Contact Centers Pack Up and Go Home
Cost containment is still a factor in the contact center, but it’s no longer the driving force. Today, the customer is firmly at the wheel, and home agent contact centers have moved to the forefront of many companies’ customer engagement initiatives.
By removing office commutes from the equation, home-based contact centers can tap into a much broader applicant pool than the traditional brick and mortar, making it easier to recruit skilled, mature and enthusiastic customer service professionals—the perfect corporate brand ambassadors.
At an average age of 40, 85% of home-based agents are college educated and most have at least ten years of business experience under their belts. In contrast, brick and mortar agents are typically young, high school educated, inexperienced and rarely looking to stay for the long haul.
Gaining easier access to mature, skilled customer service workers is certainly a big advantage of home agent contact centers, but it isn’t the only one. Implemented correctly, home agent contact centers dramatically improve upon every key factor in the contact center equation: customer engagement, employee retention, business continuity, staffing efficiency and cost.
That’s why the home-based contact agent model is one of the fastest growing segments of the customer service market. Back in 2011, U.S. companies spent $1.6 billion on home-based customer service delivery. In 2013 we reached $2.6 billion. By 2018, U.S. spending on home-based service delivery is expected to reach $7.1 billion according to a recent forecast by IDC. In other words, home agent contact centers are quickly becoming mainstream.
Despite the allure of the home agent model, you shouldn’t underestimate the commitment required to be successful. Every facet of contact center technology and operations must be retooled to support sourcing, hiring, managing and scheduling these geographically dispersed home-based customer service employees.
You can learn more about the implementation process by downloading our latest whitepaper, “There’s No Place Like Home.” In it, we describe the social and business demands driving the move to home agent contact centers, describe the business benefits of the two primary home agent implementation models and outline the tools, technology and operational measures you’ll need to address in your own implementation.
It can be hard to fathom a life without customer service in it. Before remote desktop support, live chat and other contact center solutions, there were complex phone trees and outsourced call centers and before that there were buggy IVR systems and telephone switchboards connecting you to the store you purchased the product from.
The past few decades have seen the business world sway multiple times between call center outsourcing and internal call center operations.