It's OK for Agents to Take Vacation

To the grief of many, summer is winding down. Before the weather starts to cool and people get back into the swing of their work or family school-related routines, it's the perfect time to squeeze in a last-minute vacation. Employers recognize and support their employees' desires take time away to enjoy their summers—without having to use PTO days— by being more flexible on remote working and work from home policies. As more jobs only require being in front of a laptop with a reliable WiFi connection and a mobile phone, people can work efficiently from just about anywhere. This is the perfect scenario during times of the year, like summer, when the urge to get a change of scenery kicks in.

When it comes to customer service jobs however, many people would assume that there's no way a company can deal with customer questions and requests if their representatives aren't in a formal contact center with a headset and access to a supervisor. Today, the stereotype of rows and rows of customer service agents in cubicles is far from true, as customer service operations become more digital. Like in other industries, the use of cloud technology enables contact center people to be flexible and collaborative in how they work. This is the perfect scenario for a contact center agent, and today, we're seeing that contact center agents aren't even in contact centers at all. What's more, customers don't even notice that the agent they're interacting with is working remotely. The service remains seamless.

Here are three common tasks customer service agents can complete when interacting with customers away from the physical contact center. You'll see just how seamless and stress-free their jobs can be when they are equipped with the right tools.

  1. Proactively checking in with new customers. Once a customer makes a purchase, begins a subscription, has had a service, etc., it's important for customer service representatives to check in to make sure their experience is positive and they don't have any questions. Even when a customer service agent is working in a location far from the office, she can still log into her organization's CRM dashboard to see these types of customer details. With insight into what a customer has been up to, the agent can proactively reach out, whether that is via phone or email.
  2. Processing customers' bills. Bill pay is an extremely common inbound customer service activity. Dealing with customer finances has the potential of being a complex process, but when customer service representatives have easy access to the company's third-party finance application, it's easy. Customer service agents working remotely are automatically prompted to address the request, and they don't have to toggle between browsers.
  3. Fixing suspicious charges for customers: For financial institutions in particular, frantic questions come in all the time when customers believe their account information has been compromised. When there are suspicious charges, customer service representatives follow a process to determine how and where the issue occurred. In some cases, sign off from a supervisor is needed to give customers their money back. But even when the representative is working remotely, the customer experience doesn't differ; agents can easily chat message their supervisors or share screens to efficiently resolve issues.

All aspects of our lives are becoming more convenient, so why should the workday fall behind? Companies are investing to be as digital as possible, so when there are opportunities for employees to take advantage of technology, leaders should be on board. In many cases, it's clear that a person's job can be completed just as efficiently when they're working in the comfort of their own home or by the pool, or even in an out-of-town hideaway. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of business, and there are many modern ways to excel at it.

Kendra Riley is vice president of enterprise account management at Five9.