According to Magnus Geverts at Teleopti, a ‘work from anywhere’ environment supported by Workforce Management (WFM) benefits customers, employees and the business
Today, people expect to work their own hours, choose where they work and do so without the restrictions of formal direct supervision in a traditional office setting. For many, flexible working is high on their list of job perks and companies that offer it as a standard part of their benefits package often attract the best candidates.
The universal rewards of virtual working
At Teleopti, we have recently collaborated with Customer Contact Strategies, world-leading consultants and enablers of effective remote working programs, to publish a white paper that expounds the benefits of a successful flexible working policy for three groups – businesses, consumers and employees.[i]
Good for business efficiency
In addition to addressing the challenges of adverse weather, power outages and unexpected spikes in consumer demand, flexible working is proven to reduce capital and operational costs, retain good staff and then keep them:
- Lower staff costs – organizations that use split or micro-shifts are likely to reduce labor costs by 15%-20%[ii]
- Greater employee satisfaction – companies that offer flexible working[iii] are rewarded with 10%-20% higher employee satisfaction levels, a 25% increase in attendance at work and a staggering improved employee retention rate of 30%
- Reduced office space costs – in our white paper mentioned earlier, one global telecommunications company with more than 10 million square feet of office space around the world expects to reduce its facilities footprint by nearly 40% over 5 years simply by introducing a thoughtful telecommuting policy.
- Uberization – rather like virtual transport company Uber, there could come a time when contact centers, for example, have ‘nonployees’ whereby agents work for different contact centers at different times and sell their services to the highest bidder, choosing who they work for and when. Scary, right? But just think of the benefits from a business perspective. As a contact center leader, wouldn’t you want agents who are available when you need them, and can give you just enough time to deliver key projects without the need for overtime payments or idle time?
Good for customer service
It’s every contact centre manager’s dream to have flexible schedules which mean agents are available to answer customer calls at periods of high demand and off-line during quiet times. Remote working gives organisations the ability to effortlessly scale up and down to accommodate changing business requirements as well as seasonal peaks and troughs.
Today’s customers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question. This is forcing companies to re-assess their channel offering to improve first contact resolution and increase customer satisfaction with the help from modern technology
Consumer demand for immediacy is turning Web Chat into one of the most popular channels for customer interaction. Early industry reports[iv] suggest that “well constructed, well timed proactive Chat increases sales conversions on the web by 20%-25%.” The good news is that a work from anywhere environment is perfectly suited to agents responding to Web Chat.
Good for employee satisfaction
It goes without saying that flexible working, in particular the opportunity to work from home, dramatically reduces the costs and wasted time associated with commuting. It also promotes:
- A better work/life balance – against today’s harsh economic reality where full-time jobs are often hard to come by and employers are forced to keep salary costs down, flexible working benefits those having to juggle several roles whilst helping companies to plug the gaps for the least popular night or weekend shifts
- Enterprise Social Networks – the fasting growing sector of employees, Millennials, have grown up using technology to live their lives including consuming news, socializing, purchasing products and banking and they expect the same level of freedom and electronic interaction from their employers. Social media is changing the way that people work leading to a vastly more collaborative and open approach.By embracing social media as a corporate as well as social channel and you organization will be rewarded with[v]:
– 48.6% reduction in internal mail
– 25.1% reduction in meetings
– 32% increase in productivity.
And now for the clever part – technology!
Back up your new approach to flexible working with the latest Workforce Management (WFM) solutions that enable:
- Easy access, anytime, anywhere – agents quickly log into the system from home or on the move to check their schedules, see who they are working with and let their manager know when they are available for work. The younger generation, in particular, value using their smart phones to access the system and change their working patterns
- Self Service and automation – agents simply click and choose when they want to work. Managers might not be able to accommodate their every request but agents will receive an instant response every time!
- Intelligent resourcing – at the click of a button and using historical data, planners can accurately predict how many agents they will need, the skills they require and pick and choose the right team from their virtual pool of talent. They can even support short shifts or split shifts, something that just isn’t possible in a traditional contact centre employing a set number of people at set times of the day
- Notifications – need extra agents at the last moment? Simply issue email or SMS notifications to people with the right skills to ascertain if they can work at short notice and so plug in any gaps
- Adherence – no employees? No problem! Managers can keep in control of their virtual contact center environment and monitor agent performance wherever their ‘nonployees’ may be.
The future of flexible working is now. Thoughtful planning and investment in smart technology will help your business maintain its competitive edge and attract then retain the best talent in the market.
To read more on this subject download our Future of Work white paper written in association with Michele Rowan, President Customer Contact Strategies.