Article : Quality Management for Home Workstations
More and more contact centers are establishing home workstations for their agents to overcome geographical restrictions and recruit qualified staff. By doing so, they can reduce costs for labor, floor space and capital expenditures. However, to successfully implement home workstations, contact centers must update their hiring philosophy and ensure home agents feel like part of the team. Home agents also pose new challenges for comprehensive quality management (QM) and training to improve service levels.
Every contact center must evaluate their agents regularly to determine skills and training needs. Obviously, side-by-side coaching is not an option for agents working from home, and it must be virtualized. Moreover, contact centers with home agents should use the same virtual process to evaluate on-site agents for consistency and comparison purposes.
Virtual Agent Evaluation
Agent calls may be evaluated unhurriedly online by recording a representative sample in advance through statistical recording rules such as "record 10% of each agent’s calls" or "record calls from 9am to 12am." Moreover, screen activities can be monitored online to evaluate the use of tools and wrap-up time. All recordings should be handled with secure technology to protect sensitive customer data and agent privacy.
Virtual evaluation lets supervisors make evaluations on their own schedule regardless of the agents´ working hours. They can consider more calls and pre-filter them to focus on the really relevant ones. Supervisors can search for calls with special keywords or use emotion detection to evaluate critical situations with unsatisfied customers.
Evaluations will render more accurate results by avoiding the pressure of a supervisor peering over an agent’s shoulder. Agents never act the same during side-by-side coaching, and this tendency can be eliminated through an online evaluation process.
Online QM systems also let supervisors comment on recorded calls and tag these comments to the recorded file. Thus, the supervisor can delve into good or bad agent technique with detailed explanations.
Agents receive their own system login so they can access their recordings from home and review evaluation results. By replaying their calls at the same time, the supervisor’s evaluation becomes transparent and comprehensible.
Some online QM solutions let agents provide feedback, confirm or reject supervisors’ comments, or request a personal conversation, either through an appointment on-site or with a webcam. Re-evaluation with a mediator provides an additional option.
Most importantly, all personal meetings can be reduced to a minimum to avoid needless travelling.
eLearning to perfect the virtual QM process
Virtual evaluations can be supplemented by on-site training and coaching or through customized training packages online. Home agents could access these packages from any location via their QM system login. They can work through the lessons whenever they feel most receptive, thus making the learning process much more enjoyable. Supervisors can assign online quizzes to determine whether the content has been adequately understood.
In addition, best practice calls can be researched and used to make training more relevant. Contact centers will benefit from targeted training instead of mass instruction. If necessary, virtual classes will reduce the number of trainers needed.
If implemented wisely, home workstations will facilitate the hiring of qualified staff and reduce on-site costs. Quality management will become more objective despite the spatial distance, and agents will become more involved in a customized training process. They will feel more flexible when working at home while remaining an integral and valued member of the team.
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About Verena Wissel:
In 2011, Verena Wissel joined ASC as a Product Manager to identify and analyze customer needs for quality management software and speech analytics. She holds a Masters degree in information science and engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany.
ASC is a worldwide software company with a variety of solutions to record, analyze and evaluate communications. All multimedia interactions in contact centers, financial institutions and public safety organizations are documented and analyzed. The content of communications becomes transparent, critical information is generated and market trends are revealed, providing real-time business intelligence for immediate management action. With subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, the United States, Brazil, Japan, Singapore and Dubai, as well as certified and vastly experienced distribution partners, ASC’s ambitious projects span more than 60 countries. Headquartered in Germany, ASC is a global player with an export quota of almost 70 percent and a worldwide service network.
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2015