When it comes to outsourcing customer experience (CX), brands will first have to weigh the options between offshore, nearshore, onshore, or a mix of the three. Following the game-changing events of 2020, businesses must now add another element to that decision-making process: in-center or work-at-home?
While each operational model has its pros and cons, we at Activus Connect believe that work-at-home is the best way to ensure employee safety, mitigate risks, and ultimately, heighten customer satisfaction. Remote customer service operations mark the end of crammed contact centers, long commutes, and high attrition rates, but the benefits extend far beyond that.
Companies in the BPO and CX industry now have a huge opportunity to implement robust, scalable, cost-effective, and secure work-at-home operations. If your providers are still trying to work out how to do this, it’s high time to reconsider your BPO partnerships.
Here are three compelling reasons to scale down your in-center operations and opt for work-at-home CX delivery in 2021.
Since COVID-19, BPOs and CX providers have been slowly transitioning their in-center operations to work-at-home—a process that continues to this day. Many are under a lot of pressure to put profit before employees, but that lack of focus on employee experience is adversely impacting customers.
In-center, most large providers have tried-and-tested operational processes that work effectively. However, many made the mistake of applying a carbon copy of that model to work-at-home and expecting it to function the same way—spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
After providers did this, they expected their employees to adapt and overcome the challenges of moving to a new environment with dysfunctional technology and processes. When ex-BPO employees join Activus, they often complain that pressure is too high and that companies are not helping them adapt, which led them to quit their jobs. As the transition continues a year later, how many customers are receiving terrible experiences because BPO employees aren’t getting the great treatment they deserve?
At Activus Connect, our pipeline for talent is larger than ever and we know that is a result of how we are evolving the concept of Ambassador centric, Customer Experience. People are hearing that we pay more, we provide more flexibility, and our Ambassador experience is about treating people the right way, all of which are possible in a 100% virtual operation. The result? Happier employees and happier customers.
Choosing where to outsource CX is never an easy task, but it’s now essential to consider your partner’s readiness to deliver in times of uncertainty or unprecedented change. When we say “readiness”, we mean are they ready to manage a remote workforce? Are they ready to deploy and scale instantly? Does the work-at-home technology work? Are they focused on outcomes rather than fixing problems?
When choosing work-at-home over in-center delivery, think about whether your partner has the ability to ebb and flow with your volume demands so you can continue to be successful. While returning to the contact center is still risky for the workforce, they need to be able to make this happen remotely, which, in our experience, is more than possible—but not for everyone.
With a dedicated work-at-home CX provider like Activus Connect, technologies and processes are designed exclusively for the virtual environment, meaning our Ambassadors can work effectively and efficiently from day one. Our onshore workforce in the continental US is ready to serve domestic customers in their native tongue and time zone, all safely from home.
Essentially, brands that choose work-at-home CX partners will soon find that they’re ready for anything.
Work-at-home customer service delivery has often been labelled as a low-cost, low-effort alternative to in-center, mainly because companies would traditionally pay remote employees less, there were fewer incentives, and there was no physical location to account for in the price.
With fewer profits to gain from work-at-home, companies didn’t really focus on developing the technologies and processes that it requires—a decision that’s haunting them today. This lack of investment means that traditional providers have to charge for a fixed minimum headcount or charge a premium for fewer work-at-home agents, raising the cost for brands without improving the quality of CX.
There are plenty of cost savings to be made with work-at-home, particularly around facility maintenance, utilities, and human resources. However, many large BPOs are failing to reinvest those savings into their work-at-home operations, preferring to prepare for a mass migration back to the contact center when the pandemic fades away.
At Activus Connect, the funds we would spend on huge facilities are reinvested into helping our people, our customers, and our communities. We’re able to pay well above the average salary for comparable jobs in the US, we offer extremely competitive prices to our customers, and we donate 10% of our profits to charities and community support programs. How many in-center providers can say the same?