What?!! Stick with me for a moment – it’s relevant. A colleague used this subheading in an article he had written. Once I stopped laughing and read further, the point he was making was that often we already have much of what we need to deliver an exemplary customer experience. Rather than looking up at the mountain top, it’s worth a quick glance back to see how far we’ve already climbed.
It’s very likely this topic is applicable if your company is still considering using at-home agents, but hasn’t actually launched the program. Yes, you, standing there listening to the music but not dancing yet. And it’s also pertinent if you’ve sent a few agents home but months later are still barely swaying, frozen in the piloting-a-few-agents stage. In the May 2012 issue of Contact Center Pipeline, the front page article “Making Work-at-Home Work” states that 42% of contact centers are now using home agents. Seems like it’s time to move with the music!
The good news is that you already have a boatload of what you need. You’ve already invested in the contact center infrastructure and applications, including routing, reporting, and recording solutions. There may be a few more things on your wish list, but chances are you already have most of what it takes. Likely your biggest remaining expenditure is remote agent softphone licenses and perhaps PCs and/or some cable or DSL costs if you choose to cover them. And these costs pale in comparison to the investments you’ve already made.
Perhaps these expenditures aren’t holding you back, but rather the headaches of working with multiple organizations within the company. You’ll need to work with your HR department, write up a policy statement and have it approved by your legal department, and figure out how you’re going to train home agents and keep them up to speed on an ongoing basis.
Not to minimize the overhead of navigating outside the contact center to get these agreements in place, but it’s probably minimal in comparison to the work your company has already done to hire and train agents. And hire and train agents. And hire and train more agents. Because they leave! Unless you give them work at home options. At the airport just yesterday, I met the Customer Care operations manager of a large Canadian bank, who told me some pretty terrific stuff about the retention and absenteeism rates of their home agents compared to in-office agents – about 50% improvement in retention, and a 50% lower absenteeism rate.
Which category do you fit into? Still standing in the room listening to the music? Or already dancing, but rather reservedly, sending a few agents home but glancing around to see if someone notices a misstep?
If you’re already shaking what your mama gave you, chances are your CFO is watching with a smile – because you are saving your company a LOT of money. If you’re not shaking it yet but want to get onto the dance floor, reach out and I’ll help you. I’ll be happy to provide pointers to an ROI calculator if you need to show your company the financial (and the green) benefits, as well as other resources.
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