Employee Wellness Monitoring and the Call Center Industry
In early February, Time Magazine declared that the
Coronavirus has become the “world’s largest
work-from-home experiment”. In the following month, Gartner published an
analyst report on managing costs during the Coronavirus outbreak and revealed
that 74 percent of CFOs surveyed expect that at least some of their employees that
were forced to work from home because of COVID-19 will
continue to work remotely after the pandemic ends. Later in mid-May, Michael Dell stated that
work-from-home will be a “permanent
feature” of the company’s structure and culture.
However, in recent weeks, a concept that has become known as
Fatigue has emerged, which describes how many employees are struggling with
their new work-from-home routines.
Impact on Call Center Space
In general, the call center space already suffers from rapid
agent burnout and high turnover rates. So, how will the new work-from-home
scenarios impact the call center industry?
Despite many humorous stories about call center agents working
from home that have been published, including a recent article on the Wall
Street Journal about a rooster
interrupting a customer service call, change in call center operations is
occurring rapidly in response to the new work-from-home mandates that should
trigger the attention of managers at all levels.
Many call centers, both in-house and outsourced, are adapting
Cloud-based technologies to allow their agents to access their call center functionality
remotely and continue working from home as if they were in the office. In
addition, technologies for remote employee collaboration, such as video
conferencing, are rapidly being incorporated in call center operations, but despite
these technologies that are enabling call center agents to continue working remotely,
managers are unable to fully understand and measure how these new conditions
are impacting the performance and overall state-of-mind of their agents and
other call center employees.
To begin with, both HR staff and managers must make an
extended effort to be in ongoing contact with call center agents forced to work
from home and do their best to assess their agents’ wellbeing so they can
assist the managers to predict and be prepared - and even help prevent, if
relevant - future events. This contact can be through both formal online
meetings and informal conversations. Of course, if call center agents express
specific problems then corrective measures can be taken immediately, but what
happens when a call agents tells a manager that everything is okay working from
home, when in reality they are frustrated and struggling? This situation is
highly problematic and can lead to low agent productivity and damage the
overall call center performance.
Today, more than ever before, monitoring remote call center
agent wellness by applying the same voice analytics that is used on callers is
crucial for the operational continuity. This approach is opening up many new
opportunities for maintaining satisfied call center agents and call center
performance during work-from-home mandates.