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Successful remote contact center work starts with leadership training

A woman working from home

For many companies, it has been nearly two years since making the sudden shift to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A key success factor was whether managers and team leaders received quality training in transitioning themselves and their teams to remote contact center work.

An effective manager mobilizes employees, helps employees improve their skills, and guides employees to meeting workplace goals. As companies continue to deal with the reality that remote and hybrid workforces are here to stay, creating an effective plan for training and managing remote employees on a large scale is critical. At TTEC, we developed a training curriculum based on key learnings and best practices for doing exactly that.

Why does remote training matter?

Training plays a fundamental role in improving employees’ skills and enabling them to perform their job well, in addition to building their confidence in their abilities. Excellent training will improve performance and help employees work more efficiently and effectively.

With that said, contact center training that is tailored for managers and leaders working in a remote environment is critical to their teams’ success. Especially if managers and other employees are accustomed to interacting in person, switching to a digital interface requires numerous adjustments. New hires who are working remotely also need adequate training that is tailored for their environment.

Remote Leadership Certification

When the news broke that contact center associates would have to move to at-home work due to mandated lockdowns, TTEC needed a solution that would address the new training resourcing demands and help leaders understand how to manage remotely. In-person instructor-led training would have to be shifted to a digital format.

To meet this challenge, TTEC’s learning and performance team developed a self-paced, digital learning solution called the Remote Leadership Certification curriculum. The curriculum educated team leads and managers on how to manage, lead, and engage with their teams remotely. In addition, this saved on facilitation resources as the curriculum is self-paced.

For learners who were used to in-person instructor-led training, we took the material and created an asynchronous curriculum on a digital platform. This allowed leaders to gain their certification in a flexible manner and dedicate their time fully to the training. The curriculum could be used as a refresher in addition to employees receiving their certification. In addition, when new material was added, past learners were notified of new material added to the curriculum and automatically assigned new training.

The curriculum includes the following:

Manage – Empower: This section focuses on how leaders coach, inspire, follow through, and develop their associates in a remote environment. It also provides best practice tips on how to use virtual tools such as Zoom Chat and associate action plans that hold the associate and the leader accountable for improving and sustaining performance.

Lead – Servant Leadership: This unit centers on how to be an exceptional leader in a remote environment by cultivating and meeting the needs of your employees, leading by demonstration, embodying TTEC values, and assessing risks.

Engage – Engagement: Engagement is the emotional investment employees have in the company and its goals. This course focuses on how a virtual workforce changes the dynamics and understanding of employee engagement and focuses on how to combat the virtual distance, or psychological distance that grows when we rely heavily on electronic communications to do our work. Learners gain an understanding of the many fun and engaging ways they can combat virtual distance that align with the goals of their individual team and the company’s values.

We rolled out the curriculum to our employees who were supporting clients in healthcare, financial services, automotive, and other industries and saw an immediate uptake. Team leads and managers had this to say about the new training:

“Deploying from brick and mortar in a very rapid timeframe, we had to dive in headfirst and lead as we went. This gave our team so much insight into leading in our remote environment.” –Team Lead

"My experience with the Remote Leadership Certification was amazing. The courses during certification were extremely helpful and relevant as far as my duties as a team lead." – Manager

"Overall, I think the courses were great. I learned a lot and they definitely gave me some insight on how to manage my team in this Work at Home (WAH) setting." – Manager

Key takeaways

Transitioning from instructor-led training to a self-paced virtual curriculum was essential in enabling our leaders and their teams to continue delivering quality support to TTEC clients. Clients benefited in other ways as well.

The self-paced virtual curriculum significantly reduced the learning hours for managers, team leaders, and other learners, saving 23,500+ billable hours or training hours. Reducing the training time gave leaders, for instance, more time on the job leading and managing their teams, and it increased speed to proficiency.

While the abrupt shift to remote learning was unexpected, it resulted in a global digital resource focused on the key skills, knowledge, and tools that leaders need to manage, lead, and engage their teams.

Excellent customer experience starts with a great employee experience; ensuring team leads and managers are equipped with the right training to guide their teams is the key to meeting that CX goal—wherever employees are.