In a recent article in 1to1 Magazine, “Setting the At-Home Service Standard,” author Mila D’Antonio cites the higher overall quality of home agents as the critical reason why companies today are delivering better customer experiences as they transition customer service to a home-based workforce. But the real question is: Will better talent alone (aka better skilled agents)lead to the best results?
Let’s face it, talent is just the beginning. It’s having fuel without an engine. Sure, it’s why many companies are discovering the advantages of an at-home workforce. In reality the engine behind at-home success is the combination of cloud-based technology with cloud-based talent that is producing even better performance—the cloud is the difference to achieving better results faster and more consistently.
Moving to cloud-based technology means rethinking how you’re working with talent, in addition to identifying and sourcing talent. (I’ll save identifying, sourcing, and profiling for another blog.) Simply implementing the same traditional, on-premise approaches and tools doesn’t work when you’re striving to get the best out of a cloud workforce. Cloud-based talent requires new tools and new ways of managingremote workers to inspire performancethat is superior to an on-premise environment.
Take collaboration, for example. Home agents are already adept with online chat and forums to stay connected and access information. But there are times when real-time voice and face-to-face interactions can have a huge impact on the ability to more effectively communicate complex issues or deliver critical feedback. Just look at the recent launch of group video chat via Skype on Facebook or the new Google+ “Hangouts” feature, and you can see how similar technology could be implemented to take collaboration to a whole new level in the cloud-based work environment. We are at the forefront of a consumer-inspired, collaboration technologies boom that will change how we work. Smart cloud application developers are positioning themselves now to take full advantage of this opportunity to enable the workforce to perform better, faster, and more consistently.
And let’s not forget how cloud-based applications can transform how agents assess and improve their own individual performance. At-home workers require greater connectedness and more visibility into how they are performing against their peers, and this concept of “reputation” can lead to new and powerful motivation tools and techniques. The use of gamification feeds into human nature to compete on the basis of performance and then be rewarded for doing well and reaching new heights. Those agents who compete well in the “games” that defines their work also provide a higher standard of service. Trust me, I’ve seen the proof.
The shift to higher quality home agents is well under way. With this shift is a new standard of excellence for customer service. If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, what’s going to help you keep up with the new standard of customer service excellence?