April 18, 2012
Creating a Community in a Remote Workforce
Filed under: Entrepreneurship
When I started Working Solutions 16 years ago, communication between agents was difficult and limited. Many home agents felt isolated from their team, but we were able to create and grow our team. With today’s technological advances, it’s easier than ever to create a sense of community in a virtual call center environment.
Our agents have many options for communicating with each other during working hours. Each account has a project manager that is the primary point of contact for the client and the agents. During working hours, the project managers are always available to the agents via phone or chat. Each account also has a dedicated area within our agent portal; this account-specific area can only be accessed by agents assigned to that account. Here, agents can discuss the project with those who understand it best—the other agents on the project.
There are also many options for the agents to communicate in their personal time. The most popular method is via our Facebook page. In addition to company news and information, we like to start discussions around the topics our agents find interesting—working from home, time management, being business owners—as well as some fun, normal topics, like holidays and weekend plans. We also have an agent forum, accessible to all agents, for discussions that pertain specifically to our agent community.
Customer Service Week
We love our agents, so we ensure that Customer Service Week is a big celebration! We sponsor games and contests to get some rivalries going between project teams. We also share lots of pictures so that the agents can put a friendly face to the voice they already know. Although it’s only a week long, Customer Service Week is one of the times where we go above and beyond to build a cohesive agent community.
Corporate Meetings & Agent Luncheons
Even with the technology available to us, it’s nice to have in-person events as well. We hold annual corporate meetings in locations across the U.S. including Plano, Texas, where our home office is located. We also hold quarterly agent luncheons in various locations with high agent density.
Local agents are invited to these meetings to get a feel for the people of Working Solutions. In some cases, they’re meeting people they’ve worked with for years face-to-face for the very first time.
“It’s all about how agents treat customers and quality service.”