret your message. It’s critical spend the right amount of time communicating, being very clear no matter how you’re facilitating the message. Make sure to keep them informed on the status of business or important updates, to make sure that they are always connected with your company. Leave nothing to ambiguity.
Availability is key if your outsourced call center has remote agents
Being a successful manager with an outsourced call centers is still all about relationships with your team. No matter how far apart your team is, make time to get to know everyone, and include time for simple casual conversations to encourage people to interact. Managers need to foster relationships that show they’re invested in their team’s well-being and not just their results. Create an atmosphere where people can find help and support whenever they need.
Accountability is key if your outsourced call center has remote agents
Remote teams are still accountable to produce. Even though they aren’t in a traditional brick and mortar office, they are still accountable for what they are contributing to the team. Successfully led remote teams have meetings routinely, often weekly. These calls often include each team member providing an update on where they are at in terms of progressing towards their goal. This helps the team be on the same page with their individual targets. Consider using a block of time to allow the team members to ask for help and support from their peers as they are running into particular challenges. Regular meetings are great for brainstorming about strategies or complex sales challenges. Don’t let people face challenges on their own or feel like they are on an island.
Motivate and support your remote agents
Make sure to recognize the efforts and achievements of team members. This could be a video conference to share accomplishments of the team or of how someone turned a difficult situation into a successful sale. Perhaps someone used a tactic that was used to close a deal that was in the works for 12 months…whatever the case, celebrate it. The more accomplishments that are shared the more excited and enthused the team will be. They’ll use that motivation to help deliver the next big deal.
Megan Hottman is a Brand Evangelist for Quality Contact Solutions. You can reach Megan at https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganehottman/