Like it or not, hybrid working is here to stay. In the digital era, millions of jobs require only access to a computer and the internet; something possible from nearly any location. For the contact center in particular, hybrid working has brought myriad benefits.
Thanks to Covid-19, the move from physical to virtual contact center was part of a broader shift in workplace norms that defined the early 2020s. Three years after the pandemic, and 35% of workers now have the option to work from home full-time. A further 23% have the option for part-time or hybrid remote work.
So, why has hybrid working proven such a success? How does hybrid working benefit the contact center? In this blog we will discuss:
The benefits of hybrid working for contact center agents
How the hybrid contact center boosts Customer Experience (CX)
The CX tech that drives effective contact center hybrid working
Want to learn more about the long-term benefits of CX to your business? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, Resilient CX: A Field Guide to Surviving Hard Times with Customer Experience, to discover the power of customer contact.
Hybrid Working Combats Agent Attrition
Agent attrition represents an existential crisis. Last year, 49% of CX leaders saw an increase in agent attrition. When the average annual cost of replacing lost contact center agents is $200,000, anything that can provide an edge in agent retention is an essential investment.
Ask any hybrid worker; flexible working provides a host of benefits that dramatically improve the employee experience. At a glance, there are obvious hybrid working benefits for contact center agents:
Without the need to commute, agents save hours of time in the mornings and evenings. This means more sleep and more effective decompression from the high-intensity atmosphere of the contact center.
The comforts of home create a more pleasant work environment for agents. There’s always tea and coffee, a bathroom without a queue, and peace and quiet when they need it.
Your agents have lives of their own; hybrid working makes it easier to manage the needs of relatives, children, and themselves. The contact center suddenly becomes accessible to a much broader range of people, including those with accessibility or health issues.
That doesn’t mean the buzz of the office is lost. A hybrid working strategy that divides time between home and the office lets you provide flexibility for your agents without losing a sense of workplace camaraderie.
The benefits of hybrid working for agents are obvious. But, do these advantages translate to any meaningful benefits to organization? In short; does Agent Experience affect Customer Experience?
Great CX Depends on Great AX
Hybrid working benefits more than just your agents. It leads to good outcomes for customers, too.
The quality of your customer experiences depend on your agents. The quality of your CX is linked directly to the quality of your Agent Experience (AX). Enthusiasm is infectious. If your agents feel properly supported, your customers will too. But, how does this work in practice?
Rested, comfortable agents are able to deliver a more welcoming, personalized experience to customers. If your agents are exhausted, frustrated, or confused, your customers will be able to tell.
If your agents feel satisfied, they’re more likely to stick with your business long-term. This gives you time to develop your talent, invest in your agent’s skills and knowledge, and create better experiences long term.
Contact center hybrid working provides access to a much larger recruitment pool. Having enough agents is the most basic step toward providing outstanding customer experiences.
Your customer experience directly impacts your bottom line. Contact center hybrid working helps boost your customer experience. And that’s not the only way hybrid working benefits your organization.
Flexible Working Opens up Possibilities for Your Organization
Hybrid working isn’t just good for your agents. It benefits your business, too. A flexible working regime can create new efficiencies; opening up new doors without closing old ones. The most successful businesses are already adapting.
Fewer workers require less office space. That means you can scale down, saving money on rent and bills, while agents take turns working in the office and sharing desks.
Remote working grants access to a much broader range of talent. When agents are growing increasingly difficult to recruit, broadening the geographic scope of your search can improve results.
Your business is in competition with others for the best talent. Offering remote working options is a sure-fire way of attracting new employees and preventing defection to rivals.
A business strategy that capitalizes on the hybrid working benefits is a must for your organization. But that doesn’t mean that the office is dead and buried.
Returning to the Office
Contact center hybrid working offers a host of benefits, and so does the office. It’s essential that your hybrid working strategy balance home and office, to get the best of both worlds.
The office is an excellent location to network. Key stakeholders are accessible in one location, letting your employees build the connections that support effective work – something not possible at home.
Office culture underpins employee retention. Building relationships with co-workers turns work from a chore to an essential social space. Cultivating a friendly, positive office culture translates into a more effective, happier team.
One location means easy support. If an agent has a problem, they can seek out a supervisor immediately. If there are IT issues, support can be delivered at once. With all your agents in one location, you can ensure that their internet connection is always stable and that their devices are running smoothly.
Hybrid working might boost your agent experience, cut carbon emissions, improve your bottom line, produce better overall customer experience, make hiring easier, and save money on office space, but the importance of the office for collaboration and communication cannot be overstated.
The key to getting the most from contact center hybrid working is a coherent strategy. So, what does a good hybrid working strategy look like?
Designing a Hybrid Working Strategy
Hybrid working implemented poorly leads to confusion, a loss of control, and drops in productivity. Implemented properly, it is an immensely powerful tool for your contact center. To maximize the benefits of hybrid working, you need the right tech:
Essential to contact center hybrid working is a cloud contact center solution. This is the first step toward allowing your agents to work from anywhere, through their browser, via any internet-enabled device.
From here, ease of use is your number one concern. A single agent interface, that brings data and functionality from multiple third-party systems into a single location is essential here.
Finally, you need the Workforce Engagement Management tools to support your agents remotely. This means intelligent, AI-powered scheduling, in-depth performance analytics, and accessible knowledge databases accessible through the agent interfaces.
The success of your contact center hybrid working strategy depends on the quality of your tech. And to secure the best tech, you need a partner you can trust.
Contact Center Hybrid Working with Content Guru
Content Guru has over two decades of experience migrating organizations to the cloud, helping them get the most from their flexible working strategies. As cloud contact pioneers, we’re ready to help you deliver reliable hybrid working for your agents.
Ready to learn more about what Content Guru can do for your CX? Continue your CX journey by downloading Content Guru’s whitepaper, Resilient CX: A Field Guide to Surviving Hard Times with Customer Experience here.