To support work-from-home mandates and ensure business continuity, many customer service and IT leaders are adopting solutions to enable real-time operations for remote workers. Leveraging Real-time operations is a great way to manage your team, boost their performance and see who is working from home effectively.
In this post, we highlight common examples of real-time operations solutions so that you gain clarity on their scope and usefulness. We also discuss how each relates to real-time operations of your remote, work-from-home customer service teams.
Defining real-time operations solutions
Real-time operations solutions are applications that enable your teams to use real-time data to work more effectively and/or that monitor and track employees’ work as they perform it. Take, for example, the many flavors of software for remote employee monitoring and live time-tracking.
The workpuls app for remote employee monitoring gives management live insights into how employees are spending their time. Real-time views include the following:
- App and website usage, broken down by individual employee, teams and company-wide
- Live screenshots of employees’ screens
- Live views into workers productivity status – such as ‘idle’ or ‘active’
- Stealth-mode views into employees’ activities while clocked in
If you prefer something less invasive, another example of a real-time operations solution is the dashboarding found in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. CRM yields real-time insights into each individual customer account, which is why IT often integrates customer service tools with CRM dashboard information. So, when a call comes in from a customer, the customer service agent can view the latest information about them. The agent can quickly scan the customer’s last three purchases, know when they recently spoke with customer service, see how valuable the customer is (I.e. VIP status, estimated LTV, etc.) and more.
There is no question that tools like remote employee monitoring and CRM provide real-time operational benefits to customer service teams working remotely. Yet, they do not go far enough to address the full scope of real-time operations in customer service. That need can only be answered by a solution that is purpose-built to maximize the performance of remote customer service teams.
Real-time operations for customer service teams
In customer service, real-time operations capabilities focus on two critical areas – queue status and team performance. Given the time-sensitive nature of customer service, any solution must provide live views into both of these elements to be effective.
Today’s digital-first customer service platforms should incorporate live queue and team performance monitoring – but not merely summary views. Instead, they need to delve into specific agent and queue data so that customer service teams can adjust on the fly for optimal performance and customer satisfaction.
A real-time customer service operations dashboard should have the features necessary to perform the following with ease:
- Actively track the number of open Issues in each Queue to watch for unusual trends and reallocate resources as needed
- See which Agents are currently online and which are on break to ensure coverage during a shift
- Mark agents as available or away right from within the Real-Time Operations page
- Set a threshold to inform agents – via color codes – when they are meeting team goals or falling short of them
- Check the number and type of Issues each agent is working on to ensure none are overwhelmed
- Monitor the size of the backlog for each queue to effectively plan for backlog management
- Support live chat operations by quickly handling spikes and anomalies that would result in delayed agent responses
For a comprehensive list of real-time operations features found in today’s digital customer service platforms, click here.
As you can see from the image of a real-time customer service operations dashboard (below), customer service managers obtain live snapshots of the information that matters most. This sample view incorporates the live queue status, individual team member status, team performance, and even available capacity.
A well-thought-out operations dashboard should allow customer service managers to click onto the various elements and drill down to investigate ways to optimize agent activity in real-time. Of course, any real-time operations dashboard must be customizable to suit your specific way of running customer service in your organization. That will let you track the metrics that are most important for your team.
If managing remote teams is new for your organization, you will want to use a solution that offers downloadable data sets. That way, you can apply analytics to compare agent and team performance over time, adjusting operations as you go for continuous improvement.
Having work-from-home or remote customer service agents, supervisors and teams does not have to adversely impact the performance of your customer service operations. In fact, with today’s digital customer service tools and their real-time operations capabilities, you can actually improve how you deliver service and improve customer satisfaction. Who knows – once your work-from-home mandates are lifted, you may never want to go back!