Emerge BPO - Leveraging Great Customer Experience with Work-At-Home Solutions

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RYAN STRATEGIC ADVISORYLeveraging Great Customer Experience with Work-At-Home Solutions A white paper for Emerge BPO // October 2019Introduction Customer experience…
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RYAN STRATEGIC ADVISORYLeveraging Great Customer Experience with Work-At-Home Solutions A white paper for Emerge BPO // October 2019Introduction Customer experience management in the traditional sense is more complex than at any point in the industry’s history. Today, contact center executives are in a constant battle against labor market pressures alongside increased end-user impatience. The impact that this has on loyalty generation, in order to establish long-term commercial relationships with consumers, is challenging. This is why so many contact center decision-makers are looking at alternative business models, ones that shun the longstanding reliance on brick-and-mortar capacity, embracing the growing trend toward virtual delivery from the agents’ residences. This approach has proven worthwhile in regard to labor quality, workforce stability and cost management. Emerge BPO has embraced this work-at-home model as a means of distinguishing itself in the current customer experience services marketplace, and is driving more interactions through this business model for client across industries. The Customer Experience Paradigm No matter what industry in question, managing consumers in the current commercial environment is difficult. Contact center managers face multiple challenges, including: •Escalating labor costs – given record lows in the unemployment rate in North America, being able to source contact center agents to work in a brick-and-mortar facility is very hard. Not only is the target agent demographic of motivated, consumer-friendly applicants under demand from both captive and outsourced operators, but also from other industries eager to attract this type of talent. Add in the push for higher minimum wages across many states / provinces, and the bottom line is that as long as joblessness rates continue scraping frictional levels, traditional contact center operators can expect to have to pay more for contact center talent.•Agent management – management of agents is another major problem that has emerged for contact center operators in North America. In fact, recent research by Ryan Strategic Advisory indicates that enterprise contact center managers in Canada and the US are facing acute challenges in terms of recruiting quality talent, providing the required levels of training (both initially and ongoing) and then retaining this workforce in the current job market. The net result is a rise in costs associated with finding, keeping and training agents that need to be incurred by already tight enterprise contact center budgets.•Challenges driving consumer loyalty – end-users have much less tolerance for mediocre or poor interactions from businesses. This problem is compounded by the labor pressures discussed above, as so many enterprises have trouble keeping well-trained, quality agents in their traditional contact center operations which invariably impacts the capacity to drive great service. And the inability to ensure quality interactions should not be underestimated – more money is lost each year as consumers switch providers as a result of poor customer experience. Thus, it is no surprise that more enterprises contact center executives are examining the possibility of working with outsourcers that can provide customer experience via the burgeoning work-at-home model.Work-At-Home as a Customer Experience Alternative In a nutshell, work-at-home customer experience is delivered by agents that provide voice or digital support from dedicated spaces inside their primary residences. And while this business model has been in existence for over a decade, only recently has it gained momentum as a mainstream way of improving customer experience. The primary reasons for this include the following: •Onshore delivery footprint – there has been a great deal of pressure on the part of consumers to receive services from agents based in the same jurisdiction as themselves. And, while it is becoming increasingly challenging to do this via traditional brick-andmortar operations, home-based agents can meet this requirement. In fact, recent custom research conducted by Ryan Strategic Advisory for Emerge BPO shows that when faced with a choice of alternative delivery model, enterprise contact center decision-makers from across major demand markets overwhelmingly see domestic work-at-home agents as the way of the future.Among the following choices please indicate the delivery model that you feel will be most relevant for customer experience management going forward? (Choose one only) 60%40%20%0% Automated frontHigher cost office solutions locations in the offshoreHigher cost Onshore delivery Onshore delivery locations in the from bricks and using home-based nearshore mortar facilities agents Source – Ryan Strategic Advisory / Emerge BPO•Agent quality – agents who work from home have gained a reputation for being of a very high standard in terms of their performance on voice and digital platforms. Much of this has to do with the fact that home-based agents tend to be educated to a university level, have previous work experience, and are generally older. This is different than the profile of agents who work in contact centers; more often than not, this groups tends to be less educated and have much less work experience than their work-at-home counterparts.•Reduced churn – work-at-home agents have a strong reputation for staying in their customer experience delivery roles for longer periods of time. This means that they become more attuned with the campaigns that they are supporting, and this invariably helps drive quality interactions. This is also a stark contrast with brick-and-mortar captive operations. In fact, according to recent research by Ryan Strategic Advisory, over the past 12 months, roughly one-third of captives in major demand markets have reported increases in agent attrition.•Remote training – a major advantage that work-at-home offers is the ability to train large numbers of agents via remote platforms, as opposed to conducting in-person classes. Not only does this methodology drive operational efficiencies, depending on the system in use, but agents can train on their own schedule. This means greater job satisfaction, which contributes to a more motivated workforce.•Lower costs – when considering the work-at-home model, cost management is certainly an advantage. In fact, when combining the efficiencies garnered via lower attrition, improved performance on the job, and no overhead for facilities, this business model can afford enterprises a lower level of outlay, which can be re-invested in driving greater customer interactions.The advantages of using a work-at-home platform have never been clearer, and are not lost on contact center executives. In fact, the most recent Ryan Strategic Advisory 2019 Front Office Omnibus Survey of nearly 500 enterprise customer experience managers indicated that out of 26 advantages an outsourced partner could provide to win business, having a work-at-home offering ranked #2. It is in this vein that Emerge BPO is promoting its capabilities around this business model. What do you see as the competitive advantages that an outsourcer must have in today’s market to win your business (rate on a scale of 1 – 8 with 1 - not an important advantage, 8 a very important advantage)? Leading edge information security/data protection… Home-based agent capabilities Expertise managing compliance requirements Green / environmentally-friendly contact center delivery Professional services / customer experience consulting… Expertise in technical support Expertise in customer care Data analytics services IT services offerings Expertise in revenue generation (eg cross-selling /… Impact-sourcing offerings Vertical-specific experience / expertise Gamification offerings Domestic delivery footprint Omni-channel customer management capabilities Recipient of industry awards Evidence of success in previous outsourcing deployments Diverse social media CRM offerings Artificial intelligence capabilities Nearshore delivery options (within a six hour flight of… Corporate social responsibility programs Competitve price points Consumer loyalty generation capabilities Leading edge contact center automation capabilities Back-office BPO offerings Offshore delivery footprint (6 hours or more by air from… 34455667Source – Ryan Strategic Advisory 2019 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey7The Emerge BPO Work-At-Home Solution In business for over a decade, Emerge BPO has been providing both front and back office functions to clients across multiple sectors. And while perhaps traditionally known for its delivery platform centered in the American nearshore, the growth of its work-at-home program has become a core offering. Emerge BPO gained its work-at-home experience by partnering with one of the largest retailers of office supplies in the world. Its capacity is truly North American, drawing from a pool of agents located in both the US and Canada, with capabilities in English, French and Spanish. From this platform, it has managed to carve out a distinct virtual offering. It is based on a number of interlocking components, each of which is designed to ensure end-user interaction excellence. These include: •Recruitment – Emerge BPO onboards its agents using a combination of online recruitment tools and referrals from its existing labor force. Following initial assessments, prospective agents are assessed for communication skills, shift flexibility, and functions where their skills would be ideally suited. Upon passing a final assessment, mandatory credit and police checks are completed before the formal hire is made. This process ensures the best possible applicants make it through to Emerge BPO’s work-at-home front lines.•Functionality – With clients expecting their outsourced providers to have capabilities in place across the services value chain, Emerge BPO offers several different service lines using its work-at-home platform. These include: o o o o o o oCustomer service management Order management (consumer) Account management (B2B) Revenue generation Technical support Membership / loyalty management Payment services management•Ongoing training – recognizing that the key to customer experience excellence comes from agents who are well-versed on the products / services that they are supporting (as well as the latest in customer management techniques), Emerge BPO deploys a virtual classroom from which it conducts training to its agents across North America.•Strict data protection protocols – with concern over information security at an all-time high, coupled with extremely demanding compliance rules, Emerge BPO has placed a premium on fraud prevention in its work-at-home offering. Alongside the credit and police checks discussed earlier to weed out potential security threats, when working each agent must connect to a secure desktop through a VPN, which limits their capacityto do anything outside of customer support. In addition, this functionality also allows monitoring of activities, and should anything look awry, an immediate lockdown on the terminal takes place. It is noted that Emerge BPO is PCI Level 4 compliant. Conclusions There has never been a more opportune time for the work-at-home agent business model, and Emerge BPO is working to ensure that its offering is as relevant for the marketplace as possible. The ability to service end-users using agents who are drawn from a virtual pool of talent means greater flexibility and labor quality, which is what businesses across North America are seeking more than ever. Traditional ways of doing customer care are quickly moving to the sidelines. Enterprises need to look at working with providers that are on the cusp of servicing consumers in a more innovative fashion if they are to compete effectively.
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