With the present downturn in the economy and the massive move toward telecommuting, businesses need to both maintain business continuity and ensure the ability of their telecommuting agents to maintain a proper workload and perform required tasks. Management, legal compliance, and data security also need to be consistent.

The technology exists for telecommuting for account receivable groups to continue to properly perform their business; execution of business plans and proper utilization of technology is a great necessity. Below are some ideas on how your business can properly flow to allow your employees and managers to work from home.

1. Cloud-based server

Cloud-based contact centers allow for a transition to allow agents to work from home. With most of the data processing occurring in the cloud, all local agents need is a reliable high-speed internet connection, communications equipment, a computer with up-to-date software and operating system, and somewhere to sit down. Physical dialers and networking equipment (other than a router) would not be needed.

2. Limited Virtual Private Network (VPN) Access

Trusted agents with VPN access can properly utilize back-end systems so that work can proceed without management needs to be involved in every network decision when changes need to be made. Proper procedures and limited access would be necessary, which requires training and understanding of the back-end systems for agents to utilize.

3. Agent Access to Secure Information

If working at home, agents will need to have information available to them that may be handled differently if management were in the office down the hall. Each piece of debtor information should be re-assessed as to the necessity of whether or not the agent needs it to properly perform their tasks without having to take a longer amount of time to reach out to management for either clearance or instruction.

4. Workflow Updating

With less-skilled or less trustworthy agents at home, workflow management should be properly prioritized. With management unable to continually monitor activity, some tasks require either a more skilled and secure agent handling rather than a manager directing a less-skilled agent. Workflow to remote agents needs to be properly assigned.

5. Increase IVR/Self-Service usage

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)/self-service – should be optimized for maximum efficiency. Any routing matter that can be pushed to IVR/self-service should be pushed to IVR/self-service and should be easy and understandable for the user. Omnichannel usage for items such as payment options, SMS communication, etc. should be utilized here as well to reduce agent time on call.

6. Ticketing

Anyone who has worked in IT can show the usefulness of a properly structured ticketing system. A good ticketing system reduces the time on call for all parties as contact and identification issues need not be repeated, as well as being able to pass along the issue at hand to the right agent and with the right information. Ticketing also provides a metric that allows management to monitor and observe agent performance.

7. Call Recording and Speech Analytics

Present software for working from home allows for greater call recording capabilities, as well as the ability to gauge agent performance via speech analytics. Cloud-based computing also allows for the storage of data without the necessity of large physical hard drives.

8. Screen Recording

Current software also allows the ability to record an agent’s screen, which allows management to properly determine how well an agent utilizes both their time as well as the business software, and to make improvements where needed.

9. Feedback Loop

Standardized feedback forms and processes – for both management and agents – allow communication among all the groups in your business. Management needs to know how well certain software and experiences are working for agents, and agents need proper feedback and correction and praise for their tasks.

10. Agent Scheduling and Organization

Allowing work-from-home ability requires a lot of communication and flexibility for omni call center businesses. Working from home can be a luxury and a burden when used properly, and the requirements for employees may be different than when they are all together in the same physical location. Management and agents need to be able to determine the proper balance for telecommuting work and understand the answers to many questions can change over time.