The out-house call center agent: for those of you who take customer calls from home, this probably isn’t what you consider to be your title. It was, however, the focus of a recent Digital Journal report covering the release of a new white paper. The out-house agent, according to this white paper, is not as business-friendly as we have been led to believe. If you’re employing agents at home, are you worried?
Chances are you have already assessed the risks of employing the at-home agent, but let’s look at statements provided in the white paper, produced by CGS, a global provider of technology solutions. The author of the paper, Tom Christenson, suggests that at-home agents present significant business risks. Problems cited in the paper include reduced efficiency, lower customer satisfaction scores, deep morale challenges and a lack of community association with the brand.
While it’s true that these risks are present with the at-home agent business model, they are not limited to this model alone. The business who hires individuals to talk to customers is at risk regardless of where the agent is sitting. The key is to have the right recruiting, vetting and training processes in place so the right person is hired to fill the role.
From there, the call center can take advantage of a few tools to ensure the at-home agent is working according to expectations. Desktop and activity monitoring software and 3rd party remote call monitoring are usually serving as primary tools to keep everyone on task. Call recording is also a good way to measure how the customer is responding to any of the activities in place to handle the interaction.
Beyond the customer experience, however, 3rd party remote call monitoring also helps protect against security breaches and brand damage. The agent doesn’t control the call recording and therefore can’t hide any activity that may be outside of the acceptable standards of performance. In other words, if the agent is asking for information from a client that they don’t actually need to complete a transaction, that information would be captured in the recording.
A look at cases that have dominated the headlines points to problems with data breaches in the call center industry. In most of these cases, however, the agents guilty of fraudulent activity where not working from home; they were working in in-house environments. They had simply learned how to beat the system.
If you want to protect the process, your brand and the customer experience, you have to have the right policies and controls in place; 3rd party remote call monitoring can help in the process, regardless of whether your agents are in-house or at home.