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Top 10 Reasons Why The Work-at-Home Service Model Is Exploding

by Dave Walsh, StatesideBPO - February 1, 2016

Top 10 Reasons Why the Work-at-Home Service Model is Exploding

You have probably heard the term home-based agents, which has been around for a number of years. What you might not realize is that this service model continually plays an expanding role in the delivery of customer care services each year. Demand for home-based agents and hosted contact services is affecting the dynamics of the provider ecosystem, contributing new challenges and new opportunities. According to a survey by Global Workplace Analytics, the employee population, as a whole, grew by 1.8% from 2014 to 2015, while the employee population that telecommutes grew an impressive 6.5%.

A new forecast issued by International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that U.S. spending on customer care business process outsourcing (BPO) using home-based delivery resources is increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.1% to $6.1 billion in 2017, making it one of the fastest-growing aspects of the U.S. customer care BPO services market today.

"IDC expects that the home-based agent delivery model for customer care BPO services will grow significantly over the next few years," said Melissa O'Brien, Research Analyst for Worldwide Contact Center Services at IDC”. Pressures, including changes in the way companies and consumers are communicating, costs of service and a continual need for talent are impacting the customer care BPO market, and home-agent delivery is a significant way of addressing these issues.

At StatesideBPO, we believe the ultimate motivation for the growth of the home-based agent model is grounded on one important principle: “Improved agent satisfaction leads to increased customer satisfaction resulting in improved customer loyalty.”

StatesideBPO is a pioneer in utilizing the home-based agent’s model providing our clients a greater level of service, with an agent staff comprised of Veterans and Veterans and Americans with disabilities. Based upon our experiences, here are our Top 10 Reasons why we believe businesses are rapidly embracing the home-based agent model.

1. Providing hope, freedom and economic rewards for those that might have difficulty getting jobs because of physical limitations, including Veterans, and Veterans and Americans with disabilities. These agents often turn out to be the most productive representatives due to their maturity, higher education level, and their successful navigation of life’s challenges. It’s a large pool of employees with huge potential opportunities. More than 12% of the working age population are disabled Americans – approximately 16 million people. A full three quarters of unemployed workers with disabilities cite lack of transportation and discrimination in the workplace as major factors preventing them from working.

2. Reduced costs- reducing or eliminating costs related to real estate, facilities, infrastructure, direct labor, business travel, communications and technology equipment, and other overhead costs associated with brick and mortar locations. To build a new call center facility in a modern bricks-and-mortar facility, for example, you will typically spend about $5,000 per workstation. The cost breakdown assumes 120 square feet per workstation with a cost of $1,500 for the workstation and chair, $2,500 for construction surrounding the workstation (HVAC, lighting, electrical, generator, etc.) and $1,000 for phone and computer equipment. The annual rental costs are $2,400 if you financed the cost of the construction over a five-year lease ($20 per square foot per year gross rental rate x 120 square feet).

3. Expanded labor pool to select from- geographical constraints inherent in recruiting agents for a physical location disappear. There will be a large potential labor pool to select from and only the most highly qualified agents can be selected to serve your customers. You are no longer forced to take on new agents simply because they live in proximity to the call center though they may not the best fit. Based on historic employee commuter studies, the typical bricks-and-mortar call center will attract more than 80% of its workforce from within a 20-minute drive of its facility. Similarly, these studies have found that more than 95% of agents will drive less than 30 minutes to work. Fluctuating gas prices and increasing labor competition make it difficult for call centers to attract from outside that drive-time model, considering the generally low wages that are paid at call centers.

4. Increased customer satisfaction- when you hire from a national labor pool and provide agents the opportunity and freedom to work from home, it results in increase first call resolution (FCR), increased quality and high levels of customer satisfaction.

5. Business continuity- by having the agents dispersed across the United States, it reduces the issues related with weather, power outages, illness or other business disruptions found in fixed locations.

6. Ability to handle vacillating call volume- in an adaptable work-at-home environment, part time workers can be available to handle scheduled high volume times, overflow calling, longer term seasonality or event-based increases in call volume. StatesideBPO hires a % of its agent workforce as part time agents to allow flexibility in staffing for peak volumes.

7. Flexibility in handling staffing scheduling- because of no commute time, agents can be scheduled in smaller and irregular blocks of time which is impossible in a fixed location.

8. Improved customer loyalty- the real motivation for deploying and managing the at-home agent is based on one simple principle: improved agent satisfaction leads to increased customer satisfaction which results in improved customer loyalty.

9. Agent Retention is increased –Retention of agents is increased and absenteeism rates are well below the industry average for at-home call center agents. At-home agents are generally more satisfied with their work, enjoy working in a familiar environment, and save time, stress and money by eliminating commuting to work. There are added benefits of cost savings associated with retention of agents including reducing the cost of ads, lost work time to interview and screen job applicants, and costs to train the new agent.

10. Increased agent productivity- when you select the best employees from the labor pool, retain them, and have an environment where employee satisfaction is high, the natural byproduct is increased agent productivity and quality. And as examples, Best Buy, British Telecom, Dow Chemical and many others show that teleworkers are 35-40% more productive. Oracle/Sun Microsystems’ experience suggests that employees spend 60% of the commuting time they’ve saved by performing work for the company, and American Express workers produced 43% more work product than their office-based counterpoints.

And as a bonus- here is one more reason.

11. Provide round the clock servicing, every day of the year- Having a large labor pool to draw from and allowing agents to pick the time they want to work, you can schedule coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

StatesideBPO is a virtual contact center employing home-based agents that are Veterans, and Veterans and Americans with disabilities. The average age of our agent is 35+ years of age, and over 70% have post-high school education. This maturity and education creates a higher performing agent, which translates into higher first call resolution and a superior experience for your customers, leading to increased customer loyalty.

For more information on StatesideBPO call Dave at 720-891-1804 or email dwalsh@statesidebpo.com

 

 
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