We’ve been accustomed that customer service means an office filled with desks, computers, and agents who take calls and answer emails in order to help customers with their problems. In other words, it’s a department in a company which deals with customers’ needs. But what happens when we change the location and speak about at home customer service? The situation changes a little.
Nowadays, working from home is not a novelty. Several jobs have moved their working space from business offices to people’s homes. Here we can include:
Now, customer service has become one of them. Some companies are looking for support representatives to work from home. They will have to respond to customers via phone and/or email, depending on the job description. Yet, there are a few requirements they need to meet.
Working from home means people will have to create their own home office. Here are some general requirements companies have:
These requirements can vary from one company to another, but the main idea is still the same.
Working in customer service from home can bring great benefits for employees. Firstly, they have a comfortable working space where they can fulfill their tasks. This can be a separate room in the house, their living room or any other place they see appropriate. Not to mention they can decorate it and arrange their things in a way that makes work a pleasure.
Depending on the company, the schedule is generally flexible. Employees may be able to choose the working hours they can cover.
The payment is attractive and support agents can enjoy other benefits health benefits, bonuses, and the possibility to advance in their career and to be promoted to higher positions.
When you already have a support team, expanding it can mean additional costs. A bigger team may require a larger office. Going for at home customer service can help you reduce these costs. You can hire as many support representatives as you need. They work from home, where they have their own office.
As we’ve mentioned above, agents have a comfortable working space, arranged exactly how they want it. When the environment is pleasant, there is a chance work efficiency can increase. Support agents may be more concentrated on doing what they have to do and may deliver high-quality results.
Working teams are generally supervised by one or two persons, depending on the size of the group. When you move the team members from the office to their homes, things may get a little complicated.
It can become difficult to see how they work, where they tend to encounter issues and how they deal with more pressured situations. This brings another point in the discussion. It can be difficult to offer them feedback.
You can create means (e.g. monthly meetings, questionnaires) for them to tell you details about their work and what situations they went through. It can give you an idea of what it means to have employees working from home.
What’s great about working in a team is that members can ask each other for help and advice. When each agent has its office at home, you need to think of providing them a channel to communicate. If you already have one, that’s great! If not, you have to invest in one and this translates in additional costs.
Office computers have licensed software: operating systems, anti-viruses, special programs. Also, companies can block certain websites and employees will not be able to access them.
At home, things may be a little different. While companies may check the operating system and anti-virus, they can’t control the websites support agents enter. This may affect the programs representatives use for work and can distract them from their duties.
At home customer service may not be suitable for every company. If you are thinking of applying it in your business, take into consideration these aspects and see if they match your business values and future objectives. It can help you make a good decision and take your company on the right path.