How a cloud contact center is opening doors for people with disabilities
This month, some of the Spoken team had the honor of speaking at the SourceAmerica conference, an event devoted to pairing people with disabilities and veterans with work opportunities through the AbilityOne program. While some organizations had already made some headway into the contact center space, we ended up spending a lot of time covering the benefits of cloud technologies to enable work-from-home programs.
And the response was amazing! Contact Center as a Cloud (CCaas) technologies, such as a virtual Automated Call Distributor (ACD), call recording and virtual agent desktop and reporting, are ridiculously easy to translate directly to job opportunities for people with disabilities, veterans and military spouses. And we get really excited about supporting those who have served our country.
So how can starting a work-from-home program open doors for veterans and people with disabilities?
Fighting unemployment with technology
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ “2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report,” 53 percent of separating post-9/11 veterans will face a period of unemployment. What’s more, the duration of this unemployment lasts up to 22 weeks on average. In addition, the current unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 11.7 percent, compared to people without disabilities at 5.3%.
In some of these cases involving a disability, finding a job is hindered because commuting to work isn’t a viable option. While this is a significant hurdle, today’s modern contact center technology provides a way to streamline employment for people with disabilities. For example, Virtual Desktop software from Spoken Communications provides a simple, accessible way to work from home as a contact center agent for either an enterprise or an outsourcer supporting multiple enterprises.
A better-qualified workforce with higher retention rates
Having a work-from-home program in place can improve recruiting in several ways. First, because home-based work is in such high demand, contact centers with work-at-home opportunities are often able to attract a larger number of agent candidates and can be more selective than can centers that haven’t embraced remote work.
With a cloud solution, in fact, anyone--including highly qualified people with disabilities or frequently-moving military spouses that might otherwise be excluded from call center work--are now ripe for recruitment into contact centers that have embraced cloud technology. The lack of geographical hiring restrictions means that contact center managers can keep their best-trained staff and reduce churn. In the past, if a top agent had to move locations, that agent was lost forever and had to be replaced with a trainee. With virtual desktop and other cloud technologies, you need not lose your top performers due to a geographical change. For example, military spouses have proven to be excellent contact center agents with high retention rates when allowed to work from home.
And in fact, one study on contact center home agent staffing showed that nearly 93% of participants reported that their work-at-home initiative had a “very positive” or “positive” impact on employee retention (with most of them citing “very positive”). And a whopping 61% of employees who do not currently work from home say they would even be willing to give up some pay in exchange for a remote work opportunity!
What about security?
With any virtual desktop solution, call center agents log in to a secure agent desktop from their homes and simply log out when the work day is done. However, security concerns inevitably arise. And not all virtual desktops are created equal, so be sure to ask the following questions:
- Is two-factor authentication offered?
- Is end point scanning for updates and viruses offered?
- What encryption is used on call recordings?
- Is a solution offered to encrypt or hide sensitive customer data from agents?
- Can the agent keyboard be locked down to prevent harmful key combinations, such as Print Screen?
- Can the agent desktop be put into kiosk mode to limit external surfing?
How does remoting affect productivity and quality of service?
While the idea of agents working from home often brings with it concerns of reduced productivity, often the very opposite is true. In one study, three in four participants reported that the use of remote agents has had a “very positive” or “positive” impact on agent productivity, and two in three said their remote agent program has helped to elevate the quality of service provided to customers.
Would you like to start up a work-from-home program and support wounded warriors and military spouses? For more information on the benefits of a remote agent program as well as a cloud checklist, download our free white paper, Harnessing the Power of Remote Agents. We had a great time at the SourceAmerica conference and want to support you however we can!