2010

My nephew just started working out of his home rather than at the office. He asked me about some things that he should be doing to make certain his sales do not drop off. I was thinking about this and realized how similar his situation is to a work at home agent. So I created a list of things that a work at home agent should have to be able to be effective. This list is not in any priority.

  • The right tools: This is a basic assumption that can be overlooked. Phone, computer, high speed access to the internet and company network, headset, desk and comfortable chair.
  • Work Space: A dedicated place to answer the phone and work. This needs to be comfortable too.
  • A quiet environment: There is little worse than talking to an agent and hearing the dog barking or dishes clanging in the background.
  • The proper attitude: Not everyone can work from home. Some agents need social interaction. Years ago I had a work from home sales rep quit because he could not “hang out at the water cooler” and get caught up on gossip. During the interview process be sure to determine if they have the proper attitude.
  • Dedication: It is easy to log on and then place yourself into some type of non working status. Agents that work from home need a schedule and they need to be dedicated and stick to the schedule.
  • Feel like part of the team: Include all agents in contests, share information, send messages and make them feel like part of the team.
  • Back up plan: The agent should have a notebook and pencil ready for when (not if) the internet connection or network access is lost of denied.
  • On-going training plans: All agents need on-going traning. Agents that work from home may miss out on the team leader or manager immediate support therefore training is important to keep at-home agents up-to-date.
  • Access to real time statistics at their desktops: Real time information will let the agent know their status and that of the call center and can be prepared for heavier call volume. The ability to change the statistics and metrics they see would be helpful.
  • Priority access to team leaders or managers: Working from home does not mean at-home agents do not have trouble at times. Because they are at home and do not take as much team leader or manager time they should have priority access when needed.

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