In the new “gig economy,” new ways to resource businesses are sprouting up everywhere, and it seems the most creative, confident and experienced professionals are opting into new, more flexible ways to work. This is especially true in the CX industry, where cloud contact center pioneers began setting up work-from-home networks, leveraging the reach of the public Internet combined with software that brought “the desktop” to agents at home well over a decade ago.
As the service sector in the U.S. (and many other countries) expands, so does the requirement for workers with professional skills, and the opportunity to deliver exceptional service at a much lower domestic cost given dramatic reductions in overhead traditionally associated with facilities and physical network infrastructure.
At the same time, the technologies supporting remote workers, with the explosive growth of cloud, secure internet access, security software that ensures information and data is protected, more intuitive application interfaces, mobile-first applications and the use of big data analytics to help manage it all is making remote, Smart Virtual™ jobs a possibility in a way they never were before.
These are not just jobs, these are great careers, with highly experienced professionals who wish to trade in the struggles and expenses associated with commuting for the convenience of being able to work from home, where they may be raising children, caring for aging parents, or simply living more balanced lives.
While there continues to be massive growth in “contact center agent” positions, the specialization within those positions is very exciting. For example, online chat agents can work without having to be present via voice which opens up a new segment of qualified professionals who would simply never want to interact with customers over the phone. These customer service professionals may do tech support, answer billing questions or sell products via email, text or chat, and are often part of an entire ecosystem, like the one Activus Connect has in place, where there is connectivity between text, chat, video and voice-based agents, so customers can be easily connected depending on their questions and needs.
As more travel planning and purchasing goes online, the role of a traditional “travel agent” is being replaced by people who can work from home to assist travelers who are using the plethora of available booking sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline, Trivago and more – or are booking direct with airlines, hotels and rental car agencies. Companies like American Express employ thousands of at-home agents, as do many other large, medium & smaller sized enterprises.
As our homes and cars become more connected, including smart appliances, security systems, environmental control systems, and more, technical support is another huge growth area that is being addressed with at-home workers. To work in technical support from home, agents (or Ambassadors, as we like to call them) have the advanced skills (good speaking voice, ability to communicate effectively, patience, understanding of policies and ability to interact with productivity applications) as well as the technical skills to provide support on exciting new smart products coming into the market. With technologies including screen sharing and co-browsing, helping customers solve problems is becoming easier to do at a very high level, with very positive outcomes for brands who wish to deepen their relationships with their customers by bundling great service with their smart products.
Even healthcare is changing, from insurance to healthcare delivery from remote doctors, nurses and specialists who can be compassionately connected to patients by experienced, mature Ambassadors who are highly trained in everything from regulatory compliance (ensuring patient privacy) to managing stressful situations with empathy, made possible through training and ongoing coaching. When it’s easier to see a doctor online than having to make an appointment, go to an office and often wait in line, people will increasingly chose the online option, and we envision major growth of excellent jobs for people who sincerely wish to make a difference in this meaningful new world.
The good news for all? There are awesome professionals, with life-experience everywhere – and with internet access and the right platform and tools – a Mom in the Midwest can have an amazing career even as she continues to care for her aging loved ones. A Dad in Puerto Rico can have another amazing career without having to miss his children’s baseball games & ballerina recitals, including leveraging his knowledge of English and Spanish to bring great value to a company wishing to serve a diverse audience.
A young person in a wheelchair can work full time from their home, providing amazing Customer Experiences for world class brands, and their valued customers. A retired military professional in California can start a new part time career serving a company that produces one of his or her favorite products, making additional income while also enjoying interacting with and helping people in an area he or she is passionate about.
The examples are endless, and as we emerge into an entirely new world of Smart Virtual™, there is no better place to be than in the CX business, especially with a comprehensive vision that combines state-of-the art platforms, access to high speed broadband, better and faster laptops and mobile devices, higher quality voice services, and much more with simply great people. Not only is this great for business, this is great for society, great for our future in the U.S. and around the world.
Together we truly can Elevate Experiences™ while bringing people together every day, where a kind word can make a world of difference, and where millions of kind conversations can bring light into what often feels like too dark a world.
Great jobs, great people – great outcomes, beyond just business.