How the Remote Model Reduces Expenses

In today’s Connections Magazine Online, Drew Judkins wrote a terrific article entitled “How the Remote Model Reduces Expenses”.

Drew started his article with a powerful statistic, “When you think of cost savings for locating call center agents at home, certain factors come to mind, including office space, parking space, furniture, and utilities. These hard costs can equal at least $2,000 per year in savings per agent. But what if the actual cost savings were four or five times that amount?”

Outside of the tremendous cost savings, Drew discusses other important benefits to a remote workforce solution such as:

Workforce Flexibility: “Facility-based call centers are stuck in the mold of overstaffing valleys and understaffing peaks because it’s not fair to ask an agent to commute to work for a ninety-minute shift. Sporadic, peak-time shifts and varied schedules are more feasible if the agent is working from home. The strategy also frees up agents to work a broader selection of shifts, addressing the supply and demand issue. In manufacturing, for example, this flexible staffing model would be considered just-in-time (JIT). Just as the demand for agents increases, the supply of agents increases, and vice versa.” Drew goes on to mention that companies using this model save, on average, 10 to 30 percent on their employee expense, which he says is usually 75% of the total call center expense.

Happy Agents: According to Drew, “Happy agents are the most influential factors in generating happy caller interactions and improved client retention.” He says Work At Home call centers can see a measurable difference in agent productivity. “The at-home agent productivity gains generally range from 10 to 30 percent.” Drew goes on to note that another way to measure that employees are happier in the at-home model is that companies that have moved to this model report lower turnover and significantly lower absenteeism.

Successful At-Home Implementation: “Call centers that have successfully implemented an at-home agent program report impressive reduction in expenses and increased customer and agent satisfaction.

Drew continues by mentioning the three biggest concerns to a call center considering the at-home model which are productivity, quality and security (agents accountable for following policies and procedures).

If you ask the call center manager of a large call center how they know if their agents are being productive, they won’t walk you out on to the call center floor and visually scout to see who is or is not being productive. What they will do is logon to their various management tools which let them see who is on a call, for how long, with who, who is logged in or out of their que, etc. They can definitively see who is following procedure and who is not. They can even listen in or coach an agent on their call without the client knowing. All of these same management tools are available to those who manage the at-home call center.

Drew concludes with “Call centers are beginning to realize that if they are not offering at-home options, they may find themselves competing for quality agents from companies that do.” “Not only do at-home agents reduce costs, but they also increase caller satisfaction and reduce employee attrition. The cost savings alone for implementing an at-home workforce present a compelling reason to at least explore the option. As the competitive trend continues, the at-home model will certainly produce future growth.”

Drew brought up some compelling points and I thought his article was fantastic. There are continually more and more reasons for companies to utilize virtual platforms and move or expand to an at-home model and fewer solid reasons to maintain an equipment based, premise based “brick and mortar” call center.

Darren Prine
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Northwinds Contact Solutions

~ by Darren Prine on September 28, 2009.

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