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Work From Home Call Center Agents More Educated, Productive

January 12, 2012
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Always nice to meet a kindred spirit -- “I absolutely love working from home. I get more done,” writes Heather Hurst on the inContact blog, adding that it’s “no surprise that call center agents like working from home too.”

Sure, every now and then it’s fun to go to an office and work on group projects, but yes, this reporter prefers working at home.  

Hurst tells of a friend of hers who was a work at home agent for seven years -- longer than the average call center agent lifespan, and that “had nothing to do with the work, it was based primarily on the location of her desk.”

We hear her. As Hurst says, the lifestyle opportunities that the WFH model provides to agents attracts “older, better educated, and more productive” people. So it’s win-win for the call center as well. Letting people work at home means you greatly expand the pool of available hires, meaning you can get better people to work for you.

This is borne out in a recent Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) report, showing that 80 percent of Work From Home agents have completed some level of college, versus 35 percent of on-premise agents. And hold on, it gets better. Hurst notes that “Gartner (News - Alert) research showed an average increase of 40 percent in productivity of WFH agents.”

Hurst says she’s seen research to the effect that WFH “is actually being used as a conscious retention tool now. Michael Strobel from Recyclebank also presented at the Problem Solved Tour and noted that he has had agents try to resign because they were moving across the country.”

If it’s an agent you don’t particularly want to retain, you wish them a safe trip. If it’s one you’d like to keep, however, you can do what Strobel did, according to Hurst: “He just packed up their headset and sent them to work from home -- wherever that home may be.” He gets to keep a good agent, and the agent appreciates the flexibility, and is probably going to think twice before quitting.

Why, this reporter’s heard of freelance writers who manage to write for American tech websites from places as remote as Mangawhai, New Zealand. Honest.

Remote call center agents can be monitored with the same recording and monitoring tools you’d use for brick and mortar, Hurst says, adding that “once you overcome the objections, and implement a WFH program, you never look back.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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