Growth and interest in remote agent contact centers continues to steadily climb. In fact, survey results from the 2012 Remote Agent Summit indicate that attendees’ percentage of home agent population will double in size over the next year, from an estimated 18% to 36% of their customer contact population.
Low investment and high returns are driving the contact center capacity shift from the traditional brick and mortar infrastructure to the remote agent model. What are the key considerations to ensure this shift is successful and provides the anticipated returns? FurstPerson recently published a white paper that delves into this topic in detail. We’ll also summarize these issues in a four part blog series. Here in part 1, we highlight the difference between the traditional brick and mortar contact center role and the home agent role.
So what makes a home agent different? Bottom line: successful home agents have a different competency profile than successful contact center agents.
To create a successful home agent competency profile, you first need to understand if the candidate fits the hiring profile for the job – be it a role in customer care, support, sales, loyalty, or collections. Next, you need to determine if the candidate can perform the job from home. To learn more about contact center and home agent competencies, visit our blog posts here, here and here.
Based on extensive research, FurstPerson data has shown, for example, that autonomy and time management are two competencies that rate as more important for successful customer care performance in an at-home environment vs. a brick and mortar contact center. However, these are not the only competencies to consider. You can read more about our research on these and other competencies to consider on our blog.
Understanding the competency profile is an important first step. Knowing how to evaluate the candidate against the competency profile is even more important and becomes a critical second step. For example, for home agents, measuring autonomy and time management can best be performed through personality assessments. Measuring multi-tasking, meanwhile, is best done through a simulation. More complex call types like technical support may require using a problem solving assessment. Be sure to read more about using assessment tools as part of your hiring process on our blog here .
In addition, it is important to realize that an employee who is successful as a brick and mortar agent will not necessarily be successful in the home agent role. In our experience, many organizations move employees home and then see deterioration in performance because they are not fit for the remote agent role. You can learn more about this in a previous white paper post on home agents and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter performance.
Topics: Work at Home