5/23/07

Contact Centers Largely Missing the Boat on Benefits of Work-from-Home Staff

Don Davis , Editor in Chief

Despite Rapid Growth, `Homeshoring` at US Contact Centers Forecast to Account for Just 11% of Workforce by 2010

BOSTON-May 21, 2007--Increased working from home could save the US contact center industry up to $10 per employee per hour1, along with environmental and human resource benefits, according to a new report from Exony that details the far-reaching cost savings and other benefits of homeshoring.

‘Homeshoring’ occurs when contact centers equip staff with appropriate communications facilities to be able to work from home rather than one central office. Currently, there are an estimated 112,000 home-based agents in the US, a figure that is predicted to rise to 330,000 by 2010 (source: IDC). But even once that 330,000 mark is achieved in three years, the total number of US home-based contact center workers will represent only about 11% of the total estimated 3 million workers at that time. In its white paper introduced today, Exony argues that, based on an average 32% cost savings from homeshoring workers, US contact centers could save more than $2.5 billion annually simply by increasing its reliance on homeshoring workers from 11% to 15%. In addition to the tremendous cost savings, US businesses and the workers would also gain significantly increased benefits in terms of recruiting and retaining skilled staff, improved morale, environmental benefits, and increased opportunities for the disadvantaged in society.

“Although the US market is ahead of all other countries in its adoption of homeshoring, it is way behind in terms of enabling any more than a tiny minority of contact center workers to operate from home,” said Exony CEO Ian Ashby. “Combining technologies such as broadband, enabling employees to both handle calls and connect securely with the corporate network, with tools to measure and manage agent and call performance in real-time, allows contact centers to reap more benefits from homeshoring. Breaking down the barriers toward more widespread adoption of homeshoring is the first step towards more effective contact center operations. It is time for the market to wake up to the benefits and commit a larger share of resources to this way of working.”

Exony, the leading provider of interaction management software for Virtual Contact Center (VCC) operations, believes that the barriers to adopting a homeshoring strategy have been overstated and have created a guide to integrating home-based agents into organizations’ contact centers.

In its white paper, Exony outlines the core benefits to contact centers of homeshoring:
• Reduced overheads: Employing home-based workers reduces typical office costs such as space, furniture, heating, lighting and parking. Analysts at Gartner Dataquest estimate that staff costs equate to 70 per cent of contact center overheads.
• Increased staff morale: Attrition is a real issue in the industry, currently running at 22 per cent (source: ContactBabel). This has an exhaustive effect on companies, especially given high training costs.
• Improved opportunity: Disabled workers, older people or new parents, who would find commuting difficult or impossible, are now able to work, bringing their skills and experience to benefit customer service.
• Green benefits: Reduced commuting and energy costs leads to a lower carbon footprint. Exony estimates that the 4 million contact center agents currently working in US, Canada and UK produce more than six million tons of CO² each year2.

“Businesses will have no option but to introduce smarter working practices, of which homeshoring is one example, if they are going to be able to recruit and retain the staff they need in the future, and increase productivity and competitiveness to be able to meet the challenges emerging from economies such as India and China,” continued Ashby. “Changing working practices and working smarter will not only increase business productivity and competitiveness, but also reduce transport congestion and pollution, improve health, assist disadvantaged groups, and help workers balance their work and family commitments.”

Exony’s free Business White Paper, “Virtual Contact Centers and Homeshoring: Driving the Benefits Home”, can be downloaded from www.exony.com.

About Exony
Exony is the leading provider of interaction management software for virtualized customer contact operations. Exony Virtualized Interaction ManagerTM (VIM) enables operators of virtual contact centers to measure customer interaction experience, efficiency and effectiveness and manage available resources through making immediate tactical or planned strategic changes.

Built on Exony’s experience and understanding of virtualized customer interaction, VIM incorporates four modules - Reporting and Analytics, Resource Management, Connect and Service Management, all within the proven Exony Virtualization Framework for security, partitioning and user interaction.

Exony Virtualized Interaction Manager empowers virtualized customer contact operations for organizations across Europe and North America including Affiniti, Alliance & Leicester, BT, Cable & Wireless, France Telecom, HBOS, HSBC, La Poste, Microsoft, National Australia Group, Nectar, Transport for London, UK Home Office, Verizon, Virgin Trains, Virgin Media and Vodafone. More information can be found on the Web at www.exony.com.

1 Analyst group IDC estimates that US contact center workers cost $31 an hour, including overheads and training, compared to just $21 for home-based workers.

2 Four million workers, assuming a one-way commute of 10 miles in a family car (source: carbonfootprint.com)

Contacts
Parker Communications
Joanne Stanway, 978-273-1473
jstanway@parkercomms.com

Topics:

business, business finance, Call centre, Homesourcing, Telecommuting

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