4 Reasons Why Letting Call Center Agents Work Remotely Makes Sense

母乳avMy Post (8)While working remotely continues to grow in popularity, the decision to allow teams to work from home has typically presented more challenges for some areas of the business when compared to others.

母乳avNew communications apps have certainly made it easier for some employees to do their jobs from the comfort of their own home, but for some industries and positions, such as call center workers, working remotely grew more slowly as managers questioned whether the practice could lead to lower productivity. The?growth of cloud contact center solutions?in recent years, however, has quieted the discussion, as virtual contact centers have also seen?an uptick in popularity.

Below are four reasons why virtual contact centers make sense:

1) The cloud makes it easy to communicate with customers and co-workers from any location?

The anxiety that accompanies natural disasters and catastrophes brews an unprecedented number of inquiries into customer service organizations, overwhelming undertrained hourly workers or customer service agents.

During these times, customers seek new and immediate ways to interact with businesses, from wherever they are in the world, on their preferred devices and channels, especially digital ones.

Cloud platforms, offering software-as-a-service tools, have already revolutionized the way businesses share files, communicate within teams, manage supply chains, submit payroll, manage marketing, and much more.

Cloud-based contact center solutions offer the same revolutionary approach, unifying disparate offices and workers on a single system. It makes it easier to manage daily operations so you can focus on the experience you’re delivering and keep pace with the changing business landscape.

And with team messaging apps, questions can be answered quickly and efficiently, enabling remote workers to be just as effective as office staff.

RingCentral team messaging enables businesses to set up region-specific teams, so remote agents and staff at the home office can pop into the right team and ask experts for help. This makes communications run more smoothly and also keeps employees in the contact center and other departments better connected and feeling more like a team while better serving your customers.

2) Employees Are Happier and More Productive

Employee satisfaction leads to agent retention. Improving agent satisfaction and reducing attrition results in decreased operational and training costs and increases the quality of the customer experience. In fact,Retention rate for at-home agents is 80% vs. 25% for in-house according to Frost and Sullivan.

Contrary to popular belief, employees can actually be more productive when they’re able to work from home. Because they are in their own house, they are able to get more done in their personal life while getting their work tasks completed efficiently.

Feeling in control over their schedules allows for improved work/life balance. Additionally, the average age of an at-home agent is 38, compared to 23 for on-site agents, which suggests a higher level of professionalism to their job that enhances the quality of service delivered and ultimately increases customer loyalty.

3) Reduce costs

There are a number of ways?having a remote workforce can save your company money, but having fewer people in the office is definitely a major one. When you have employees in an office, you need to pay for rent, utilities, and equipment for them to use while at work. These expenses can quickly add up and become a major section of your budget.

Allowing your employees to work from home will give them the freedom to?choose where they work. Whether it is in a home office, at their dining room table or at a coffee shop down the street, the company itself is not responsible for the expenses. Plus, working from home reduces the costs associated with real estate, maintaining on-premise hardware, operational costs and more.

In a 2016 essay on “Does Working From Home Work?” a team of economists looked at Ctrip, a 16,000-employee Chinese travel agency that had assigned a small group of its call-center staff to work from home. Employees worked more, quit less, and were happier with their jobs. Meanwhile, the company saved more than $1,000 per employee on reduced office space.

If you’re looking to save money or cut your budget, getting rid of an office space is a great way to do that. You’ll realize very quickly how much you spend on office equipment, furniture, and supplies.

4) Hire the Best Employees, Regardless of Location

When hiring at-home call center agents, your labor pool widens beyond the geographic constraints of an office, and allows you to find top talent with unique skill sets. – Read more

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How to offer online services: A practical guide for businesses

My Post (7)It can be a challenge to shift traditional, in-person services to virtual services. But many small business owners will need to go digital while Americans practice?social distancing?because of the coronavirus.

Offering online services may help maintain your cash flow and pay the bills. They may also lessen the disruption to invaluable services, without which some could suffer physically, mentally, or professionally.

Mira Sternberg is one such service professional who’s learning how to help her clients in new ways because of the coronavirus. She and her colleagues at Express Professionals in Longmont, Colorado, recruit job candidates.

“Typically, I interview around 15 candidates in person and visit two to four client companies each week to conduct business reviews and facility tours,” Sternberg says.

But those services have changed since CDC and WHO recommendations went into effect. She and her co-workers are adapting to a world of social distancing in a field built on interpersonal relationships.

“We’re still open for business and committed to helping client companies and job seekers,” she says. “We’re conducting lots of phone interviews to keep our workforce full.”

Sternberg says her team is available to clients via phone, email, and even FaceTime or Microsoft Teams.

“Stay safe, but think outside the box. Just because you can’t do business the same way doesn’t mean you can’t be successful and provide the support and encouragement your clients need,” she says. “Make yourself available via phone, and don’t default to email. A conversation—just hearing another voice on the other end of the line—in this period of semi-isolation can mean a lot to a client who’s feeling the strain.”

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Offer to meet clients virtually in just about any space: on the phone, over email, or over a video conference. Consider services like FaceTime, Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts, and Skype.

2. Create a high-quality experience with the right technology

Make your virtual sessions successful by working somewhere with a reliable internet connection. Ensure privacy for your video-conferencing sessions by?locking your meetings?so that you don’t get any unwanted visitors.

3. Research virtual service options in your industry

Some counselors and therapists, for instance, are practicing teletherapy. Meanwhile, HIPPA-compliant apps can help healthcare professionals better communicate with patients via text. And when in doubt, many industries can use YouTube or Facebook Live or live Instagram videos to deliver client services.

4. Encourage group participation

Don’t limit yourself to one-on-one meetings—consider virtual meetings or group presentations as well. Some conferencing services have screen-sharing and whiteboard options, so you can write on your screen to demonstrate examples. Some video services and webinar platforms even have settings to mute attendees in a one-way presentation to avoid background chatter.

5. Tell your clients about your plans

If you’ve found a way to continue helping your customers in a virtual space,?let them know. Your new style of doing business might even work better for some clients. Think of it as a learning experiment for future use. Share your new online services proactively with an email, social media posts, or even a personal phone call. – Read more

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Unlocking the Cloud – It’s Not Just For Big Business

My PostIf you think the cloud is an expensive tool just for big businesses, it’s time to think again. There are many ways that it can benefit small companies, even providing them with the same technologies enjoyed by their bigger competitors. And with packages starting at less than ?40 a month (incl. VAT), it certainly isn’t expensive. So, here’s how the cloud can help SMBs.

Remote working

Applications that you host in the cloud can be accessed by you, or any employees you authorise, from any device connected to the internet. This can be anything from Microsoft 365 to software which has been specially created for your company. With these apps hosted in the cloud, your employees can work from home or stay connected while working in the field.

The cloud also enables you to offer more flexible working hours, helping you recruit and retain better staff; you can reduce office space, as fewer people need to be on-site; you can ensure field employees, like the sales team, always have the most up-to-date information about product availability; and you can monitor the progress of employees carrying out jobs like deliveries or home repairs, ensuring that customers are informed of pending arrivals or delays.

Better teams

Cloud-based software means your company isn’t restricted to employing team members who live within travelling distance of your premises. For many roles, cloud access means you can cast a much wider net and easily take on freelance workers to undertake short term projects.

What’s more, the teams you put together can collaborate much more effectively. You can store all your data in a centralised cloud repository, making it accessible to those who need it. Those individuals can then video conference, share synced files and work on projects using the latest team working apps.

The cheaper way to compute

Server technology is expensive and companies that need to invest in servers to run their operations are faced with capital expenditure on hardware, power costs, IT staffing costs and, for larger data centres, overheads associated with the actual premises.

By migrating computing workloads to the cloud, companies can eradicate many of those expenses. The hardware and power are provided by the hosting provider, as is much of the IT management, and there is no need for an in-house data centre. Indeed, even proprietary software licences can be less expensive when provided by your cloud host.

What’s more, the cloud also makes it far easier, quicker and much less expensive to scale up. Using in-house technology, a business would need to purchase a new server, configure it and then install the software before it could be used. This would be an expensive option that would take several days to become operational – not ideal if your company urgently needs more IT resources.

With the cloud, scaling up can be done at the press of a button. Quite simply, you can have all the additional resources you need, instantaneously, without the need for new hardware or configuration. Software installation would only be required if you wanted to use a new app. What’s more, any additional resources you needed above those included in your cloud package are only charged for on a pay as you go basis. So when you no longer need them, you stop paying for them; something you can’t do with a brand new server that you only need for occasional spikes in demand.

Advanced technology at your fingertips

It’s not just additional computing resources that you can have at the click of the button, with the cloud you can also have access to the latest technologies. The demand for cloud apps is such that there are applications of all kinds available, many of them open-source and free to use. What’s more, as they are designed especially for cloud environments, they can be installed in a single click.

This means digital transformation technologies, like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, communications platforms and chatbots, once the reserve of bigger competitors, can be affordably deployed by all companies, putting smaller businesses on an equal footing. – Read more