The Virtual Contact Center: Operating Your Distributed CX Team

Feb 24, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Remote work is here to stay, so it’s vital to set up teams for long-term success

2020 changed the world in so many ways, and many of those changes will have lasting impacts — including the explosion in e-commerce and the massive adoption of remote and home-based working practices.

This means that we may never see a return to centralized call centers where agents work side-by-side in cubicles on fixed shifts. Many people would argue that this is great news for the industry. Edify’s global, cloud-native solution, Huddle, enables people to work from wherever they feel most productive and comfortable, so the technology is no obstacle to creating amazing experiences for your customers and teams.

Apart, But Still Part of Something

Even though most agent-based customer interactions center on one-to-one individual interactions, the experience of being part of a team is important. When you lose the subtle signals and buzz of a roomful of people engaged on similar tasks, motivation and productivity can easily suffer.

Therefore, it’s essential to create a sense of connectedness and culture, which may not happen spontaneously in a remote team. Think about the kind of behaviors and feelings you want to see across your agent pool, and design interactions to promote and encourage these — such as a sense of competitiveness in a sales team through targets and gamification, or a shared commitment to make a new product line a success. Even though the calls are private, you can find ways to make the work visible through data visualization and deliberate communications, such as regular team meetings.

You can use Edify’s unified communications (UC) tools to enrich those company- and department-wide communications too, such as making video calls the default for team meetings and product briefings. Integrated UC tools encourage individuals on a team to better connect with and relate to one another and feel part of something shared, even if they rarely or never meet face-to-face.

This all contributes to a strong and purposeful team culture, which will provide motivation on difficult days and make it easier for people to ask for help when they need it.

Support at a Distance

Dealing with those crucial but highly unpredictable people known as your customers demands a complex range of skills from each member of your CX team, and their support needs will vary just as every call varies.

Without the cues of body language across a shared phone room, you’ll need to rely on a combination of quantitative productivity metrics, a culture of psychological safety, and a little bit of intuition to know when to check in and offer support when it is needed. You can also agree on a signal (such as an emoji to flash in a shared messaging channel) that any agent can use to “shout for help” in real time, as in could an available supervisor please log in to this call to offer whisper feedback or direct intervention. You’ll need to nurture practice around this kind of public asking for help to ensure it is utilized without stigmatization.

Call recordings and chat records will also help in identifying any remedial training or correction that might be needed — and ensure that, just because you cannot see your agents directly, their professional development needs do not get neglected, as they deepen their call handling skills and product-specific expertise.

The Future is Already Here, and It’s Remote

Setting up your distributed CX operation for success is essential, and if you design workflows and communications practices intentionally around the outcomes you want, you’ll be leading a team of highly motivated and engaged professionals who get to live and work in the location of their choosing, without spending time and money traveling to a central location. 

Providing Edify’s intuitive and flexible cloud-native CX tools will help you ensure consistent performance, professional competence, and shared motivation — which all leads to the most important outcome of all: delighted customers, who love the way it feels doing business with you.


Written by Edify

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