Technology Building Blocks for Home Agent Contact Centers
Home agent contact centers represent a goldmine of opportunity in staffing and cost advantages. By hiring remote agents to field your customer calls from their homes, not only do you eliminate the traditional brick and mortar costs from the equation, you essentially remove all physical boundaries from your hiring process. The quality and diversity of your applicant pool increases exponentially, and the quality of your customer calls improves as a result—but only if you have the right technology in place. Instead of brick and mortar, technology forms the foundation of the home agent contact center, and the tools you choose can make or break the success of your operation.
The contact center is no longer confined by walls, phone lines or distance limitations of any kind. Desktop security, VPNs, VoIP, cloud computing and the prevalence of PCs and high speed Internet in the average home have converged at just the right time to support today’s all-important customer engagement initiatives. Virtual, home-based contact centers make it possible to draw mature, educated agents with specialized skill sets regardless of whether they’re down the street or five states away. By taking advantage of Internet-based monitoring and communication tools plus emerging distributed workforce management systems, you can create targeted, highly efficient call models in which everyone wins: you, your employees, and your customers.
But first you must reassess your architecture, security, technical support, network, desktop, applications development and infrastructure for this new way of operating. Two particularly important technology areas to consider are management tools and security. Home-based contact center agents work at home on secure desktops, using full end-to-end data encryption from their desktops to your data center through typical Internet connections. They already have the desktop computer. They have a desk and chair. They even have their own Internet service. That’s easy. But how do you monitor these remote employees? How do you communicate with them and evaluate their performance on a daily basis? And how do you support the remote environment to keep home agents productive?
From a security perspective, every customer touch is an opportunity to strengthen brand image. Unfortunately, security breaches and data theft make the news on a regular basis, tarnishing brand names and seriously depleting customer trust and good will. For this reason, digital security must be a top priority, especially in the contact center where employees are entrusted with the safety and security of customer data. Home contact agents handle sensitive customer data on a daily basis, so it will be critical not only that you secure their desktop environments and connections, but the remote hiring process as well. You will need to put procedures and technology in place to ensure new hires are who they say they are.
Only after the technical framework is established can you put the right monitoring, communication and scheduling tools into place to optimize customer engagement. Get the white paper, “Home Agent Contact Center Best Practices: Technology”, for an in-depth look at the tools and technologies Eventus contact center consulting experts have found will heop you build sturdy home agent foundations.
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.