company does a couple of
things. We hold workshops, conferences, and perform on site
consulting to help companies get work at home and remote working
programs right. We see hundreds of deployment strategies per
year, a ton of innovative tactics and processes, and yes, some big pain
points and important learnings.
here are the top three trending
pitfalls of work at home programs (for contact centers and support
functions specifically) and how to avoid them:
Pitfall #1: Bad hiring - we’re
speaking specifically of transferring in house employees into work at
home positions, or hiring people externally into work at home
positions. Why do we get this wrong? Usually it's time
pressure (setting unrealistic goals to fill positions), and/or lack of
proper assessment of required knowledge, skills, abilities to
successfully work remotely.
get the wheels back on and
deliver a stable, high talent, low turnover hiring program:
Start with a
new job description. Focus on what's required to be successful
working from home or working remotely at your company.
comprehensive job simulation tool. Prospects need to take a test
drive of what the job feels like, (by doing it), and companies need to
get a glimpse of their prospects doing a test drive. Two
excellent vendors are Furst Person and Chemistry.
performance and behavior. Behavioral interviews, reference
checks, background checks are the tools we need. SkillSurvey
invites applicants to furnish references of friends/colleagues and gets
good results, candid feedback (so say our clients).
decision maker. We've seen companies sometimes ramp up hiring
(unrealistically) and put interviewers/hiring decision makers in
positions that don't belong there. Inexperienced people in these
roles will result in bad hiring, it's a sure thing!
Pitfall #2: Disconnected new hire
training - the most crucial components of training are
people need to know, and when they need to know it. Skills based
training (starting with one or two skills, gaining proficiency, then
adding more) has the highest success rate in a contact center
environment, and works well for remote/virtual learning. Use
mixed mediums and micro-learnings (5-7 minute segments).
High-effort/Fragmented Connection to Co-Workers - remote working
mature staffing/business model, and there is great technology available
to make sharing knowledge and experiences, in a remote environment as
low effort and as effective as in-office. There are also great
tools available that make socializing remotely as easy and as effective
as in office (nearly). Enterprise Social Networks are the norm
(Slack, Facebook for Business, Microsoft Teams). Collapsing
several communication channels (i.e. chat, email, bulletin boards, IM)
into one is what makes these tools so easy to use, no matter where
people sit. Video (for most team meetings and one to one
meetings) is a baseline requirement. If your company is not
willing to invest in video and virtual meeting platforms, (i.e. Zoom,
Adobe Connect, Teams, Go To Meeting) we recommend you keep your staff
in an office building. Face to face interactions hold huge
importance and without it, programs suffer, engagement weakens,
performance slips, turnover rises.
the third quarter of each year the NACC, in conjunction with Saddletree
Research, conducts its annual research survey of customer service
professionals. For the past several years, we have endeavored to
keep track of what we see as a growing industry trend in the number of
contact center agents who are working from home.
year, 54 percent of respondents reported that they have agents working
from home. This is up from 50 percent at the beginning of
2018. Also interesting is the percent of agents that work from
home in the contact centers that support home agents. Figure 1
below illustrates the overall percentage of the workforce that works
from home in all contact centers with an at-home agent workforce at the
beginning of 2018.
1: Percent At-Home Contact Center Agents 2018
Figure 1 indicates that the majority of respondents, 44 percent, have
ten percent or less of their agent workforce working from home in
2018. Figure 2 illustrates this same statistic one year later, at
the beginning of 2019.
2: Percent At-Home Contact Center Agents 2019
Figure 2 shows that the majority of respondents in 2019, 37 percent,
now have 11 percent to 25 percent of their workforce working from
home. We believe this a clear indication of the success of
at-home work programs in the contact center industry. As success
is proven, more contact centers are investing in an at-home agent
Another factor that will likely play into the at-home agent movement is
potential for the gig, or contract, contact center agent in the very
near future. Similar to Uber drivers, gig agents will choose the
hours they want to work and supply their own equipment.
Surprisingly, seven percent of the industry is already experimenting
with gig agents in their contact centers. Another 19 percent
indicated that they would seriously consider bringing in gig agents
before the end of 2019.
For more information and data regarding gig agents in the contact
center, please listen to a webinar I recorded with Aspect at the end of
2018. The webinar, entitled, “Contact Center Staffing in the
Gig Economy” can be downloaded here.
In This Issue...
3 Pitfalls Of Work At Home Programs
Survey Results: At-Home Growth
"If you want to turn
your life around, try thankfulness. It will change
your life mightily."
~ Gerald Good
NACC has been burning
the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are sore to bring out
reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you are interested to
see what we are writing about, click on the links
below and download the executive summary of each. If you like
what you see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and
others that will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will
you know the latest trends in the industry.