Covid-19 has proven contact centres can be flexible and homeworking can work.
Prior to the pandemic, just 1.6 per cent of sales and customer service workers in the UK worked from home . By April 2020, that number had risen to 15.9 per cent . Now most managers of large contact centres say they do not expect to return to full-scale, on-premise working. Instead they plan to adopt a more agile approach that gives contact centre agents more flexibility around when and where they work .
The benefits this can bring to your contact centre are well known:
- Agents are able to work more flexible shifts, allowing organisations to offer longer service hours and more readily scale up and down to meet seasonal peaks and troughs
- Managers can look further afield and attract more diverse talent, as physical location becomes less critical
- Managers can save money on overtime payments and infrastructure costs
- Agents can concentrate on customers without the interruptions that often come with working in large open-plan offices
- Happier employees leads to greater staff loyalty and reduced staff turnover
But what impact could homeworking have on your brand and company culture?
Turning first impressions into lasting loyalty
Our Evolution of the Contact Centre research with the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) revealed two of the toughest challenges when it comes to remote working are onboarding and maintaining company culture.
Contact centre leaders and IT managers must now find ways to adjust face-to-face recruitment, training and performance management processes to support remote-based workers. Meanwhile, leaders must also find ways to maintain company ideals and a connected, collaborative culture that unifies staff and drives loyalty. As highlighted by Steven Lee, the Director of Business Operations at LEGO, offices provide valuable social interactions and cultural and brand immersion that are difficult to replicate remotely [3,4].
Additional support measures for homeworking
Brands must also consider how to care for and protect remote workers.
The isolation of homeworking can take a toll on employee mental health, while creating a disconnect between contact centre leaders and agents. While most contact centre agents have adapted well to remote working, some ongoing challenges include:
- Loss of agent support networks
- Suboptimal homeworking environments
- Agents juggling work with a young family
In response, many contact centre leaders are now scheduling regular check-ins with agents and enhancing their internal communication systems. Virtual team-building activities and wellness initiatives are also on the rise. LEGO, for example, has introduced ‘Wellness Wednesday’, which gives agents an extra hour break each week to participate in wellbeing activities . LEGO has also created a ‘Virtual Breakroom’, which allows colleagues to share a cup of tea together virtually .
How can Puzzel support your remote workforce?
With Puzzel’s cloud contact centre solution, your company can support remote workers whilst maintaining a strong, collaborative company culture.
Our all-in-one Agent Application frees agents to connect with customers and deliver seamless service from anywhere, at any time, on any channel and on any device. Agents can be onboarded and upskilled via our interactive online Learning Management System, the Puzzel Academy, and AI-powered tools, such as Agent Assist, can help less experienced staff manage complex requests.
Our solution also integrates with Microsoft Teams, enabling remote agents to instantly connect with their colleagues for help, advice or simply a chat. “We understand that positive employee engagement plays a critical role in a company’s success and we’re dedicated to making sure we have the tools and integrations in place to help agents stay productive,” Puzzel CTO Thomas Rødseth comments.
Insights from Puzzel and the CCMA’s joint research
To learn more about the latest trends transforming the contact centre sector, you can download a free copy of The Evolution of the Contact Centre here.