In the last 10 years, the customer service industry, across all verticals, has seen a drastic increase in the use of remote agents. This rise in popularity stems from many reasons, the main ones being lower costs, improved agent satisfaction, scalability, and advancements in technology. Each one of these factors has had a great influence on the way companies provide support to it's customer base. Now that the remote agent has become so commonplace, customer service groups are looking for ways to reduce costs of at home agents, especially the start-up costs associated with deploying service agents across the US and the world.
One of the biggest expenses with deploying at home agents is the cost of training. Many groups are still unsure how to complete remote training, so they require agents to complete training and shadowing in the call center before they can become independent, which can be very expensive. Other organizations invest thousands of dollars into remote access technologies so that training and shadowing can be delivered through the web (we think this is the most efficient way, but still requires a vast amount of resources to get agents up to speed.) The question we then pose is; Why even bother training your agents at all?
Well, that might be a bit drastic and over the edge, but reducing the time and money spent on training agents can help to not only reduce the overall cost of remote agents but also help to improve the results. By investing a small amount of resources into designing and developing a set of highly flexible guided processes, support organizations can lower the initial investment into each agent. By teaching the "system" how to solve the problem and the agent how to use the "system," training time can go from 6 weeks down to 1 or less, even for a multi-tenant organization serving multiple "brands".
Traditional agent training is extremely stagnant, and can become outdated in a matter of months when products and services get updated or new ones get added. Now, service and support groups have to go through the same tedious steps to retrain their agents. Many contact centers service multiple brands, and in a growth phase this type of traditional training method can lead to severely increased costs. If the knowledge and process to solving problems is housed in guided process workflows with SpiceCSM, those files can simply be updated real-time in one place, and all agents will have instant access to it. Completely eradicating the need for future training or large labor costs associated with training agents (in house or in office).
There are many other things that call centers can do to reduce training costs of at home agents, including: cloud based ACD's, performance payment scales, and CRM's. But the highest cost in start-up and maintenance will continue to be agent training.
Eliminating or vastly reducing the need for training can help to spread the use of at home agents, to which we have found many benefits. At home agents with lower cost and less time intensive training can be deployed quickly to suit needs based on volume, and can greatly reduce the equipment cost associated with each agent.
Consider the actual cost of outfitting the average contact center workspace, and it is seen that overhead costs can be reduced greatly by deploying at-home agents using their own computer with a cloud based ACD. Risk can be minimized through the use of proper Quality Assurance methods, as well as guided process workflows to present agents with the correct information to serve individual contacts.