Americans are finding it more challenging than ever before to find good jobs. Demands of family, coupled with scarcity of good jobs, is pushing more workers to seek alternative types of employment that are both family-friendly and robust enough to keep the household budget alive.
The U.S. workforce is in flux today. Companies are also looking for ways to cut overhead when it comes to human resources. Unfortunately, in some cases, this has resulted in layoffs and pay freezes.
For the contact center industry, however, it may be presenting opportunities. The contact center industry is still expanding in the U.S. (despite rumors that offshore businesses have taken it all away). Many companies that experimented with offshore outsourcing found their customers didn’t like it. They don’t like speaking with people with heavy accents. They don’t like the idea that American jobs have been shipped offshore.
Increasingly, companies are turning to remote and home-based agents to fill in the blanks. It’s a great win for both the company and the employee: the company isn’t having to shell out a lot of overhead for a physical contact center, and the employee can remain at home and work more flexible hours in order to accommodate family needs. (After the kids go to bed, for example, or while they’re in school.)
“Contact centers are racing to deploy work-at-home programs in an effort to hire and retain more qualified staff, reduce real-estate costs and improve agent productivity,” writes Dumas. “Plus, the adoption of mobile, social and cloud technologies is accelerating the move toward remote work.”
These cloud-based solutions allow anyone with a headset and high speed Internet connection to don a headset, log in and begin taking calls, e-mails, text messages or even handle social media posts. In his blog post, Dumas profiles an agent, Colleen, who works from home after she puts her children to bed. Her employer has never met her in person, nor any of the other home-based agents it uses exclusively. She signs into work on her laptop.
“There is no software and hardware to install -- an intuitive agent interface is delivered right through her web browser,” writes Dumas. “She can answer, transfer, and conference calls. Agent scripts pop up when a call comes in along with the caller’s records and she can wrap up and easily ‘disposition’ calls.”
These agents are able to operate precisely as if they were in a physical location. They can stay in touch with supervisors and managers and fellow agents if they are working as a team. She can see the live call center stats on her screen. She is an active part of the company’s workforce management solution, and she can even record her calls.
A set-up like this, enabled by a cloud-based contact center solution, can solve a multitude of employee problems today. It can also save a company that uses the home-based agent model a bundle of cash.