An estimated 58% of contact centre organisations currently employ home working agents, according to the 2016 UK HomeAgent survey. In 2015 the proportion of contact centres using home workers almost doubled since 2008, with the overall number of remote agents increasing by 300% since 2010. With the commercial and technical pressures of an increasingly globalised world, and a business model supporting a positive ROI and customer satisfaction all whilst reducing operation costs, this rate of growth is only expected to rise.
“Interest in contact centre home working has never been higher” said Trevor Butterworth, CEO of the UK Contact Centre Forum,“it is a win-win for employers and contact centre agents”. Many contact centres still operate under the traditional practice of a single, centralised model however the benefits of home working are clear by;
- Reducing agent attrition and turnover
- Agents benefit from the flexibility; they can save time and money on their daily commute. Many agents stay with their job longer and reduce the operational costs of turnover.
- Easily handling fluctuating call volumes
- Agents can seamlessly move between call queues, they can log in for a few hours when the call volume is expected to be high and remove the issue before it affects overall performance.
- Enhancing customer satisfaction
- Hiring agents who enjoy the flexibility of working from home will result in enhanced customer interactions and increase customer satisfaction.
With the increasing adoption of the home working agents the question remains how will contact centres implement a successful programme to ensure they benefit? For the organisations yet to embrace the home working practice it often brings up questions of agent accountability.
Real-Time Management offers a proactive suite for contact centres to use to keep on top of daily events that threaten performance. The ARTI (Automatic Real-Time Intraday) smartphone app communicates with agents whilst monitoring real-time attendance and sending automated “nudges” to ensure staff stick to their schedule. ARTI also recommends staff redeployment to cover workload peaks, as well as identify idle time during quiet periods which can be used for catching up on agent training programmes.