Brands that have had a bad experience with work-at-home (WAH) over the past few months should keep in mind that this may not be an accurate reflection of how a dedicated WAH model works.

Over the past few months there have been countless claims of providers successfully delivering WAH for clients and yet in most cases the service offered was limited to email or chat options, with voice channels sacrificed because of insufficient technology. Being work-at-home proof is about more than getting agents home, it’s about whether the programme delivers a comprehensive solution that is equipped to stand the test of time.

The crisis that forced EMEA-based Brands to send customer service agents home may have eased, but it’s definitely not gone away and they now need to consider if they’ll maintain a work-at-home element to their customer service going forward. If they do, would they want to work with a WAH partner with experience and capability, or with one that only started offering this when lockdown kicked in?

Many providers have delivered a quick fix solution. As a result, there are many potential ticking timebombs out there.

Take technology, for example. Providers experienced in home-based support will have specialised secure equipment developed specifically to facilitate WAH models. Those who have implemented for the first time during the crisis will likely have used existing equipment as best they could, however, while this may have worked as a temporary measure using equipment for something other than what it was designed for could well lead to unexpected issues.

Moving in-centre teams to work from home also meant putting agents in an environment that they weren’t trained for, weren’t selected for, and didn’t choose to be in. This not only raises training and recruitment concerns, but may also result in mental health issues as a reaction to the additional stress and anxiety caused by working from home. Experienced WAH providers have the resources and processes in place to effectively recruit, train, support and manage their home-based agents. And, as an example of supporting the mental health of agents, providers like SYKES that offer Work At Home as part of our core service offerings, have trained team leaders in mental health awareness and provide access to medical professionals to support home-based teams.

So, with the first wave easing and a potential second wave pending, not to mention a possible recession, CX departments of EMEA-based Brands need to consider: Is my customer service going to endure and remain consistent in the long term? Or will it slowly start to come apart at the seams?

Offering the perfect blend in-centre & work-at-home, SYKES has the experience, resources, and capabilities to deliver integrated customer service models without the limitations of buildings or countries. For more information, please get in touch.

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