Can you provide some key tips for managing remote customer service agents?
Managing at-home customer service agents requires the typical threesome - people, process, and technology. A key to success is to have a clear reason for doing at-home agents in the first place. For example, are you going to close facilities and therefore save costs? Are you trying to increase agent retention? Or gain more flexibility in staffing to meet demand? Without a clear strategy, its difficult to succeed with home agents.
Beyond the strategy, there are many cultural, HR, technical, and legal decisions that need to be considered. Experts within your company need to participate in defining the program policies and procedures for things like the work space, equipment, visits (you to the agent site, or the agent to the center), pay levels (are they paid more or less than an on-site agent?), information security, etc. Once those policies are in place, the management practices that fit for your environment can be defined. The good news is that technology lets you monitor and manage the performance - productivity and quality - of the remote agent just like they were on site. But management of those agents will differ based on where they are relative to the center and the policies you put in place. Since home agent activity is increasing, there are articles to read and references to talk to about successful programs. You can also tap resources like those below:
Gil Gordon - Gil Gordon has focused on telework programs for over 20 years.
The Telework Coalition is an organization that is working to support and promote telework - including lobbying and working with corporations and individuals.
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