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by Rob van Herpen | May 1, 2020
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.
In the webinar, I explained parts of the 5CA journey. We started on our work-from-home journey around 20 years ago, but in quite a limited way just using emails. We then really started doing more extensive work from home in Buenos Aires in 2004. From around 2010 we went into cloud-based systems and since about 2015 work from home has been our preferred solution. It’s been a journey and we have learned a lot along the way.
Many people focus on the technology and security, but I believe that the real difference with our approach is empowerment and trust. There are procedures to be followed, but we want smart people that can think for themselves rather than people who just follow a set process. You can’t monitor every single thing people do at home so you need to trust them and that trust makes them deliver a better quality service.
Over all this time we have made mistakes, but the important thing is that we have been doing this for 15-20 years. We didn’t move quickly into work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. We made mistakes years ago that other companies in this business are now going to make today.
If you are moving from a contact center to work from home agent strategy almost overnight then you can have the technology in place, but you need to completely change the way that you engage with the people. This does complicate matters because you can’t change your corporate culture overnight.
When the world starts functioning more normally I can guarantee that the traditional BPO companies will try moving their people back into contact centers. However, social distancing rules will mean that there are capacity issues – you can’t get so many people in the office now and that will create a problem for their business model.
Our people work using their own devices. We have minimum standards for the devices and we have strict information security standards – people can only access 5CA data in a secure environment. This is an important point to remember because many contact centers are shipping thousands of laptops out – they are becoming logistic companies rather than customer service specialists.
We are kick-starting a new economy and work from home is going to be an important part of this change as we move forward, but it takes trust and a new mindset – not every company will manage in this new environment.
These notes are just a short summary of everything we discussed, but it was recorded so follow the link below and you can hear the entire webinar and all the comments that Sylvia and Derek also contributed.
Pioneering Contact Center Quality Working Remotely
Click here for the replay: https://bit.ly/3btCxkw
Photo by Gilbert Sopukuwa licensed under Creative Commons.
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 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.
I've been working from home for a full year now, and no working experience can compare...
At 5CA working from home is just business as usual. 95% of our team is based at home so we have been watching the sudden focus on work from home business models, especially for customer service, with some interest.
It sounds kind of obvious, but training and developing your remote workforce is essential to improving their skills and performance. It encourages them to be more engaging within the workforce of your company while working from their home office, which leads to happy, effective and great employees that are here to stay...
I saw the situation, and I went for it. 2014 was going to be a decisive year. It was to be the year I got laid off from my well paid corporate job and the year I decided to study Permaculture and reunite with nature again!
Because 95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years I feel confident that I can help people to understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy.
A lot of people are currently being thrust into the murky waters of communicating purely via different apps. It’s dangerous. I’m Australian, and to me the perfect analogy would be diving head-first into a muddy river on a scorcher of a day.
Many management consultants and business experts are advising executives to move their workforce home with laptops until the crisis is over. What they are not saying is that this is now business as usual - the new normal.
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I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks...
I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks, but I have found that it makes you work a lot on your communication skills...
Workforce engagement is a buzzword. And like all good buzzwords, there’s a lot of hype around it, but something really valuable at the heart of it too.
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.