Did remote work work for contact centers? It depends on who you ask. There’s a gap in remote satisfaction, and it seems most managers are in a rush to get back to the office.
In our 2nd Edition Work From Home Report The Remote Tipping Point we surveyed over 300 contact center executives from across North America and more than 5 industries to understand their challenges and successes while working remotely. All survey participants make or influence decisions within their organization and oversee the management and selection of teams and tools for customer service.
All participants directly oversee customer service and contact center operations. Represented industries include financial services, healthcare, business process outsourcing, telecommunications, and customer care.
- The biggest challenge in 2021 has been managing agent productivity (39% selected). In 2020, limited management oversight was not the greatest reported challenge when migrating to work from home. Instead, a year ago many managers were struggling to equip agents to work from home.
- 37% of respondents did not adopt any new digital communication channels despite high increases in customer demand. For those that did add new channels, the most commonly selected capability was webchat (24%).
- At the same time that a need for increased training and coaching emerged, 32% of survey participants did not make any accommodations for remote onboarding and agent monitoring while another 31% did invest in KPI Data/ Performance Analytics capabilities.
- Agent satisfaction correlates to increased customer engagement.
- The use of remote coaching and monitoring tools equals a greater likelihood of work from home success and continuation.
- The use of eLearning correlates with a reduction in agent monitoring issues.
Agent flexibility translates to greater productivity for some
- 36% of survey participants reported a positive relationship between working remotely and improved speed to answer. For this analysis, we did not factor in digital channels, AI, or automation usage. Instead, we sought solely to understand whether an increase in agent flexibility had an impact on productivity levels.
Innovations in coaching & monitoring are critical
- Of the 31% who answered that they added more KPI tracking and performance capabilities, we wanted to understand whether these additions correlated to a preference for hybrid models or continuing to work solely from home. We found that those who selected that they recently added KPI Data/Performance Analytics to their spectrum of tools were 50% likely to stay remote; while the 47% who didn’t select KPI Data/Performance Analytics were only 39% likely to keep some or all agents remote.
eLearning benefits are clearly understood
- Most managers (39%) indicated that their biggest challenge to working remotely has been monitoring agent performance. The discrepancy might suggest that while companies have found it easy to provide agents ways to optimize their independence, managers are struggling to incorporate this new model of working into their larger operational blueprint.
- 38% of managers selected implementation of some form of eLearning and reported a lower rate of difficulty when managing agent productivity, while 41% didn’t select eLearning and cited managing remote agents as a challenge.
Access the full report above, and for comparison check out the first edition Work from Home Report from April 2020.