3 Tips for Communicating Changes to Work From Home Call Center Agents
With so many call centers switching to Work From Home setups, everyone's heads are spinning. Due to this new environment, you now face several challenges:
- Your processes and information are changing faster than ever.
- Your team is now spread out with no simple way to gather everyone together in the same room.
- Many of your agents are stressed about what is going on the world and fearful of what the economic impact will be on them and their families.
To keep things under control, it's crucial that you have a strong line of communication right now. If your work from home call center agents don't have current and correct information, then they can't serve customers well — and everyone suffers because of it.
Here are three tips for effectively communicating process changes and information using the tools you have at your disposal.
1. Establish one source of truth for the latest information and processes.
You cannot start passing around Word, PowerPoint or PDF files at this point; your information is going to be changing too quickly. If someone has to look through a chat history or email thread to find the right version of the procedure document, then you will be inviting chaos to your virtual contact center. Here are two options you can use instead:
Option 1: Use a knowledge base page if you have one. If you already have a knowledge base, then create a page that links to all of the latest information and updated procedures.
Option 2: Use a Google Doc. If you don't have a knowledge base in place, then create a Google Doc that can be shared with your team. Make sure you give everyone "View and Comment" access so they can add suggestions and/or corrections via comments, but they can’t edit the actual document.
Using either of these tools to provide a single source of truth ensures everyone is working with the same information, every time.
Now that you have that single source, resist the temptation to retype instructions in chat and email. With so much rapid communication, it’s easy for lines to get crossed and people to get confused.
Instead, communicate that there has been a change and provide a link back to the knowledge base article or Google Doc. You might mention what has changed so that they are aware of the change, but once again, you want to point to that single source of truth. Remember: if you explain procedures in emails and chats, then you create multiple places people have to refer to if they want the authoritative answer.
Pro Tip: Have a separate document for each procedure. This will make it easier to send a direct link to an agent that needs to follow that procedure. You can then create a single document that functions as a table of contents and contains links to all recently changed procedures.
2. Make the document clear and scannable
Things are moving fast. Your agents are not going to have time to thoroughly read each new piece of information. They need to be able to scan, understand and successfully apply the latest information so they can help your customers as quickly as possible.
Here are a couple tips to help you out:
- Use headings and subheadings - These will make the document much more scannable. If you are using a standard knowledge base or Google Doc, take advantage of nested bulleted lists to list questions your agents should ask and the corresponding actions or responses they should take based on the answer to those questions.
- Highlight important sections - Bring attention to important information by highlighting it in a bright color. But don't overdo it; if everything is highlighted, then nothing is really important.
Pro Tip: Provide a summary outline of the flow with detailed instructions below. This will allow the agent to quickly scan the highlights of the information and then dig deeper if they need to in the additional information you provide.
3. Update, update, update!
As the situation changes, keep the knowledge base article or Google Doc up to date. Some people say, "I don't have time for documentation!" The fact is, each time you explain something in an email, a chat or via a Zoom call, you are taking the time to communicate information. When you update a document, you are doing the same thing, but you are doing it in a way that will prevent you from having to have the same conversation 40 different times.
Pro Tip: Assign one person to be responsible for updating all documentation and another to handle pushing out that information to your agents. When one person tries to handle both of those tasks they often become rushed and mistakes get made.
Life is going to be hectic for a while, but following these simple tips can help you:
- Reduce hold times and handle times
- Improve QA scores
- And spend less time communicating changes
If you would like help in setting up a strategy for your organization, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are currently offering free 30 minute consultations on how you use the tools you currently have available to you to communicate changes effectively.