6 Benefits of In-Home Call Center Agents

The Advantages of Letting Customer Care Agents Take the Job Home

When I talk with business owners about moving their customer care operation from in-house to outsourced, I find that their opinions usually fall into three camps: Camp 1: those who say they will “never” outsource (for a whole host of reasons), Camp 2: those who have tried outsourcing and are still bearing the scars from a poorly handled transition, and Camp 3: those who have outsourced and only wish they’d done it sooner (and yes, I’m talking about our customers at Skybridge Americas).

Usually, in my conversations with those folks in Camps 1 and 2, we quickly land on one inescapable fact: the staffing landscape is changing rapidly.  The truth is, most organizations who are trying to keep everything in-house, under their watchful eye, have been burned by the current unemployment rates. This is, after all, a candidate’s market.  Customer care agents are in demand. They’re also very technologically savvy.  And they have a broad spectrum of job choices out there, waiting for them.

So, what do most customer care agents want these days?  They want flexible weekly work schedules, flexible PTO, and the chance to work in a familiar, peaceful environment.  Here’s something they don’t want: difficult commutes, sterile cubicles, and costly (or unappealing) lunch options.

In other words, they just want to work from home.

That sounds nice… for those agents. For most employers, however, it’s simply not attainable.  Most organizations with in-house customer service are not in a position to research, invest in, and maintain the technology and supervisory expertise required to build a world class, in-home customer care team.  But world-class outsource call centers specialize in doing exactly that.

That’s what we do at Skybridge Americas every day.

If you haven’t had a chance to consider the benefits of working with in-home customer care agents, check out these 6 Benefits of In-Home Call Center Agents:

  1. Increase Agent Productivity.  Yes, I said increase.  If you’ve been harboring fears about “slacking off” when employees work from home, it’s time to let go of those concerns.  In a 2014 study published by Oxford University press, researchers found that, when employers create work-at-home opportunities for their call center agents, they enjoy a 13% performance increase, 9% (attributed to actually working more minutes per shift due to fewer breaks and sick days) and another 4% by handling more calls per minute (credited to the quieter, more convenient working environment).  If you have lingering beliefs about the mice playing when the cat is away, this may all strike you as counter-intuitive. However, consider this simple fact:  the majority of today’s workforce is seeking a degree of work-life balance that often includes working remotely.  For many, many highly skilled individuals, working from home is the pathway to job happiness.  And when your employees are happy doing their work, they simply tend to do it better, more efficiently, and more positively.

  2. Expand Time Zone Coverage.  Imagine providing extended – or even 24/7 – coverage without the headaches of running 2nd and 3rd shifts on-site.  When your at-home customer care agents are scattered across multiple time zones, you have the freedom to provide extended daily coverage more easily, often with just a handful of agents online during non-peak hours.

  3. Better Handle Call Spikes and Other Call Fluctuations.  In-home staffing allows for nimble scaling up or down to accommodate changes in call volumes, even when they’re unexpected.  In-home customer care positions can easily be structured to offer additional, shorter shifts during peak volume periods.  And your in-home agents will be far more likely to pick up those shifts, even on very short notice.  Why? Because there is very little unpaid “prep” time required before reporting for duty. No commute, no bundling up for bad weather, no prepping a lunch.

  4. Hire from the Best Talent Pool – Unlimited by Geography.  When your customer care positions are stationed on-site, you’re forced to hire from a talent pool that is limited by your geographic location.  If your physical location is smack dab in the middle of the city, close to mass transit and other conveniences, then you’re in luck.  When your jobs can be performed from just about any location in the country, you have instant access to a broader selection of highly skilled candidates, regardless of where they live.

  5. Connect, Communicate, and Deliver Training More Quickly.  A remote workforce is a wired workforce.  That means your in-home team is highly motivated – and completely able – to handle every aspect of their job electronically.  They’re geared toward connecting with you and each other via Zoom, GoToMeeting, or just about any other digital mode of delivery.  These teams are simply not tethered to in-person classroom dates or conference room gatherings as their primary means of giving and receiving information. For these workers, virtual gatherings are the norm.  For you, that means everything is quicker, easier, and less costly.

  6. Boost Your Brand.  Today’s workforce needs – and expects – greater flexibility and freedom than ever before.  They crave flexible work schedules, In this candidate-driven market, you’re already competing with employers who can provide that flexibility.  If you’re stuck in the mode of on-site call center supervision, you’re losing the battle for top talent.

 

by Bobby Matthews
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas

bmatthews@skybridgeamericas.com

 


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