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Our experience in efficiently managing remote contact center agents

Call center remote work

According to leading research companies, customer service specialists are second only to IT professionals in terms of the number of remote workers. This is not surprising, as the development of VoIP telephony and virtual PBX technologies enables omnichannel customer support from almost anywhere in the world. For this reason, «remote call center agent» positions have been among the most popular remote jobs on the job market for several years.

On the one hand, it all looks quite promising. Companies save the cost of office rent, employees can work in comfortable conditions without having to spend money and time commuting to the office. However, there is one caveat: how to effectively manage remote contact center employees?

Our experience managing remote agents

The outsourcing contact center Global Bilgi is one of the largest employers in Ukraine offering jobs for call center agents. Therefore, our interlocutors today are project managers from Global Bilgi, who will share their experience and thoughts on effective management of remote customer service agents. We asked our colleagues three questions:

  • What are the main issues you personally face when managing remote agents?
  • What tools and practices help you better manage your remote workers?
  • What is the most important thing for a project manager when managing remote agents?

Global Bilgi Project ManagerTetiana Kolomyitseva, project manager at Global Bilgi, supervising 13 agents

What are the main issues you personally face when managing remote agents?

«The main issues with managing remote agents in contact centers can be broken down into several main aspects. Firstly, the lack of live communication complicates the management process. I believe that the inability to recognize the mood of the agents and immediately address their mistakes or successes makes the work much more difficult. Motivating employees also becomes more challenging, as the online format does not allow the use of all the methods available in an offline environment.

Secondly, technical issues such as logouts due to alarms and blackouts add challenges to remote management. The training process also becomes more complicated because information absorption occurs more slowly. Finally, recruitment is more difficult due to the challenges of ‘reading’ candidates through a camera and controlling their path from the interview to working on the line. These problems require the development of new approaches and technological solutions for their effective resolution.»

What tools and practices help you better manage your remote workers?

«To better manage subordinates working remotely, we use several important tools and practices. Regular call monitoring is one of the key methods, and here we are greatly aided by the AqOS quality assurance software from Global Bilgi, which allows recording all agents’ conversations. This enables us to analyze agents’ work and promptly correct their actions.

In addition, we conduct regular video calls with agents. It is important that these are not just about work topics, as this helps maintain contact with the team and improves engagement. Regular communication with the clients of Global Bilgi’s outsourcing contact center services is also important for receiving feedback on plans and key performance indicators. Feedback from the agents themselves is another important element in our practice. Moreover, we focus on developing soft skills, which not only improve work but also keep the team spirit high.»

When managing remote agents, what is the most crucial aspect for a project manager to consider?

«For me, the most crucial factor is total understanding between myself and the team leader (TL), who works closely with the agents. We will make every effort to guarantee that the team performs to its full potential if we have a shared goal, are willing to assist one another, and don’t want to cut any corners. A mutual understanding with the team leader guarantees the stable operation of all agents and lays the groundwork for effective management.

Regarding direct interaction with agents, in addition to purely work processes, it is necessary to pay attention to the team’s mental state and interact with them on non-work issues. Personally, when I was an agent, this motivated me to work better and be part of the team because I understood that I was valued and my good results were genuinely appreciated.»

Project Manager Global BilgiOlena Harkava oversees 65–75 agents as a project manager at Global Bilgi

What do you think are the primary issues with remote agent management?

«My biggest issue with remote management is that it is much more difficult to bring staff members together virtually, develop a sense of teamwork, and cultivate a healthy sense of competition among sales representatives—all of which are essential for effectively accomplishing objectives. Because they must listen to calls in order to personally address each agent’s errors, team leaders work with agents for a disproportionate amount of time.

It takes a lot of time to keep track of agents’ work shifts, including logins, logouts, alarms, power outages, and unduly lengthy pauses. Another difficulty with online training for new agents is that it can be more difficult for participants to maintain concentrate.»

Which methods and resources enable you to oversee employees who work remotely more effectively?

«The following resources assist me in managing team leaders and subordinates that operate remotely as a project manager:

  • The Global Bilgi contact center’s analytics solutions deliver accurate and timely data on all project metrics;
  • A great degree of faith in every team leader;
  • By assigning tasks to team leaders, I help them develop new abilities and competences while also sharing my expertise and experience.

The AqOS contact center quality control program, daily video conferences with teams, performance statistics, and internal training sessions are crucial resources for team leaders when dealing with remote agents.»

When it comes to managing remote agents, what is the most crucial aspect for a project manager?

«I rely on the team leaders who work under me as a project manager to oversee remote agents. One leader should, in my opinion, assign assignments and provide feedback to agents. So, I think the management structure—in which a single team leader is in charge of a group of five to fifteen agents—is really good. Based on my interactions with agents, I have observed:

  • Quarterly meetings to recognize top performers and teams;
  • Monthly online meetings to showcase team and project accomplishments during the reporting period.

The most crucial components of managing agents for team leaders are setting goals on time and keeping tabs on each team member’s progress. Regular online meetings are also indispensable for forming feedback, maintaining team spirit, fostering healthy competition among sales agents, and controlling the achievement of team goals.»

Global Bilgi PMValeria Levkovych oversees 27–40 agents as a project manager at Global Bilgi

What do you think are the primary issues with remote agent management?

«Logouts brought on by power outages are currently the biggest issue facing Ukraine’s remote contact center agents. Workers just log out of the system, and it might be challenging to determine if this is indeed because of power outages.

The psychological health of workers, particularly burnout among remote workers, is another significant problem. Agents frequently experience loneliness and think that no one is interested in helping them. It is far more difficult to foster a welcoming environment and promote communication when they are working remotely. This makes it more difficult to maintain morale and build a cohesive team.»

What tools and techniques help you effectively manage subordinates who work remotely?

«Fortunately, our company uses Sirius, a cloud platform for contact centers that offers tools for online statistics, reporting, and analytics. Constant monitoring of project indicators and remote agent performance enables us to clearly disperse jobs and workloads.

I feel that video-based team meetings are one of the most effective methods for efficient communication and distant team management. They help eliminate misunderstandings with team leaders when assigning duties and allow us to rapidly provide assistance to agents who require it.»

What is the most crucial aspect for a project manager to consider when managing remote agents?

«It’s fairly simple: in my opinion, a project manager must develop trusting connections at all communication levels, from the agent to the team leader, and from the team leader to the project manager.

Tracking personal and project KPIs, offering regular feedback, and sustaining agents’ morale through recognition of achievements and prizes for attaining performance targets are all important parts of remote management.»

Managing agents in remote contact centers: final thoughts

Whether we like it or not, remote work has become the standard for many firms. Although there are certain difficulties involved with managing remote workers, these can be greatly reduced with the appropriate tools and remote management techniques.

Using cloud solutions is a crucial first step to guaranteeing smooth operations, especially when it comes to managing agents that work from remote locations. One such solution is offered by Global Bilgi, a top contact center software developer.

For service centers of any size, we provide our unique development, the Sirius cloud contact center platform, which includes video calls, quality evaluation tools, workforce management (WFM) systems, online statistics, reporting, and analytics services. Take full advantage of the platform’s features for successful remote agent management!

About author

Фахівець з маркетингу компанії Global Bilgi
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