Telecommuting is identified generally as a win–win for employers and employees.
Businesses gain access to a broader talent market with efficiencies and flexibility, while job-seekers find more opportunities and face fewer traffic jams on their commute downstairs each morning.
Beyond the employer–employee relationship, research is emerging which suggests that there is wider societal value; telecommuting can slow global warming, reduce oil dependencies and support a redistribution of wealth.
“Remote work is expected to grow stronger in 2019. All signs indicate that we are nowhere close to hitting the plateau.”
“Businesses across the public and private sector increasingly recognize the benefits of hiring and retaining remote workers.” Source: “10 Remote Work Trends That Will Dominate 2019”; Forbes, 21 Dec 2018 – Abdullahi Muhammed, Contributor
Contact centres across the globe are embracing the potential of flexible, remote workers to augment their workforce, provide seasonal coverage, and more. When the teleworker is a remote contact centre agent, their tools are critical to their success.
While we continue to see advances in network coverage and network services, not all geographies are enjoying the benefits of bandwidth and the consistency of internet services.
Does today’s infrastructure support remote contact centre agents?
Today’s infrastructure can and is supporting remote agents, but there are challenges.
Unlike other teleworkers, who may work asynchronously and independently, such as programmers, writers, and others, the contact centre agent is required to be connected to systems and process technology in real time.
Furthermore, their technology link to the wider world needs to reliably support clear and productive communications.
Global Workplace Analytics, specialists in agile workplace strategies, note that “Companies need to address remote technical support issues. Off-the-shelf solutions exist.”
Off-the-shelf solutions are there; however, so are the technical support issues.
Solutions are effective in the right environment, and the right environments have quality, reliable internet connections that provide the agent with good application response times and enable great audio in any customer conversation.
Environments are not static or consistent and variations create support challenges for the remote agent.
The contention, network faults, adverse weather, and many other factors can impact the stability and usability of a residential home-office internet connection, particularly for the demands of real-time voice.
Will tomorrow’s infrastructure better support teleworking?
Network connectivity is improving regularly and reaching remote and rural populations where talented individuals may be ideally suited to telework, which is very attractive for any business struggling with recruitment and employee attrition.
Network technologies are advancing to provide greater levels of consistency and to ensure higher levels of quality-of-service and quality-of-experience.
The improvements will positively impact customer effort and lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and better NPS, and they will also support employee satisfaction and employee retention.
Is it possible to get positive customer experience benefits now?
The benefits of a remote agent strategy are available now. Many businesses are building their processes and capabilities to involve and manage remote workers in their call-flows.
Careful monitoring of network connectivity, and of call quality, particularly the audio quality of voice calls, is key to supporting the remote agent.
The experiences of today’s solutions are feeding into the R&D labs to deliver tomorrow’s more robust infrastructure which will enable a truly distributed contact centre workforce that is very well connected.
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