In August 2020, KM World published a new article called “The Call Center of the Future: WFH is Here to Stay.” The article pointed out that not only did the majority of call centers switch to remote work last year, call volumes during the pandemic increased exponentially. Instead of causing these new remote call center teams to fall apart, their productivity increased.
This shouldn’t have been surprising; there was data available that showed remote customer service teams are 13% more productive than traditional call center staff. But to reap the benefits of a fully remote call center, organizations must have call center communication tools that enable the virtual worker. This blog will look at some of the most important call center tools that your remote workforce will need to achieve that kind of productivity in a virtual setting.
Call Center Communication Tools for Remote Workers
Different challenges come with transitioning a call center team into a remote workforce. But as long as your team has the right call center management software with the right features, productivity isn’t one of them.
Call center communication tools alleviate the challenges of working at home by creating better workflows both for your staff and customers. Here are a few of the best call center tools that you may want to employ—if you haven’t already.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
IVRs allow your remote employees to record a personalized greeting as callers are routed through the call center management software. The caller can utilize menu options with their phone keypad or even use speech recognition to route their call. IVR systems are particularly good at increasing customer support and satisfaction during times of high call volume.
Customers can self-select simple tasks instead of waiting for an agent. An IVR can be designed to route the right call to the right remote agent. For example, a caller with a billing question could go to an expert in that area. Alternatively, a Spanish speaking caller could route to a call center worker skilled in that language.
Caller Information Display
In a call center setting, there is so much more to caller information display, commonly called “caller ID,” than in a non-professional setting. Caller ID pops up the phone number that’s calling for most cell and landline users. But in a professional call center setting, caller ID leverages call center management software to do so much more. For example, your remote call center worker can see:
- The customer’s call history
- What they’ve purchased in the past
- Address information
- Age, gender, and, of course, the phone number they’re calling from
Caller ID is a very useful tool for remote workers who can see at a glance the customer profile and then adapt their response accordingly.
One of the challenges of remote work is that these employees may not have the same kinds of tools and resources available that they would have in a call center setting. But modern call center tools allow integration with just about any type of digital equipment. This is especially true of the latest voice over internet protocol (VoIP) software that easily adapts to any environment. The benefit for your customers and employees is that there is a seamless integration between platforms so that everything works together smoothly without unnecessary added steps.
Call conferencing tools are a great help in providing customer care. Call conferencing works by letting more than one customer service agent come onto the call to help the customer. These tools work well at home or in a remote setting just as they would in a call center. For an at-home employee, this means help with a difficult customer problem is just a phone call away. For the customer, the call conferencing feature ensures that their problems are more likely to be solved on the first try.
Whisper coaching has been a phenomenal tool for teaching new remote call center staff the skills they need to do the job. Whisper coaching is a call center communication tool that is just like walking around the call center and giving feedback to an employee. While the customer doesn’t hear what the call center manager is saying, they may be behind the scenes (and on the line), “whispering” some important tips such as:
- How to go for the close
- When to ask another question
- What information could help answer the question
- When to hang up the call
Whisper coaching is a form of call monitoring, which is in and of itself a useful remote work tool to use. Being able to monitor what’s going on during the call, then having a manager coach the call center staffer is an efficient and smart way to ensure better customer service every single time.
Call Recording Software
It may feel a little odd to realize your calls are being monitored, but it is a standard part of traditional call center operations. Monitoring can be set up for the remote worker in the same way that you manage an on-site call center worker. Recording has been used for decades as a way to measure performance, train teams, and create documentation of the call itself. When your call center agents assume someone is listening, we know the quality of the call elevates.
Today’s call center management software works just as well with a remote employee as on-premise. Managers use call center reporting tools to track key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure a high rate of efficiency and customer service on every call. Just because your call center employee goes remote doesn’t mean you still can’t track critical KPIs like:
- Number of inbound calls fielded per hour, by day, or some other metric
- Number of outbound calls your agent makes by day or hour
- Average wait times
- Average call lengths
- Number of sales or upsells
- Number of escalated calls
While these are just a few of the standard call metrics, it gives you a good idea of what’s possible for remote workers in your virtual call center. All of these features, and more, are available in a standard modern VoIP platform. VoIP service is a cost-effective and efficient way to route calls to your remote workforce. Call routing features can send incoming calls to the employee’s desktop or laptop or a VoIP desktop handset. If you’ve moved your call center into a remote environment, or are considering it, consider business VoIP with VoIP First Media. We offer all of these features and more in conveniently priced packages to fit your business. Call on us.