Quality Assurance is tricky at the best of times but even more so when your team is suddenly remote.
It’s understandable. The switch to working from home can be destabilizing and nobody wants to be in a situation where performance is dropping and call quality is inconsistent. If your team isn’t used to working remotely, it can be harder than ever to keep agents motivated and customer experience on point.
That said, remote work–in some capacity at least–is here to stay. 98% of respondents to Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work report want to continue to work remotely for the rest of their careers, despite its setbacks:
QA managers must grapple with these and other challenges that make quality assurance for remote teams especially demanding:
- Lack of face-to-face interaction: Managers worry that agents may lose motivation or focus (though the data suggests otherwise) whereas agents struggle with reduced access to feedback and support.
- Getting to grips with new software: Adjusting to new channels and technology can be a steep learning curve for the whole team.
- Erratic call quality: A noisy washing machine or barking dog isn’t a recipe for a great customer experience!
- Agents feeling disconnected and out of the loop: Remote work can be isolating and it’s hard to stay in sync as a distributed team.
If you’re a QA manager with a remote team, then we hope these tips will make your life a little easier.
Top tips for effective remote call center QA
Communication is more important than ever when call center teams are remote. In REMOTE: Office Not Required, David Heinemeier and Jason Fried talk about the perils of poor communication for remote teams:
“Small misunderstandings that could have been nipped in the bud with the wink of an eye or a certain tone of voice can quickly snowball into drama.”
And it’s not just about having the best communication tools in place, but knowing how to use them effectively. Slack is great for checking in (and sharing memes), but not so great for big-picture discussions. That’s why scheduled video check-ins are crucial–to keep the team aligned, to celebrate success, and to resolve any issues before they get out of hand.
Nurture a culture of trust and psychological safety
Psychological safety is crucial to high performing workers and leads Google’s list of key dynamics for great teams. Agents shouldn’t be passive implementers but rather play a key part in your QA strategy. They need to feel safe in offering feedback on weaknesses, raising difficult issues, and voicing dissenting views. And they should be listened to–after all, they know the customer and the limitations of how things are run. Ask for Agent feedback, listen with an open mind, and include the whole team as stakeholders in your QA plan.
Build dynamic scorecards, with Agents in mind
A solid operational foundation helps keep remote Agents motivated and engaged. Leaptree Optimize Call Center QA software lets you build dynamic QA scorecards, without code or the need for help from developers or IT. It’s the best way to ensure consistent customer communication and empowers remote agents to keep on top of the metrics that matter. QA managers can evaluate and track individual and team performance and remote call center teams can keep track of how they’re doing and as well as the areas that need attention.
Develop a solid feedback loop
One of the critical challenges of remote call center QA is the lack of face-to-face interaction and real-time feedback. Timely feedback is key to improving call quality and one of the most important parts of your job as a QA Manager. Regular evaluation serves as a guiding resource, helps agents meet their targets, and improves call quality and performance. The best feedback is immediate–and the feedback should go both ways (see tip #2)
There’s no doubt that the sudden transition to a remote call center has major challenges but at the same time, working remotely can make your call center team stronger than ever. It’s an opportunity to realize some best practices that all customer-facing teams can benefit from, remote or not.
Are you currently managing QA for a remote team? If so, let us show you how Leaptree can help.