Working from home improves job satisfaction and performance for customer service agents
Working from home became the rule rather than the exception for customer service agents in 2020. However, it has moved from a necessity to ensure workers’ protection in the pandemic to a new option that can enhance efficiency, aid job satisfaction and improve the work-life balances of employees.
There are several benefits to allowing greater flexibility for employees. According to the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA), staff turnover is around 26% annually. Considering the national average in the UK is 15%, there’s clearly something particularly challenging about the role. In addition, hiring and training new staff is expensive, so reducing turnover can help save money on recruitment.
Unhappy employees are also unproductive employees. Managing workplace stress levels is therefore vital for staff retention and helping employees maintain high productivity. However, 52% of call centre staff believe that their company isn’t doing enough to prevent burnout. Consultancy McKinsey & Company notes that happy and engaged employees are less likely to look for new jobs. In fact, they’re more likely to excel at their jobs – they’re 3.3 times more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues.
Equipping agents to work from home on a more permanent basis with the technology, tools and infrastructure they need therefore looks like a means for organisations to enhance both workers’ experiences and their own productivity. However, remote working results in fragmented teams and this creates supervisor and management challenges with everything from training to support impacted by not sharing the same site.
The lack of time spent conversing one-on-one, face-to-face for coordination can hinder productivity. It can also be difficult to offer feedback when agents are not within reach to flag issues and deal with them in a timely way. Remote working agents need feedback and being able to interact with them and intercept a potentially volatile situation can help relieve stress and satisfy customers who may become frustrated. A cloud contact centre solution can support a positive culture by making agents’ jobs easier in the long run with tools designed to improve their work, enable collaboration, foster strong engagement with customers and more. This technology can empower agents to provide best-in-class service and has become essential to communicate, collaborate, and appraise their service offering.
The next step is to address the management challenge. Effective communication is the starting point for good management. To encourage regular dialogue, managers and team leaders need to be available for employees at convenient times. Use team messaging apps or scheduling software. These management tools make it easy to sync calendars for all team members. Make sure you’re providing your agents with as much up-to-date technology as possible. A business phone system can help agents to manage call flow much more efficiently. It can allow easy transfer between agents to ensure the process is as seamless and easy as possible. A VoIP phone, meanwhile, is a good option for providing agents with up-to-date technology to work from home.