The remote agent model has rapidly changed customer service center operations. And more in recent weeks due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, which has forced many companies to implement teleworking among their employees.
The benefits of using remote agents are a compelling argument for companies looking to streamline operations, provide better customer service, lower call center costs, and increase agent retention and job satisfaction.
The remote agent model attracts employees from various situations who want to work and are willing to adhere to non-traditional hours, but may lack the ability to travel or not want to work in a traditional environment. Companies have discovered that there are many potential employees with flexible hours that can be used to accommodate difficult time gaps to fill.
Organizations that want to improve their customer experience are looking for the remote agent model, in part because of the profile of these types of employees. Agents who telecommute are typically at least 38 years old, bilingual, and many have management experience. In addition, they tend to possess maturity and professionalism, exhibit a superior work ethic, and prefer the autonomy of working remotely.
Three Main Benefits Of Having Remote Agents
1) Lower Call Center Costs
The companies experience savings in the final result through the reduction of the operating costs of the contact center. This reduction associated with remote agents includes lower starting salaries and reduced benefits, less need for facilities and support staff, more flexible scheduling options, and reduced training costs associated with increased agent retention.
Likewise, staffing for special events, holidays and vacations is simplified by remote agents with flexible hours. These employees can also accommodate spikes in short-term call volume.
Virtual training enables agents to live outside the geographic boundaries of the call center and receive the same training as call center agents. Once the initial training is completed, ongoing training for remote agents can be implemented through e-learning technology.
2) Improved Customer Service
Experts report that excellent customer service is directly related to agent satisfaction. With resolution on the first call, remote agents have been shown to create a better customer experience that results in increased loyalty. User loyalty due to an improved service translates into higher income.
Agent productivity is the key to contact center success, which includes excellent customer service and consistently meeting service level goals. When agents fail or perform poorly, service levels can be severely affected. Call center agents encounter interruptions throughout the day that affect their productivity. Remote agents have been shown to be more productive, with reported higher performance of up to one hour daily. Working in an environment with less or no disruption enables agents to focus on meeting service level objectives.
Teleworking agents increase operational stability by having employees in multiple locations that can continue to work during an interruption or exceptional situation. Additionally, remote agents can fill the gap when internal problems arise in call centers by answering calls without interrupting service.
3) Better Employee Satisfaction And Retention
Employee satisfaction leads to agent retention. Agent replacement is an important cost consideration for companies with high worker turnover. Recruitment and training costs can significantly affect the company’s profit margin. The retention rate for some remote agents is 80% vs. 25% for inmates.
Agent morale is a key factor in retention. Agents who telecommute are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs because they are in control of their schedules, allowing them a better balance between work and personal life. While software tools are available to help increase agent control over hours, the in-home model replaces the software solutions offered to agents in the call center. Remote agents can create unique schedules for their availability. Hours can be segmented throughout the day and vary daily.
In conclusion, many companies are implementing the remote agent model in order to improve customer service and increase loyalty, as well as increase retention through improved agent satisfaction. The teleworking agent model meets these two objectives.
The benefits of having an unlimited workgroup to choose from is incalculable to meet last minute scheduling demands, fill peak call volume time slots, or continue service during emergencies. Remote agents can be located anywhere in the country and are available for difficult-to-fill slots, allowing call centers to offer extended hours. The remote agent model creates a win-win situation for both employees and businesses by improving efficiency and lowering costs.