Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Other Side of the Coin

In the previous blog, it was noted that when high performance agents became at-home agents, their performance deteriorated. Customer satisfaction decreased. There appears to be another side to this situation. The inContact consulting firm has written a white paper titled "The Work-at-Home Agent model for Improved Customer Loyalty". Some of the statistics presented include:
1. A national poll conducted by inContact in 20007 showed that 46% of respondents (presumably businesses with call centers) said they were using at-home agents.
2. A study published by The Telework Coalition noted that the at-home contribution on improving the bottom line included 91% of agents were happier, had increased productivity, a higher retention rate, and reduced office space and operational expenses.
3. Frost & Sullivan report the median age of an at-home worker is 38 while the average age of an on-premises call center agent is 23 and further noted that 80% of at-home agents have some college-level education compared to 35% of agents in the on-premises centers.
4. According to a Gartner Group survey, at-home agents measured 40% more productive.
5. IDC Consulting has published results that indicate an on-premises agent costs $31 per our while an at-home agent costs $21 per hour on average.
6. The Interantional Telework Association and Council have published statistics the show there is a space savings that can reach $12,000 per employee per year. They also appear to indicate that there is a decreased cost of $25,000 per at-home employee compared to a traditional call-center agent.

These are strong statistics which suggest there may be an impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, please note there were no statistics that compared customer satisfaction between at-home agents and on-premises agents.

The bottom line is that while these statistics are encouraging, there is no measured difference between the in-home agent and the on-premises agent for customer satisfaction. The Customer Institute will continue to search for studies that attempt to measure the satisfaction impact of the at-home agent. While this white paper has good content and meaningful statistics, it can only suggest that at-home agents may improve customer loyalty.

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