Contact centers have begun to take notice of those using an at-home workforce either in conjunction with brick-and-mortar centers or in some unusual cases, instead of brick-and-mortar centers. Think it's just the smaller companies moving in this direction? Guess again. Why should you consider the at-home model regardless of size or industry? Let’s take a look.
For starters, let’s tackle some of the objections most have to deploying an at-home workforce:
- Control – if you can’t walk the floor and see your agents, you can’t control their action & behaviors
- Security – network security is sketchy with remote workers
- Coaching and feedback is more difficult
The ability to walk the floor and see your agents is certainly a challenge when they are not in the same building, city, state or country as the leadership staff, and admittedly this was a challenge years ago before technology improved in the area of telecommuting, web-based applications, presence information and superior reporting. But this is not so difficult any longer. In fact with a hosted contact center software suite like inContact, knowing what your agents are doing or not doing is often easier than walking by, trying to catch them in the act of compliance or non-compliance.
With solutions such as voice recording, screen recording, quality monitoring, advanced real-time agent monitoring and speech analytics, supervisors can keep tabs on agents regardless of where they sit. With advanced solutions like inContact, a supervisor can choose to record voice and screen for every call, every third, fifth, or any other combination of calls, especially with new agents or during an early at-home deployment to get a comfort level with the control that is actually achievable when agents are off site.
IT groups are often uncomfortable with the security they are able to achieve when agents don’t punch the clock in the brick-and-mortar center. The truth is with secure servers, secure FTP, and the level of encryption now available, IT groups can rest assured that company and customer data is secure at rest or in transit. inContact helps our customers secure their data, offers VPN access to platforms and all services are password protected. Talk to one of our security experts for more information (and check out Henry St. Andre's blog).
Coaching and Feedback
The ability to coach an employee, rate their calls and offer suggestions for improvement can easily be done remotely using some of the tools mentioned above. Calls, chats, or emails can be recorded, scored, evaluated and actions can be taken against that information. For example, a supervisor can conduct a review of a call recording with an agent via conference call, web conference, Skype session or other form of collaboration. eLearnings can be assigned to an agent virtually on a specific topic to improve their skills. Customer Satisfaction surveys can be kicked off to gain useful information on how the agent is doing, all from the cloud regardless of where the agent logs in from.
I'll continue to talk about the power of the at-home model in my next post in this three-part series.