When companies were forced to quickly transition full teams to work-from-home settings in March, most situations simply required a laptop, access to collaborative tools, and a mobile phone. In the case of contact center agents, the requirements become a bit more specific.
While most employees spend part of their time on the phone or on video conference with customers, colleagues, and business partners, contact center agents spend 80 to 85% of their time on voice communications, leaving only approximately 12 minutes per day that are not in contact with customers.
In addition, they have left behind not only their ergonomically-designed keyboards and desk chairs, but also the support and camaraderie of their teams – important in heated moments with frustrated customers. When crises disrupt normal work patterns and shift work environments, wait times are naturally extended, and customers may be more frustrated than in previous circumstances.
Contact center agents working at home may also be without headsets and adequate lighting and commonly must struggle to conduct business with family life occurring in the background. While there has been a celebration of evidence of family life as a context-provider in business meetings, some of the charm is lost on customers when they are calling with a complaint or issue to resolve.
There are three important factors that enterprises must consider for adequately supporting contact center agents as they work from home:
Bandwidth and Connectivity: Because their tasks depend so heavily on voice connections, the connection speed and performance must be adequate to support uninterrupted conversations. Customers are often calling in on mobile phones, so the agents’ ability to support the call is critical.
There’s a lot of buzz around the use of chat, email, and other formats, but contact center agents continue to conduct most of their activities on voice calls.
Equipment: Few enterprises are able to put extensive thought into the work-from-home setup that contact center agents need in a time of crisis. Elements like high-quality headsets, ergonomically-designed keyboards and adequate lighting all contribute to productive and engaged agents.
Support: Like all enterprise employees working from home, contact center agents rely on IT systems and infrastructure to support their tasks. Having the right support ready is critical for equipping them to serve customers. Enterprises may need to expand support hours or even outsource to a help desk service to fully cover the needs of contact center agents.
That support may come in the form of training on home-technology solutions such as resetting a router or troubleshooting a poor connection.For more information on creating the right work-from-home setting for contact center agents, contact us at AMD Communications. From setup to support, we can help you equip your agents for success.