Thinking about using a remote call center in your business? Here are a few other things to think about.
- About 3 million Americans work largely out of their homes today — that’s a 61% increase in just the last decade. It will be nearly half of all U.S. workers by 2016.
- Approximately 60% of contact centers use remote agents in some capacity and the number is growing.
- More than half of the contact centers in the United Sates have at least some of their agents working from home, and more than 70% of them intend on increasing the number of agents who work from home.
Why this big surge toward work-from-home employees, such as those who work in remote call centers? There are many good reasons, starting with the following eight.
It Can Save Money
One of the biggest costs any business faces is the cost of real estate, especially if based in a big city where property costs can be extremely high. Just renting or leasing space can cost thousands of dollars a year per agent. Now, add in utilities, maintenance, equipping and maintaining workstations, add amenities for the comfort of the staff, furniture, conference rooms…
Or, you can just have a virtual call center, which merely requires your agent to have a compatible computer, the appropriate interface, and some software.
You’ll Have Happier (and More Productive) Staff
Naturally, a lot of staff really like the ease of working from home. They don’t have to worry about getting to work late because of traffic or slowed public transportation. There’s no need to find something suitable to wear to work, because they can wear whatever they find most comfortable. Perhaps most important of all, they can work in a comfortable, personal, and familiar environment, instead of in a cubicle.
At home, there are fewer interruptions and distractions, which adds to agent productivity. At home, there are no other agents or bosses checking in or asking questions. There’s only the agent and the caller, having a one-on-one conversation, as it should be.
Better Agent Attention and Retention
Employees who enjoy their work are more likely to stay with it, which means better employee retention for you and your company, should you employ remote call center service. Many employees are even willing to take less pay just for the opportunity to work from home.
While taking less pay may sound counter-intuitive, consider how beneficial it is for someone to be able to simply sign off and return to their personal lives, instead of having to travel home. Or the savings in just gas and other transportation costs (or on buying lunch).
A Bigger and Better Recruiting Pool
A standard office-based business has to hire people in the immediate area. A remote call center does not have any such restrictions. Because you can hire from anywhere you like, you can choose to be more picky with who you decide to hire.
Naturally, fewer people driving to work means fewer cars spewing exhaust into the air. This does more than reduce pollution — it may also help certain companies remain in compliance with state, local, and federal regulations regarding environmental standards. Just by establishing a remote call center with modern call center software, you’re doing your part to reduce air pollution.
It’s a lot of effort to get ready to go to work. That effort is something that could have been used for work, instead of just preparing for it. Working from home allows an agent to be more focused. What’s more, they won’t be watching the clock the whole time, hoping they can get to, or away from, work in a timely manner.
In a larger sense, you’ll be able to shift focus to agents living in different time zones as the day progresses, not only giving you longer operating hours, but allowing you to account for varying call volume from hour to hour.
Better Customer Service
Customers want to be able to call in and talk to a person who is friendly and knowledgeable — and hopefully someone that can help them resolve their concern on the first call. A remote call center gives you the ability to direct a call to the agent that can best serve any given need. Because you have the ability to hire specialists or those with specialized knowledge, no matter where they live, you’ll have the ability to make sure your customers get exactly what they need when they call.
Improved Emergency Preparedness
When you have all your call center agents in one place, the potential for disaster is much greater. A fire or a tornado or some other kind of disaster can completely wipe out your company’s ability to respond to the needs of your customers. While you’re rebuilding, your customer service is completely out of commission. A remote call center situation means even when there’s a regional problem, like an earthquake or a blackout, it will only affect one portion of your workforce. In fact, you may even be able to call upon workers in unaffected areas, so you’re never working at less than full capacity.
These reasons are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of a remote call center. Do some research of your own and see how much a virtual call center can help your business achieve its goals.