Ever since BPOs began experimenting with the work-at-home model, virtual employees have been lumbered with inadequate brick-and-mortar tools that simply aren’t suited to a home-based work environment.
Fast forward to today and not much has changed in that approach; traditional BPOs have done well to prioritize the development of their physical operations, but often view home-working tools and processes as a distant afterthought.
When it comes to enhancing customer experience from a virtual environment, there is a broad range of tools and solutions available that can greatly improve any CX provider’s approach to home-based service. Here are some of our favorites.
1 – Predictive index
For most traditional BPOs and contact centers, recruitment is based on basic requirements, such as minimal education or prior experience in the customer service sector. This approach is based on the idea that almost anybody is trainable and can be comfortable in a brick-and-mortar work environment. As a result, BPOs often overlook the fact that the baseline requirements for virtual employees are totally different from those of a contact-center-based agent, which is part of the reason some traditional providers are failing to advance their work-at-home models into the modern age.
As much as people dream about working from home full-time, not everybody is suited to a virtual work environment, so SmartVirtual™ CX providers need a way to recognize this in their candidates from an early stage. One of those ways is with Predictive Index (PI).
PI is a recruitment and assessment tool that helps select the right candidates based on predefined criteria. It can assess candidates on a professional and personal level to match them with suitable campaigns and determine their suitability for working in a virtual environment.
With the intelligence that PI provides, it’s possible to take a strategic approach to recruitment, streamlining the candidate selection process and tailoring it to a specific customer need, such as sales or service, which represents a huge differentiator between traditional BPOs and SmartVirtual™ customer experience providers.
2 – Virtual Engagement
Inside physical contact centers, employees have access to services like human resources, payroll, IT, and a range of amenities all under one roof, so emulating that collaborative, close-quarters environment is essential for building a successful SmartVirtual™ CX network.
Smart Team Communicator has a broad suite of features that enable cloud-based teams to work in exactly that kind of environment. Within the platform, Ambassadors have immediate access to the same employee services they would find in a brick-and-mortar location, ensuring they can quickly find the support they need, freeing them to focus on their work. It also provides screen sharing, video chat, desktop monitoring, text-based tools, and more, representing a fully featured, digital call center.
Operationally speaking, brick-and-mortar facilities are primarily designed to handle issues inside the contact center, not in a virtual environment. Most BPOs rely on email-based virtual setups, creating a lot of issues with inefficient communication, queue backlogs, and frustrated home-based employees. With tools like Smart Team Communicator, virtual workers can have exactly the same support and input as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, which is key for enhancing customer experiences in a virtual environment.
3 – Mobile-Enabled Workforce Management Platform
Most contact centers have robust workforce management systems in place, but employees generally have to visit the building in person and log into the system to access their schedules or stay on top of company updates. The difference in a virtual CX network is that Ambassadors need an accessible workforce management platform that provides all the information they need from wherever they are.
For Activus Connect, our favorite workforce management solution is also mobile-enabled. With it, our Ambassadors have the ability to trade their shifts with colleagues, participate in community chats, or request time off from their mobile devices. The platform also sends push notifications for significant updates, such as alerts on available shifts that need to be covered, or requests for voluntary time off.
Not only does this prevent shift mix-ups, late attendance, and absence, it also saves our Ambassadors a lot of time, allowing them to stay focused on their mission of delivering great customer experiences.
4 – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Compliance is always top-of-mind when it comes to virtual work environments. Along with protecting client data, it’s vital that virtual workers are only using secure, authorized tools and not accessing social media or personal email during their shifts. The solution is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is an essential part of any SmartVirtual™ toolbox.
VDI enables CX providers to create cloud-based desktops that provide complete control over a virtual work environment to protect sensitive client data. With a robust VDI, it’s possible to lock down an Ambassador’s session and prevent them from copying, pasting, screen sharing, or downloading any valuable information to their local machines. In fact, everyone in the team, including management and front-line Ambassadors, should have a VDI on any personal devices used for work.
5 – Conversational and Behavioral analytics
While some traditional BPOs offer 100% auto call quality as an upsell, there are very few offering it as part of their baseline service. In our opinion, failing to offer 100% auto quality as a standard service limits employee growth, and thus limits the possibility of enhancing customer experiences.
Through a mix of natural language processing and automatic transcriptions, conversational and behavioral analytics tools can parse 100% of a CX provider’s calls and mine the data for relevant sentence structures. With this ability, it’s much easier to improve call quality and ensure compliance across every single call in the SmartVirtual™ network.
By taking a 100% auto quality approach, the results of every single call are important. It allows you to provide meaningful feedback on all of an Ambassador’s calls on a daily basis, which is leaps and bounds ahead of the traditional approach of monitoring two or three calls per day. Beyond that, analytics technology is an immediate compliance booster, as you can monitor for critical disclosures, such as reading the necessary disclaimers to customers or pitching additional services the correct way.
With any home-based service offering, developing a rock-solid virtual CX ecosystem is all about bringing the best available tools together and combining their strengths, which is something we’ve definitely achieved with our SmartVirtual™ approach.