Discover Why Every Call Center Should Move Toward Having a Remote Staff
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Many businesses struggle to find entry-level employees. This includes the call center industry. Though the technology to allow for remote work has existed for a long time—and continues to get better—some call centers are reluctant to embrace the option of home-based call center agents.
This may be due to several factors. A key one is the challenge of managing a distributed workforce. Another is being able to ensure quality. A third is a tendency to want to continue doing what we’ve always done and are comfortable doing.
Yet business dynamics continue to change. And the rate of change has accelerated in the past year.
If your call center continues to pursue a paradigm of having all employees work from a centralized location, now is the time to challenge that perception and reconfigure your operation to address today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.
Here are some of the key benefits of hiring home-based call center agents.
Tap Homebound Workers
Some otherwise-qualified employees want to work but for varying reasons are homebound. This may be due to their preference or their circumstances, but the fact remains that they are eager candidates. It’s just that they can’t go to work, so you need to bring the work to them.
Fortunately, this is easy to do, as well as being a perfect fit, for call center work.
Though some situations don’t fit, such as people tasked with childcare or eldercare, other contexts are a nonissue. This includes people who lack transportation, live too far away from your office, have mobility issues, or struggle with social anxieties.
These people can potentially work remotely and function as ideal home-based call center agents.
Expanded Labor Pool
If your local labor market lacks qualified or willing candidates, has unrealistic compensation expectations, or suffers from a low unemployment rate, explore an untapped or under reached labor market to find home-based call center agents to staff your operation and round out your roster.
Many call centers could benefit by scheduling people for split shifts, working an hour or two at various times throughout the day to meet traffic peaks. In addition is the dream of having on-demand workers who could login to process calls to deal with an unexpected deluge of traffic, be it for a few minutes or several hours.
Both these dreams are a realistic option with home-based call center agents. Many are willing to accept odd schedules or be available for on-demand work. They measure their commute in steps, not miles or minutes.
And, unless your operation uses videoconferencing, their appearance doesn’t matter. They don’t need to follow an office-based dress code. Since there working from home, they can login within seconds and take calls for short shifts or on-demand, as well as regular shifts.
Of course, not every home-based employee will embrace this paradigm, but some will, and they may even prefer it.
Save on Facility Costs
With home-based call center agents, you have less people working in your office. This means you can scale back on your facility. Taken to its logical conclusion, you will have no staff working in your office. As a result, you’ll be able to close your office or sell your building. This will cut your costs and bolster your profits.
Provide Safe Employment
Though this concern is not as high as it once was, we should prepare for the possibility that it could one day reemerge, perhaps as an even more dangerous threat.
These are all benefits that have been around for as long as home-based call center agents have been a possibility. Yet there is one more benefit—a key consideration in this uncertain time—that you should not overlook and will be wise to embrace.
This is, quite simply, working from home removes employees from the physical contact of others, eliminating the possibility of getting a virus from their coworkers.
Check out Sticky Customer Service for practical insights into how to provide great customer service (and what to avoid).