“You asked… we listened.” That was the message to Alaska Airlines’ 750 customer service agents handling reservations, group and vacation sales, baggage support and customer care. The airline set out to explore the possibility of allowing agents to work from home – an option that agents had specifically requested. What it discovered: Not only was a work-at-home policy advantageous to the company’s bottom line, it resulted in increased productivity, easier scheduling, and higher employee morale.
So how does an at-home workforce translate into results like these?
Eric Hagaman touched on this subject in his blog post last week, pointing out some of the top challenges and benefits of an at-home workforce, both for the company and its employees. The fact is, despite its obstacles, working at home has vast appeal to the large percentage of workers juggling family life and a full-time career. Since Alaska Airlines offered its employees at all call center locations the option of working at home, more than 60% are currently taking advantage of the policy.
As a result, the airline has benefited from a 4.9 percent gain in productivity, which translates to roughly 12 extra full-time employees — each handling an additional 9 calls per day. Last year, that number totaled more than 22,000 contacts.
Now that technology has caught up with the trend, at-home agents are an increasingly attractive option.
As recently as a decade ago, the idea of an offsite workforce conjured nightmarish visions of connectivity issues and quality management gone wrong. Fortunately, advances in contact center software and platform technology mean that businesses are able to establish remote workers with the same relative ease as on-site employees.
Some of the practices Alaska Airlines has put in place include:
- Leveraging Quality Monitoring software to troubleshoot remote agents’ workstations and walk them through complex tasks
- Managing variations in call volume and requested time off through eWorkforce Management
- Decreasing real estate space in one location by 50% to realize a significant cost savings
Is a work-at-home strategy part of your approach to next-generation customer contact?
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