The benefits of a home-based agent model are undeniably exciting. From cost savings to reduced attrition, the work-at-home agent model is attractive to say the least. However, deploying it in a way that is successful for both business and agents can prove challenging.
The first question you should ask yourself is: Why do you want a home-based model? Think about it for a minute. If your answer is to increase the size of the labor pool of highly qualified agents with specific core competencies and experience, then you’re already on the right track.
Now that we’ve determined why you should deploy the home-based model, let’s discuss how to do this successfully.
Overcoming Challenges and Getting Started
There are two main challenges contact centers face when deploying this model:
1. Hiring the Right Agents
Not all agents are good candidates for the at-home model. When hiring, it is essential to recruit someone who enjoys working alone, can manage their time well, and can produce results. The good news is that because agents find this model attractive and you are not constrained by geographical restrictions, you’ll have plenty of candidates.
Some statistics to keep in mind when hiring at-home agents:
- The median age of an at-home worker is 38, while the average age of an on-premise call center agent is 23.
- More than 80% of home agents have some college-level education; this is only true of 35% of agents in brick-and-mortar centers.
The Bottom Line: You can recruit more experienced and educated workers, and you should screen for personalities that don’t mind flying solo and are time- and results-focused.
2. Selecting the Appropriate Technology
A major benefit to the home-based model is lower operational costs; however, this requires determining the proper contact center technology solution for at-home agents. Generally, there are two options to consider:
- A traditional carrier solution or premise-based system and
- An on-demand or network-based solution.
Let’s cut right to the chase. Traditional premise-based solutions are far too expensive and complex to deploy for each individual agent. Therefore, the on-demand solution is designed with the at-home model in mind and without the need for hardware and capital expenses.
The Bottom Line: The most effective scenario is to find a hosted SaaS technology provider who is responsible for all maintenance and upgrades and provides the connectivity options that link you and your agents together. These solutions also give you complete control over the features and reports each agent can access.
Many contact center leaders have partnered with EPIC to deploy at-home models, evaluate the industry’s best SaaS technology platforms, and find the right solution as well as the right agents. Now that you know how to get started with at-home agent deployment, be sure to contact EPIC to learn more about our services, including SaaS technology RFP support, evaluation and selection guidance, installation, and optimization.