Prepare for an At-Home Future

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Today's contact center model isn't what it used to be. Traditional operations are evolving to be more flexible with a remote workforce. Home-based associates will grow by 60 percent over the next two years, with much of the growth in retail and communications, followed by healthcare, insurance, complex financial services, and utilities, says research firm Ovum. And it's for more than just voice—at-home associates are conducting Web chat, email, and social media interactions.
There are many upsides: Those who have made the move home report reduced overhead costs, lower attrition, and higher associate quality and retention, Ovum adds. It's not a decision to be taken lightly, however. Many companies are hesitant, citing efficiency, staffing, and security concerns.
We understand it's a big decision. And we also know how to help make the case for your organization. Here are five ways to make the most out of an at-home contact center operation.
1. Enjoy the wild (volume) ride. The more flexibility you have in ramping up or down quickly with a variety of dispersed staff, the better you will be at meeting service levels and delivering a great customer experience. For example, we worked with a company who encountered call volume of 240 percent above its forecast. We efficiently scaled up with highly skilled at-home reps, leading to a 22 percent lift in occupancy. Service levels were met three times as fast as with brick-and-mortar staff, and associates received eight of 12 annual product line CSAT awards.
2. Solve the talent equation. There are no geographical limits to recruiting, so the quality of the talent pool automatically rises. You can find the best employees for both part- and full-time work from anywhere. And with an average age of 40 and an average work experience of 11 years, work-at-home associates bring professional and life experience to their work, along with higher educational backgrounds.
3. Stay safe and secure. In my experience, information security is always the top concern when talking to potential at-home clients. However, there are plenty of technologies, processes, and procedures in place to prevent any data missteps. The quality of home-based associates and continuous training on security protocols help keep information security a priority for everyone.
4. Be more effective and efficient. Using at-home associates adds much more value to a business (and customers) than traditional contact centers. Along with cost savings, there are opportunities to elevate the quality of customer interactions. One company we worked with wanted a cost-efficient solution for seasonal spikes using onshore associates. With a blended traditional and home job part-time staffing model, the company increased in-chair occupancy by five percentage points, improved service levels by approximately 8 percent, and was able to provide U.S.-based resources to support consumers while simultaneously saving $1 million.
5. Never stop learning…virtually. The options for employee training and ongoing learning are expansive. The reduced expense, compared to brick-and-mortar training, allows for more breadth and depth of training. They include one-on-one mentoring, online courses, cloud-based knowledge sharing, simulated learning, and differentiated tools for groups or individuals.
These tips barely scratch the surface of the benefits of going "home." Looking for more data and evidence to make the business case in your company? Download the TTEC eBook, Success Begins at Home, and visit the TTEC At-Home Resource Center to learn more.

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