I attended a workshop last year with Michelle Rowan from Customer Contact Strategies on the subject of work from home agents, and we’ve just signed up for this years workshop.  A very full day that made me realise how much of a culture shift it is for organisations to embrace this.  Every contact centre I’ve been to has always had wallboards, pinned up spreadsheets, posters of team names etc as physical items in the contact centre. How do you move to supply this information when your workers are in different buildings, different cities or even different countries?

The workshop made me think about how we as a headset company can help with the implementation of work at home agents. Three things came to mind

1) Compatibility. Working at home opens up the types of ‘phone’ that can be used – thin clients, softphones, SIP endpoints all become new options for an agent to use.  We are already working with a number of new partners to make sure we have the right devices to enable headsets to plug and play in the home environment – whatever the technology.

2) Reliability.  The last thing you need is for a home agent to have to travel into the head office because their headset has broken.  Plantronics has reliability at the heart of its DNA – When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he spoke his famous words through a Plantronics headset.  We’ve continued to build headsets that are reliable enough for the most remote agents (although hopefully yours are a little closer than this!) to ensure they can continue to deliver great customer service.

3) Acoustics.  When your customers call in, they are used to a level of background noise – usually the busy hubbub of an office.  With home agents, the background noises can be very different – kids playing in the street, dogs barking, traffic noise.  if customers hear this, then their trust in you will dissapear very quickly (along with their custom).  So having the best noise cancelling from a headset like the EncorePro is even more important at home.

More to come on this subject I think.