Why Remote-Working Contact Centre Agents Are a Good Idea

In theory, contact centre agents should be able to work from anywhere. With greater pressure than ever on businesses to be mobile and enable flexible working, it’s time to make sure that’s working wherever it needs to. It’s definitely possible, given today’s technology.

There are some challenges in making the transition. It requires a different approach to management and accountability, but enabling remote working has the potential to bring multiple benefits to a contact centre. The growth of cloud-based contact centre solutions attests to this idea, as businesses enabling remote working have reaped the rewards.

Here are four of those simple yet substantial benefits to make the argument in favour of you moving your call centre to a cloud-based platform.

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1. It’s easier to communicate from any location 

We’ve seen how global uncertainty has affected business and influenced behaviour. Who’d have thought toilet paper and hand sanitiser would ever be so sought-after? Changes to services have brought confusion and a deluge of queries into contact centres, overwhelming agents and communications channels. 

The scalability of contact centre as a service (CCaaS) allows customer service departments to be responsive at a level that on-premises systems simply can’t match. Real-time reporting delivers insights that can be acted on immediately, feeding into responsive scheduling. Remote access means agents can pick up shifts from anywhere and aren’t restricted to staying close to the office in order to provide support when needed. 

Just as we’ve seen supermarkets respond to demand by increasing their workforce, contact centres need to increase their resources to cope with the stress put on customer service. It’s quick and easy to add accounts to a cloud-based contact centre when increasing staff cover to meet demand, meaning an expanded workforce can be up and running in minutes.

CCaaS enables businesses to set up region-specific contact centre teams, so remote agents can provide location-specific information where needed and can easily collaborate with colleagues in different locations thanks to highly-functional team messaging. Communications run more smoothly, experts are easy to route queries to, and information can be shared instantly and specifically to keep departments better connected.

2. Better Employee Experience – and Its Effects

By now we should all be well aware that improving employee experience (EX) not only leads to better customer experience (CX) but also has an impact on share value as well as bottom line. There’s an obvious connection there. A company that invests in empowering its employees to do their best work is a company setting itself up for continued success.

Empowering employees to succeed is one of the best ways to improve motivation. Giving employees the tools, along with the freedom, to do their job well, and providing them the flexibility to achieve a better work/life balance, are tried and tested ways to boost morale, make employees feel valued, and empower them to create their own success.

Happier, more motivated employees are more likely to stick around. The EX-factor in remote working bears out in the contact centre statistics. According to Frost and Sullivan, the retention rate for at-home agents is 80% vs. 25% for in-house.

Contrary to popular belief, employees can be more productive when working from home. Feeling empowered to operate their own self-discipline and time management, and find their own work/life balance, puts motivation back into the hands of employees and helps them feel more engaged and more inclined to use their time productively.

3. Reduce Costs

The immediate cost savings involved in supporting a remote workforce are related to premises overheads. Rent, utilities and hardware are common outlays that can add up to large amounts for fully on-premises businesses. 

Running an on-premises contact centre also comes with the cost of installing hardware that requires specialist maintenance support to deliver the uptime you need. On-premises system management also means having to pay for dedicated staff to manage functionality such as adding lines to cope with seasonality or increasing on-site data storage capacity. Choosing a cloud-based system, you avoid all these additional costs as the subscription fee you pay covers the entire service. 

There’s also the time factor to consider: Cloud systems allow you to track operational performance in real time to help you make improvements to efficiency according to demand. All the adjustments you make are done through the same interface – there’s no need to wait for a specialist to come and operate on-site.

4. Hire the Best Employees, Regardless of Location

When spreading your recruitment net to cover remote contact centre agents who can contribute regardless of geographic location, your talent pool grows beyond the immediate surroundings of your office. By increasing your capacity to attract talent, you increase your chances of finding candidates who best fit the role and can bring great value to your business.

Access to a wider talent pool allows you to be more discerning in your criteria for quality agents, helping to ensure you’re choosing the right individuals for the job, not just the ones that are available. Securing experienced remote working agents gives you more chance of working with more responsible, more motivated and more productive employees. Hiring agents to work remotely can also give you access to specialist local knowledge around the globe.

With your strong team, you stand a better chance of delivering higher productivity, providing better customer experiences and improving your brand. Your call centre employees can provide the best possible feedback and information to customers regardless of where they are located.

Besides the common benefits of enabling staff to work from home, it is now more important than ever to put measures in place that give you the best chance of business continuity while protecting your workforce from unnecessary exposure. If you’re considering enabling your contact centre employees to work remotely, consider how it could actually help grow your business.

Try our remote working resources hub for more information on how to successfully implement remote working for your business, including further details about the benefits of cloud contact centre on remote working.

Learn more about how contact centre technology can create a better experience for customers and agentsLearn more

Christoph Cyrol

Author

    Christoph Cyrol is Product Marketing Manager of Customer Engagement products for RingCentral, the leader in cloud communications solutions. Originally from Germany, Christoph earned a Masters degree in electrical engineering (Dipl-Ing. FH) in Krefeld before moving to Munich. There, he worked in EMEA Product Marketing, responsible for the product line-up and GTM strategy for a large Japanese hardware vendor.

    In 2000, Christoph relocated to the UK and made it his new home. In the UK, he enjoyed six years in Product Management, managing the European messaging and products for a leading graphics software vendor. By working with some global collaboration solutions vendors, he discovered the beauty of cloud solutions, which led him to RingCentral.

    In his free time, Christoph loves to be submerged under water while out for a scuba diving trip, or enjoying the fresh air on tarmac with two wheels underneath him.