Virtual agents are a quickly growing trend, forcing many companies to consider the option for their company. While there are a few compromises and downsides to having virtual agents, there are a host of advantages as well.
Not only are agents working from home shown to be more productive than those in a physical office space, they facilitate scheduling, typically have access to more bandwidth at home and are, in general, much happier with their jobs. The happiness may come from avoiding the daily commute, working in their pajamas or even a combination of the two. At the end of the day, adding virtual agents to your company is something to seriously consider.
For companies with a mix of in-office and virtual agents, it is important to balance the communication systems so that all employees are kept in touch with and up to date on all of the happenings of the company. The following three tips can help to ensure that virtual agents are kept in the loop.
With the power of technology, it is easier than ever to host a meeting in a virtual conference room. While all of the attendants of the meeting are not physically in the same location, they are able to interact, discuss and make decisions in the same way. Virtual meetings allow for real-time answers to questions that can be recorded and referred to at a later time.
Although virtual meetings can be helpful, it is often necessary to send more frequent updates than a bi-monthly virtual meeting, for example. For regular, periodic updates, email newsletters can be entertaining and informative. Whether they’re filled with animations, feel-good customer stories or more business related topics such as metrics and goals, email newsletters are a great communication medium.
Often, the virtual agents are not made up of managers or general upper management. It can be difficult to manage the communication with virtual agents if a person has never been one, so a good technique is to require managers to work at least one day per week from home. They will develop a different mindset and understand the needs of the virtual workers, thereby improving their overall managerial performance.
Through all of the trials and tribulations, it is important to remember that working remotely doesn’t mean working in isolation. Just because virtual agents are not physically present in an office space, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to contact managers or fellow agents whenever they need to. Whether it is less-than-happy customer or a personal concern, virtual agents should receive the same timely feedback as the other agents.
Maintaining this continuity can be one of the most difficult aspects to balance when working with both virtual and in-office agents. Once you find the most suitable balance for your company, you can start to reap the rewards of increased productivity and an improved overall happiness in the employees.
For additional software programs that can contribute to the success of your contact center, read about our workforce optimization solutions. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you improve your contact center!