Home-based contact centre agents to double by 2010

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Home-based contact centre agents to double by 2010

Employers -- especially contact centre managers -- are increasingly hiring staff who will work from home, according to a recent survey.

The survey was conducted by Integ Communications and presented at the recent G-Force call centre conference.

Nearly half of the respondents to the survey indicate that they plan to extend their workforce to remote and home-based agents to assist in addressing recruiting challenges.

Results predict that the total number of remote and home-based contact centre agents will more than double in the next two years.

“Contact centre employers recognise the need for some employees to work from different locations, and are driving a demand for technology that will allow employees to work from anywhere,” said Ian Poole, CEO of Integ.

18 per cent of contact centres surveyed currently employ home-based agents. Integ’s research indicated that this figure will grow to 37 per cent by 2010.

During the same time period, 45 per cent of companies will have call centre agents in remote (but not home-based) offices.

Companies are moving to remote employment to solve employment problems, with employers citing workplace flexibility, reduced employee travel and benefits, and agent scheduling during peak call times (or ‘avalanche calling’) as factors behind their plans.

More than 70 per cent of survey respondents believe that offering remote employment will attract good candidates who want part-time or home-based employment, such as parents.

“Having remote and home agents is clearly enabling companies to enhance their ability to attract quality staff,” said Poole.

“The survey really shows that for organisations interested in enabling remote agents, ensuring access to tools that equip them with the same level of intelligence, training and resources as employees based within the centre is vital.”

Poole said that for companies who use, or intend to use remote and home-based agents, the first priority is to provide these employees with the same technologies and resources to enable them to offer comparable customer service.

“It’s evident both from this survey and in our discussions with our customers that unified communications technologies that enable high levels of collaboration are stiff considered a ‘nice to have’ in the call centre environment," he said.

“We expect that in the next 12 months we will see these technologies become an increasing priority for these businesses.”
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