Contact Centres benefit from ‘New Normal’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Employers and agents across the UK contact centre industry are already benefiting from the ‘new normal’ of home-based working, and the reasons why have been revealed in a study carried out by the UK Contact Centre Forum and sponsored by Content Guru. It revealed that when comparing home-based with office-based contact centre operations, 75% of organisations reported lower attrition, 61% said productivity is better, and 54% say absenteeism is better among those working at home.

As well as delivering significant advantages to businesses, home-working is also benefiting agents, with 74% saying they have a better work-life-balance compared to working in an office. In addition, 86% say they have no travel-to-work costs, while 81% say that they have recovered time wasted travelling to and from work. The research was conducted between November 2019 and March 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdown significantly increased the levels of home-working across the industry, and highlights benefits of home working that go beyond the pandemic. The report also highlights the paramount importance of implementing proper security and compliance measures when deploying remote contact centre staff.

“It’s clear that we are seeing the model for the future of the contact centre industry emerge in real time,” explained Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-founder at Content Guru. “Key to the success of home-working, however, is the ability of employers to establish the infrastructure agents need quickly and efficiently. A cloud-based solution allows organisations to deliver a secure and compliant customer experience while also improving employee engagement, and that’s a clear win-win”.

Martin Taylor recently appeared on Comms Business Live (pre-COVID-19) to talk about Customer Experience in 2020 and beyond.

Contact centre organisations that haven’t traditionally offered home-working to their agents can now rapidly pivot to help agents continue to use the full functionality of the contact centre in their own homes. The availability of cloud-based Contact-Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) platforms mean that agents and employers alike can benefit from increased flexibility without impacting the customer experience or data security. In addition, analysing recordings of key interactions between call agents and customers allows trainers to identify best practice and gaps in knowledge.

Additional findings from the 2020 survey include:

•75% of home agents are aged 35 or over; 61% have over 10 years experience in customer contact roles.
•71% of home agents say that they are happy (at least some of the time); 65% are proud to tell people where they work.
•5% of organisations allow home agents to work multiple shifts on a single day.
•97% of home agents use virtual training; 70% of these think it is just as effective as office-based training.
•59% of home agents supply/buy their own laptops; 76% supply their own broadband/internet connectivity.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine