Customer service was once overshadowed by product selection, availability and price. Today, as customer care continues to be the point of brand differentiation, business leaders are laser-focused the importance of excellent service experiences and retaining existing customers. As a result, organizations in every industry are working to improve the quality and relevance of customer interactions.
For many business sectors, this involves hiring professionals with specific skills and experiences to handle customer-facing interactions. This has proven to be a significant challenge for some companies, depending on the quantity of experts needed in a given geographic area.
Many businesses are solving this need with at-home customer service workers. Unlike a program that “allows” employees to work from home for convenience purposes, the home-based customer care model involves finding the best person for the job, regardless of their location. The at-home customer interaction model can be used for a variety of functions, including customer service, technical support, sales and more.
Industries such as healthcare, travel, banking and insurance, to name just a few, have increased the quality of their customer care by recruiting mature, college-educated agents with expertise in a particular aspect of business – finding the perfect person first, and empowering them to work from their chosen geographic location.
Home-based agent solutions solve complex parts of a complete customer care solution. Work-at-home programs provide specialty agents with unique training, language capabilities and availability that might otherwise be unavailable in a given market. As companies in every industry are looking to provide better, more competitive customer care with fewer resources, at-home agents are the solution. These programs provide clients with a secure customer-focused solution that delivers the highest performance standards and the best qualified talent across diverse geographies.
The at-home customer care model also has many benefits for employees. Regardless of their home location, I’ve found that more experienced agents often prefer to work remotely from the comfort of their own home. It often helps in more effectively managing complex work-life balance needs.
After locating the best people for the job, the most important next step is training, continuous monitoring and performance management. This is easily solved with technology. Web based e-learning and e-coaching tools enables remote agents to receive training in a virtual classroom. The at-home workers meet face-to-face through integrated video and audio connections. Ad hoc live meetings can also be conducted to address major issues of importance at any time.
Customer information security is another area where technology enables the at-home customer care model. In fact, new computer-based security can make the home working environment even more secure than legacy in-house call centers. Capabilities such as virtual desktop technology and dual authentication provide robust security breaches reinforcement.
Deploying an at-home customer care model has multiple benefits. By tapping subject-matter experts specifically aligned to customer needs, at-home customer care programs provide premium care. It delivers great efficiencies while providing access to specialized skillsets that are often difficult to find. It’s an effective recruiting strategy for desirable employees outside your geographic area. For employees, it provides excellent work/life balance. And, research shows that attrition rates for work-at-home agents are typically 35 to 50% lower than those working directly in the office or contact center. It’s a win-win situation for businesses and skilled professionals.