Live from Call Center Las Vegas: Home-based agents on the rise

Las Vegas–Home-based call center agents are on the rise in the catalog industry, said Jim Della Chiesa, director of contact center sales for Richardson, TX-based workforce management supplier IEX, during a discussion at the Call Center Las Vegas Conference and Exhibition. Thanks to technology and e-mail communication, “it doesn’t really matter where agents are based anymore.”

Offering service reps the option of working from home ” will make your company more attractive to students, retirees, or people that have unique work schedules,” Della Chiesa said. It can also make it easier to hire agents with specificskils, such as the ability to speak Spanish. For instance, if you are targeting Hispanics but your call center is in a locale with a low Spanish-speaking population, you could hire bilingual agents from anywhere in the country.

That said, letting agents work from home can be tricky. “It all depends on your company’s culture,” Della Chiesa explained. “I’ve seen these types of experiments fail because some companies simply pay lip service to the notion and jealousy arises among those in the call center.” He suggested testing the concept using some of your top CSRs before rolling out the practice.

Another possible drawback: connectivity issues between the home agent and contact center. Della Chiesa, however, said that “so long as the catalog company is able to connect a patch between the home-based agent and the catalog’s automatic call distributor,” problems should be minimal.