How, when and why to explore an at-home agent program

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How, when and why to explore an at-home agent program

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How, when and why to explore an at-home agent program

  1. 1. Home-Based Servicing How, when and why to explore an at-home agent workforce Myra Golden Call Center Webinars
  2. 2. Myra Golden <ul><li>An author, online columnist, consumer behavorist, and motivational speaker, Myra has been called </li></ul><ul><li>“ the powerhouse driving customer service improvement within many of the world’s best-known brands.” </li></ul>Your speaker , Myra Golden in Tulsa, OK
  3. 3. Introduction and Overview Introduction & Overview Home-Based Servicing
  4. 4. <ul><li>Less office space/resource requirements </li></ul><ul><li>More productive workforce </li></ul><ul><li>More motivated and happy employees </li></ul><ul><li>Increased employee retention </li></ul>Benefits
  5. 5. <ul><li>Broader recruiting base (Rural, disabled, senior) </li></ul><ul><li>Less impact from weather conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced sick leave </li></ul><ul><li>Decreased environmental impact </li></ul>Benefits
  6. 6. <ul><li>Flexibility in scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>Forces you to automate and go paperless </li></ul><ul><li>Improves quality of life for people </li></ul><ul><li>Cost savings (IDC reports $31/hour for brick & mortar; $21 /hour for home agents) </li></ul>Benefits
  7. 7. When to Consider Remote Agents <ul><li>Trouble hiring quality agents </li></ul><ul><li>High turnover (25% or higher) </li></ul><ul><li>A need for PT for peak or off-hours </li></ul><ul><li>Agent commuting costs </li></ul><ul><li>A need for agents with flexible schedules not tied to a shift </li></ul><ul><li>A need to quickly/easily staff up/down to meet seasonal patterns or demands </li></ul>6 Primary Business Drivers
  8. 8. A Case Study
  9. 9. 9 Problems You May Run Into <ul><li>Lack of detailed guidelines and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Selecting wrong agents </li></ul><ul><li>Remote agent’s ISP down </li></ul><ul><li>Power outages in agent’s home </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of remote training and communication plan </li></ul>
  10. 10. 9 Problems You May Run Into <ul><li>Remote agents dis-engaged </li></ul><ul><li>Inconsistency in servicing </li></ul><ul><li>Deploying too fast </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough supervisory/peer support </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Controlled environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedicated, ergonomical workspace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PC, chair, desk (not lying on bed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No sound interruptions (roommate, pet, child) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not care giver (for anyone under age 13 during shift) </li></ul></ul>Basic Home Office Setup
  12. 12. Technology - Computer <ul><li>Company or agent provided? (pros & cons to both) </li></ul><ul><li>PC or Mac? </li></ul><ul><li>Specify connectivity requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Specify EXACT computer requirements  </li></ul>
  13. 13. Sample Equipment Requirements <ul><li>A personal computer with at least a 1GHz Pentium III processor or better. </li></ul><ul><li>A minimum of 512 MB of RAM Memory. </li></ul><ul><li>Windows XP ( we do not recommend Home Edition), or Windows Vista (see important information below). </li></ul><ul><li>Internet 6 with Service Pack 2. </li></ul><ul><li>Java 2- Version 1.5 </li></ul><ul><li>A minimum of one USB port (USB version 2) </li></ul><ul><li>System configured in accordance with Microsoft's recommendations as outlined on their 'Protect Your PC Web Site.&quot; These steps include: </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Update module enabled and configured to update automatically </li></ul><ul><li>Windows standard firewall enabled on systems where it exists </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-Virus software installed and configured to automatically update (please refer to Microsoft's web site for instructions on securing your system) </li></ul><ul><li>Ad-Aware installed and run at least once per week. You can get this tool at no cost at www.lavasoft.com </li></ul><ul><li>A monitor capable of displaying at least 1024 X 768 pixels </li></ul><ul><li>A sound card installed </li></ul><ul><li>Speakers or headphones </li></ul>
  14. 14. Technology - Phone <ul><li>Agent or company provided? </li></ul><ul><li>Specify landline or if VOIP or cable acceptable; cordless </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify “dedicated” </li></ul><ul><li>Specify if cell phones can be used </li></ul>
  15. 15. Data Risk Prevention <ul><li>Agents log in to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) </li></ul><ul><li>Lock down printing function </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t allow wireless communications </li></ul><ul><li>Provide (or require) shredders </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Employees or Independent Contractors? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Scheduling Ideas <ul><li>PT, FT, or flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule the same as you would in brick & mortar OR provide maximum flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Post schedule weekly </li></ul><ul><li>Agents login and select blocks of 30 min or more </li></ul><ul><li>Priority granted to highest performers and demonstrated reliability </li></ul>
  18. 18. Agent Selection <ul><ul><li>Online application/profile test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voice audition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certification/training </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Traits of Success Home Agents <ul><li>Moderate to strong technical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving skills </li></ul><ul><li>Industry experience </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent communicator </li></ul><ul><li>Independent/self starter </li></ul>
  20. 20. Training Home Based Agents <ul><li>New hire internship (Free & Clear) </li></ul><ul><li>Coaching & training delivered via phone </li></ul><ul><li>Have agents attend refresher/annual training events onsite </li></ul><ul><li>Use technology to deliver training online </li></ul>
  21. 21. Managing Home Based Agent Performance <ul><li>Quality call monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Coaching phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>Home visits </li></ul><ul><li>Targeted online training </li></ul>
  22. 22. Engaging Home Based Agents <ul><li>Include home based agents in incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Create chat rooms </li></ul><ul><li>Invite agents to special events </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage them to communicate with email, IM </li></ul><ul><li>Invite (or require) them to dial in for staff meetings </li></ul>
  23. 23. Engaging Home Based Agents <ul><li>Assign an internal employee to be their “buddy” </li></ul><ul><li>Involve them by asking them to join committees </li></ul><ul><li>Hold remote teleconferences/webinars </li></ul><ul><li>Invite them to social events </li></ul>
  24. 24. 3 Ways to Implement Home Based Servicing <ul><li>Gradual conversion </li></ul><ul><li>Start fresh with new group/division </li></ul><ul><li>Use an outsourcing company </li></ul>
  25. 25. Companies Successfully Using Home Based Agents <ul><li>JetBlue </li></ul><ul><li>Office Depot </li></ul><ul><li>Free & Clear </li></ul><ul><li>AAA </li></ul><ul><li>Walgreen’s </li></ul><ul><li>Procter & Gamble </li></ul><ul><li>General Electric </li></ul><ul><li>1 800 Flowers </li></ul><ul><li>Citibank </li></ul><ul><li>Verizon </li></ul>

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