According to market intelligence firm IDC, a number of companies are turning to a new sourcing model called "home-shoring" or "home-sourcing" to address call center challenges that sometimes arise, such as the need for superior agent quality, frequent turnover, and the seasonal nature of the business. IDC believes that in certain situations, by moving some work stations into agents' residences, companies can boost productivity and efficiency while continuing to reduce costs.
"The home-shoring phenomenon comes in part as a result of the significant challenges faced in the customer relationship management (CRM) and customer care space over the last four years," said IDC analyst Stephen Loynd. "Companies such as Alpine Access, Aspect, IntelliCare, West Corp., Willow and Working Solutions are having a significant impact on the ever-evolving customer care industry with their home-based sourcing methods and strategies."
IDC reports that there are currently upwards of 100,000 home-based phone representatives in the United States. Compared with traditional outsourcing and offshore, companies utilizing home-based agents can access highly skilled representatives that are closely attuned to the U.S. market at very reasonable cost. Additionally, accessing high-quality agents is not limited to those within commuting distance and agents can be contacted when needed, instead of occupying call centers during periods of very little call activity.
Loynd added, "There is no doubt that home-shoring can result in attractive benefits for both the company and the agents themselves. However, companies need to consider certain dynamics such as understanding cultural affinity, choosing the right target market, and harnessing partnering opportunities before jumping into such a strategy."
IDC's recently released report, An Alternative to Offshore Outsourcing: The Emergence of the Home-Based Agent (IDC #32237), highlights the growing phenomenon known as home-shoring and presents IDC's recommendations on how organizations can optimize this growing trend in the context of their customer-facing, care-related business processes.
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