Customer needs are increasingly being handled by employees who work outside a formal contact center. This trend is confirmed in Ventana Research’s benchmark research into agent performance management. Their research found that customer interactions typically are handled by a variety of business units – primarily the contact center (in 94 percent of companies) but also sales (42 percent), home-based agents (32 percent), back-office departments (31 percent), customer service (30 percent) and branch offices (29 percent).
Companies are increasingly relying on agents not just outside the contact center walls, but outside of the organization’s premises entirely – on home-based agents. Their research shows that the number of home-based agents is growing. Of the companies with home-based agents, more than 25% have between 50 and 99, 6% have between 100 and 999, and 1% have more than 1,000. These numbers will grow; within the next two years Ventana predicts that most companies will have at least some home-based agents.
This shift is being driven by a number of factors, including the value of retaining skilled agents who no longer want to commute to a central contact center, the need to reduce expenses, the availability of residential broadband connectivity, and the value of being able to tap into experts to help resolve more contacts during the first attempt.
However, even formal contact centers struggle to manage agents effectively; having them in remote locations intensifies this challenge. Companies must address concerns about security, risk and coaching and training how to keep home-based agents up-to-date on best practices, using new systems and individual learning requirements. The new Ventana Research white paper, sponsored by Enkata, Home Based Agents — Desktop Analytics Brings Performance into Focus highlights call center analytics applications for monitoring remote call center agent activity at the point of customer contact – at the agent desktop.