With the recent COVID-19 transpiring all across the globe, people and industry alike are acclimating to the “new normal”. With strict social distancing regulation, this makes commuting to work really hard, almost close to impossible, even. As a result, many firms are forced to make their employees work from home, or WFH for short.
This also holds true for almost every contact centers all across the planet. In saying this, let us focus more on the target topic: the agents. Right now, majority of the contact center agents are working from home. And in the time they spent working from home, they have already experienced their own fair share of problems.
First of all, working alongside your household members can be somewhat of a distraction, so agents will have a hard time focusing with their work with other people around. Additionally, agents also face the problem of balancing personal duties and their jobs, as well as taking care of their child/children if they have one/them.
Conversely, some agents working from home do not have any family members or companions with them; they are alone in their own homes. In a blog published by Thrive Global, they stated that 87% percent of those working from home alone are now struggling with loneliness and social isolation.
To summarize, WFH contact center agents experience various problems, depending on their situation at home. As a result of WFH, they experience excess fatigue, lessened motivation to work and satisfaction, and reduced engagement.
“So, what steps does a contact center have to do to keep WFH agents happy and engaged?”
Here are 3 key steps contact centers must do to keep their WFH agents happy and motivated:
1. Manage their shift and workload carefully
Naturally, many are still adjusting to the WFH situation. This is especially true for the contact center agents. So, they will obviously be inclined to needing support from their respective employers. And, as the employer, it is your responsibility to carefully evaluate how you can manage your agents’ workload and schedules.
Furthermore, you should also make sure that you assign only suitable tasks for each of your agent; carefully assess how you can distribute the workload between all of the agents you are handling. The best way to do that is assigning tasks to them based on their strong points; in other words, give out tasks which are suitable to the corresponding agents. Provide reports to manage their shifts carefully and efficiently.
Pay attention to them and regularly ask how you can support them in any way you can. After all, boosting their morale at these trying times is critical to the success of the contact center’s work from home setup.
2. Provide them with the appropriate tools and technology
Many contact centers abruptly stopped their operations on-site and made their agents WFH without careful and thorough planning. Remote work, as a result, is made harder for the agents because of this. Many agents were half-baked working from home because of the lack of proper technological tools they can easily use on their establishments. In saying this, contact centers should properly invest in providing their agents tools and technologies for their convenience.
Examples of helping keep the WFH agents happy and engaged include providing them a single screen integrated solutions and easy interface to avoid increasing the time of call resolutions, damaging customer satisfaction, increasing costs, and frustrating your agents. This will certainly help ease the agent’s time in working from; this WFH strategy will also ensure that the business will continue even without doing customer services tasks through a physical contact center.
3. Be more compassionate as an employer
Lastly, to keep your WFH contact centers agents happy and engaged, you as an employer should have more empathy to your agents; let’s face it, no one expected to face a situation like this. Expect a few mistakes here and there. So, it is up to the employer to set things straight in the most emphatic way possible.
In these times of inevitable confusion, you must be considerate. Of course, you should not tolerate mistakes; but, you can make a small exception this time around and allow your agents to cope with the “new normal”. After about some weeks – or months, depending on the situation, expect things to become much smoother than the initial period of adjustment. Your agents will learn from their experienced mistakes with the continuous innovations and iterations in that time frame.
Thinking of and implementing ways on how to keep your WFH contact center agents happy and engaged is hard. Sacrifices will surely be made. As such, all is not lost; with a little bit of patience and carefully-planned executions, your contact center agents will eventually pick up the pace and do their assigned tasks efficiently.
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