Are you looking to decrease your contact center’s turnover and improve the job satisfaction of your agents? If so, it’s possible to accomplish both by killing the commute.
In Part 1 of this article (link), we discussed the very real sacrifice involved with commuting to and from the office in terms of your agents’ time, money and physical wellbeing. It’s no wonder that people wanting to achieve greater work/life balance seek out jobs that allow them to work from home. Fortunately, this is where contact center employers have an edge.
What makes contact center work so perfect for an “at-home” employment model? Well, for starters, contrary to the name CONTACT center, the majority of customer interactions require no physical contact at all. You don’t need to see someone in order to provide support, respond to an email or process a claim. All of these interactions already happen remotely in brick-and-mortar contact centers all over the world and can just as easily be handled from the comfort of an agent’s home.
Another facet of contact center work that makes it ideal for “home-shoring” is the fact that almost 100% of everything agents say and do during the course of their workday is monitored- not by a person peering over their shoulder- but by technology. Despite the natural tendency to associate this activity with “Big Brother,” monitoring employees is already a necessary component of contact center life to ensure efficient and effective customer service. Because of this technology, supervisors don’t have to physically see an employee to see that they’re doing a good job.
If you’re convinced and ready to implement a virtual, home-based workforce at your contact center, the good news is that much of what you need from a technology standpoint, you probably already have:
Another critical component of a successful work-from-home strategy is a Workforce Management system (WFM). Key features include real-time and historical schedule adherence and a built-in self-service/agent “empowerment” module. Remember- remote workers are often willing to increase or decrease their hours on relatively short notice (unlike their commuting colleagues). But this kind of scheduling “agility” cannot be accomplished if you require agents to fill out a form and wait for hours (or days) for approval every time they want to make a change. Making this happen will require the right technology coupled with a revamp of existing schedule-change policies.
When you kill the commute for your employees, you take advantage of the inherent flexibility at-home workers provide. You also improve your agents’ job satisfaction by helping them to achieve greater work/life balance. What’s more, implementing an at-home model also enables you to service your customers at a lower cost and with greater efficiency. The flip side is this: if you don’t kill the commute, you’ll eventually drive your agents to a competitor who has already killed it. So what’s it going to be, fuzzy dice or fuzzy slippers? You make the call.
-Guest Contributor- Rebecca Wise Girson, Founder of Wise Workforce Strategies, Inc.