According to a survey conducted by global provider of unified business communications solutions for contact centre automation, Interactive Intelligence, latest trends indicate an increase in the use of remote agents or home workers in contact centres.
The study revealed that 45% of the questioned contact centres employed a home-worker strategy to overcome challenges posed by the global recession and cut costs. Approximately 88% have chosen this strategy because in order to increase productivity, while 73% admitted saving money on facility costs.
“A key challenge for contact centres is forecasting headcount to cope with peaks and troughs in demand. With the technology available today, productivity and quality monitoring, security and functionality are no longer issues—an agent working at home or in the office can operate in exactly the same way”, commented Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence’s regional sales director for UK, Middle East and Africa.
Although the technology to do all of this is in place, the research however showed that perception around these strategies puts a strain on South African businesses, with 60% of contact centers citing lack of control over staff as a major impediment, 58% claiming loss of functionality and 84% arguing that being able to monitor staff won’t be possible.
Benefits of adopting a remote agents strategy for contact centers can mean, besides cost savings, an opportunity to attract more qualified staff and to reduce staff turnover in an industry with an annual turnover of 20%. In a survey by BusinessWeek magazine, 75% of home agents in the US had some tertiary education, versus 20% of agents within contact centres.
Also, 86% of home workers said they had a better work/life balance, 90% believed they were more productive at home and 80% said they felt less stressed, according to Interactive Intelligence’s research.
“This could point to the reasons for staff turnover and absenteeism for home workers being 50% lower than those based in-house”, concluded Paulding.
Interactive Intelligence is a global provider of unified business communications solutions for contact centre automation, enterprise IP telephony and business process automation. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 3,500 customers worldwide.