There are plenty of challenges that come with the responsibility of managing a remote call center. Agents could be spread out across time zones, communication could be a challenge, technical issues can leave an agent stranded – and that’s just the beginning of a long list of obstacles. Thus, the importance of finding a supervisor capable of diffusing these challenges is crucial to maintaining productivity, keeping retention numbers high, and improving performance. If you’re looking to hire or promote someone to a supervisory position in a remote call center, here are some critical skills to look out for during the hiring process.
1. Available and Reliable
Being a remote worker means accounting for yourself, but being a supervisor means managing many remote workers, often with various schedules, demands, and needs. Therefore, a supervisor should be available whenever one of his or her team members needs support, and they need to be relied on to respond quickly to the needs of an agent. Use assessments such as simulations to see how a prospective supervisor manages needs and demonstrates reliability by testing responsiveness, clarity, and ability to follow up with their team members.
Losing the ability to regularly interact face to face can hinder communication and cause a lot of misinterpretation over things being said, so its’ important that your supervisor is able to go the extra mile and demonstrate empathy to a greater degree than if he or she were working side by side with a team. Showing sincerity, demonstrating sensitivity, and avoiding sarcasm where it could be misconstrued is important to ensuring that there are no issues from a misunderstood conversation. Leverage personality testing to see if your candidates have the personality for remote team management, and follow up with them using simulations and interviews to ensure that they understand why these traits are so important.
A supervisor will have to have their finger on the pulse at all times in order to properly manage their team, as well as keep them motivated and working hard. This means a supervisor will have to regularly check in to make sure team members are doing well and there’s no issues they could use extra help with. A supervisor should also be able to help keep his or her team motivated by creating a “team spirit” environment – getting everyone enthused, even when they’re all working from their own station. When going through the hiring process, use problem solving exercises to see how a candidate would keep his team organized and in touch, and evaluate creativity to see if the candidate is able to continually find new ways to keep his team excited and dedicated.
If nothing else, supervisors will need to exhibit patience with their remote team.
Things that would normally take less than 15 minutes could take over an hour, and a simple meeting could end up requiring a flight across the country.
Everything moves at an extended pace when you’re working with a remote team, so having a supervisor who’s able to be patient while things move at that pace is key. Use personality testing to assess patience, as well as frustrations – waiting around angry for a response is patience in a way, but not a very good form of it!
There are plenty of headaches that can come from having remote teams, but a remote supervisor who’s qualified to handle those headaches can make everything run smoothly – and even more productively at that. Use the hiring process to assess critical traits that make operating a remote team not only easier, but will help increase productivity and reduce feelings of isolation.
What do you think? Leave a comment, and make sure you check out the rest of our series on Remote Hiring!