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Internet Connections: Still a Hurdle for Remote Contact Centers
Most of America’s workforce has welcomed and embraced the pandemic’s force-fed remote work world. National Public Radio (NPR) says 87% of workers whose employers offered remote work have “seized the opportunity.” And most employees would rather take a pay cut than give up their pajama-wearing, work-from-home (WFH) schedule.
Surprisingly, big businesses (including contact centers) have taken notice and benefit from remote workers for several reasons, such as:
- Reduced operating costs. Going fully remote saves on overhead costs, such as a rental lease, office furniture, utilities, insurance, supplies, etc. For instance, IBM eliminated some office space and saved $50 million in real estate costs. A remote contact center instantly saves money on rep computers and work desks.
- Increased productivity. Our third year in remote work has proven that remote workers are more productive than those that work in the office. Employees can work the hours when they are most productive instead of the typical nine-to-five with fewer distractions.
- Improved rep retention rate. Reps with a flexible work environment—a remote or hybrid schedule—are more likely to keep working for you. Remote work also opens contact centers to a national or global talent pool where you are more likely to find the best talent.
Unfortunately, Internet dependability remains a constant challenge for remote contact centers. “Most contact centers were designed under the assumption of everyone working at the same location, or maybe a handful of offices, on a centralized corporate network,” says Taylor Edginton of PingPlotter. “The systems and solutions put in place are often unable to provide visibility into a remote worker’s home network.”
Unreliable Internet connections have a lot of negative consequences for a remote contact center—reps can’t work or be productive; bad call quality means unhappy customers; and the constant back-and-forth between representatives, management, and IT creates an environment of mistrust. One way to solve this problem is to implement remote network monitoring.
Ruby Receptionists had to find a way to pinpoint connection problems for all of their remote reps. By using PingPlotter, an internet connection monitoring tool, they were able to eliminate the “dog ate my internet” excuse because they had direct access to each rep’s network.
“Now we can actually go in and see, yes, there really is a problem,” says Chris Georgeson, Ruby Receptionists, director of technology. “We can tell when it started and when it's going to end. And that visibility is something we just didn't have before.”
Finally, for dependable remote network monitoring, you want to make sure that your monitoring tool includes:
- Active path testing — Best strategy overall for consistent monitoring and reliable alerts.
- Software-based deployment — Easier to manage and avoids mailing hundreds of hardware devices to remote reps.
- Real-time data — This tool resolves issues faster.
- Collaborative features (like PingPlotter’s LiveShare sharing feature) — Representatives are more likely to believe IT when they see what IT sees and are a part of the process.
“Showing and not telling was really, really attractive about PingPlotter,” says Georgeson. “Like those LiveShare is really, really great.”