Contact Center Teleworking Lowers Costs, Makes Companies More Nimble, and Increases Diversity
By Heather D. Blease, CEO, SaviLinx
Government agencies have long partnered with outsourced contact centers to provide innovative service and fill service gaps. Today’s new class of contact centers partner closely with agencies to manage a range of business processes for customer service and technical support. These Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners can boost the performance of government agencies and enhance customer satisfaction. By adding a new element to the mix – teleworking – BPO contact centers can be even more valuable to today’s government agencies.
Agencies often choose BPO firms to lower their costs of service delivery, but another benefit is that the top firms are experts at customer service. They use the latest techniques and have invested in advanced technology. They can be very efficient at delivering excellent service while offering something that is valuable to government agencies: scalability. Agencies can rely on a BPO firm’s nimble workforce to meet seasonal demands or other call peaks.
At SaviLinx, we employ more than 300 agents, and have created a model that combines brick-and-mortar contact centers with a work-at-home program to support private and public sector contracts. About half of our team works at our Brunswick, Maine headquarters, and the remainder work from their homes in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area. This model has delivered excellent results for our customers, and we believe that more government agencies can benefit from BPO partners that embrace work-at-home teams.
Work-at-home has become more mainstream, growing by 103% since 2005, with 2.8% of the nation’s workforce logging at least half of their work hours from home, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Federal agencies have been leaders in this area, with a 424% growth in teleworking from 2005 to 2014. It is clear that work-from-home is a winner for federal employees; it’s time to extend that to the BPO firms that contract with federal agencies. Here’s why:
• Teleworking reduces turnover and saves money. Global Workplace Analytics reports that 95% of companies that use telework say it has a significant positive buy clomid without prescription canada impact on employee retention; that has been our experience as well. It’s great for our employees, who love the ease of transitioning between home and work, and can better juggle life responsibilities such as schoolwork and child or elder care. It’s great for us, because we can focus less on recruiting and more on training and creating value-added services. And it’s also great for our federal customers because low attrition rates for work-at-home workers means more tenure, so our agents offer a higher quality service experience.
• Teleworking makes us more nimble. Government agencies rely on BPO firms with flexible teams to scale up or down depending on call volume. We are effective at this in our brick-and-mortar contact center, but we can offer even more flexibility with our work-at-home employees. It is very easy to have agents check in to manage a call spike. That delivers huge gains in efficiency for our clients.
• Teleworking makes us more equitable. We find that teleworking expands our talent pool, which is always helpful for our customers. We also can provide employment opportunities for the un- and under-employed and in areas that are economically distressed. This is a key focus for the federal HUBZone program, which tracks these jobs to ensure certification for employers such as SaviLinx.
• Teleworking is secure. Not only do we screen all applicants to insure they have excellent skills, we also provide drug screening, background checks, and federal security clearances for federal in-center and work-from-home positions.
As the CEO of one of the fastest growing companies in Maine, the largest employer at the decommissioned Brunswick Naval base, and one of the largest employers in Hattiesburg, MS, I’ve learned how to leverage our cost efficiencies and experience to benefit our clients. Government agencies must scrutinize every expense to serve taxpayers, while delivering the best level of support to the people who rely on their services. A BPO partner with a robust work-from-home program can be a positive step forward.