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by Marcel Stroop | May 8, 2020
Have you noticed how many companies and senior executives are now experts in building a work from home strategy? If you went back to the beginning of March this year then almost every major Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company had almost all their employees working in contact centers. Very few were managing significant numbers of work from home agents (WFH). According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10.000 hours of individual practice to become an expert at anything. Have those 320 business hours since the 1st of March really made everybody an expert?
There is an explosion of all this advice and unfortunately, most of it is just clutter. None of them have become experts overnight. I noticed Tony Won from Epic Games blogging on exactly the same subject. Our company has been on a work-from-home journey for almost two decades now, so we really have seen how it works – 100% of 5CA’s agent base permanently works from home.
But there are some industries out there that are desperate to ramp up their customer support because of the coronavirus pandemic and naturally they need to get people on board that can work from home. Take a look at the gaming industry or the companies offering streamed entertainment, like Netflix and Disney+. E-commerce is also booming. Amazon is about to announce its recent profits and analysts are predicting a huge increase as the company presently has revenue above $10,000 every second.
If you think about it, most retailers with a strong e-commerce platform are facing Black Friday every single day right now. Ever since the first week of March, when most of the international lockdowns and quarantines went into effect, it has been a daily onslaught. These companies are in hyper-mode and it will not end until the lockdowns are eased, and some shoppers return to regular stores.
My advice to anyone ramping up their ability to work from home is to think carefully about the agents. It’s just about “finding the right people”, our thought when we first started the work from home model. Our experiences of the past 20 years have shown we are wrong, and we are still learning every day. You need to change the usual processes used for hiring, onboarding, and engagement. Ensure you are hiring people who really want to work from home and do not feel that they are being forced to work this way. Focus much more on domain knowledge rather than formal degrees. For example, if you are ramping up a team that supports game players then
make sure that you are only hiring people into the team that care about that game – they need to also be fans.
You also need to analyze your budget. You cannot seriously scale up on the same budget as before, but make sure that you have the right data. Your decisions around the team need to be data-driven, not just gut feeling.
Our approach to hiring the right people has been different from most of the other BPO companies for a long time. We hire from anywhere so we know that we can support any language in any location. Our approach also allows us to raise the bar on recruitment. We do not need to build a contact center and then hire only those within commuting distance. Not only can we widen the net and just choose the best, but when we need to ramp up quickly it is possible because we don’t have to worry about office space.
Many of these industries that are currently in hyper-mode will calm down eventually, but it will be interesting to see how some consumer behaviors remain permanent. Many customers with no experience of e-commerce will have tried it in the past month and I expect many will continue using it long after the crisis is over.
If you want your customer service team to be resilient in and after this crisis then they need to be distributed and working from home.
Photo by Mike Mozart licensed under Creative Commons.
Marcel is our Sales Manager and heads up the team of Account Managers. He is very passionate about making the life of our and your customers easier. Marcel also loves to work on the growth of 5CA, and to confirm some stereotypes, as a proud Dutchman he loves to cycle.
The white paint lines on the road crept passed ever so slowly, like my life tricking away.
I tapped the steering wheel with my nails, trying to release the pent up stress and irritation while the radio mindlessly droned on. Then the tears came, right on time, same as usual.
When you look at how many people searched for ‘work from home’ in the past year, you see the chart soars in March 2020 just as many national governments were applying stay-at-home orders and quarantines to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. This is no surprise. Every company that could possibly keep functioning with remote workers asked their people to go home.
It’s often said, ‘people are the weakest link in cybersecurity’. I get that and I agree that we must seek to minimize human-related threat vectors. But I believe that if we view our people, our teammates, as our greatest security asset, then we start from a position of strength.
Have you noticed how many companies and senior executives are now experts in building a work from home strategy? According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10.000 hours of individual practice to become an expert at anything. Have those 320 business hours since the 1st of March really made everybody an expert?
Across the world, business journals have been endlessly reporting of the heroic efforts of companies with large numbers of office-based employees managing to switch to a work-from-home strategy. This has particularly impacted the contact centers because they have a large number of people in a small area and this is no longer acceptable because of the social distancing required to keep us all safe.
For almost two decades, 5CA has been perfecting our work from home customer service model. The latest version, where we only ever hire agents to work from home, has been around since 2015, so it is clear that for us this is very much business as usual.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Lead QA Analyst, Sylvia Mattl, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
My experience with starting to work remotely has certainly been one of the very best opportunities I’ve had so far. It changed my life, for the better. I’ll gladly tell you the short story of how I went from an in-office agent biking to the station every day, to exchanging my bike for snow boots when I reached my new home.
Companies across the world are racing to get their team all working from home to protect them. During multiple global lockdowns citizens are expected to practice social distancing, therefore it is essential for companies to operate with as many people as possible working from home.
95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years, where we truly understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy with a huge focus on quality.
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Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool...
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool. It also presents an intriguing challenge: How do we balance flexibility, productivity, and security?
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool.