During the pandemic, to ensure customer support continuity the technology landscape shifted to remote working models. Companies are uncertain about remote working due to various factors like monitoring the agent’s performance, data security and customer resolution to provide an optimal customer experience. But be it an on-premise or remote model, the three major components to an optimal customer experience are technology, people and process.
Technology is continuously changing and it applies to customer support as well. With technology growth, customer support leaders would like to capitalize on the advancements, but at what cost? Upgrades come with a cost: the expenses on the software and hardware upgrade, time and effort invested by the people during the upgrade, and the process challenges at the adoption across all levels.
Optimal customer experience through on-premises?
An on-prem model requires on-site installation, followed by hardware maintenance and regular software updates — either from the service provider or in-house staff. The workforce working on-premises are full-time employees who are responsible to deliver the target metrics. At the outset, this looks like a perfect system to deliver the desired customer experience. Theoretically, the on-premise model is believed to be secure as it is hosted in a private network and is potentially less susceptible to data breaches. However, many organizations and customer support leaders experienced the Capex burden with this model. Particularly when companies scale up they grow yet being Capex heavy and not any leaner.
Let’s explore why it’s Capex heavy?
- Resources: As the team size increases, the requirement for the physical infrastructure to accommodate the team increases in parallel resulting in capital expenditure.
- On-premise license fees of legacy systems are expensive. Furthermore, annual maintenance can end up being between a quarter of the license cost.
- The infrastructure cost is something that on-premise offering incurs, no matter if the agents are using it or not.
- Support staff: From the IT support team to administration assistance, the cost is linear to the agent count
Companies strive to scale up — faster, lighter and leaner. All these caused companies to look at Opex based alternatives.
Is remote the perfect solution?
Remote is an advanced solution compared to the on-premises legacy system. And with the right ways and means of implementation, customer support departments can function as a 100% OPEX model. Remote customer support solution includes remote technology and remote workforce.
Let’s explore operating remote:
Companies use cloud-native remote contact centre software integrated with other marketing tools like CRM, ticketing software and MIS forming a functional remote customer support stack. Most of the platform comes with integrated tools like agent performance monitoring and analytics. At the workforce end, the agent requires a mobile, laptop and a good internet connection to get plugged into the platform, thereby operationalising and delivering the customer support solution
How do you manage a remote workforce?
Managing agents remotely may look like a challenge initially as they all are spread across multiple locations. Supervisors can’t physically interact with the delivery team to keep them productive.
Managing a remote workforce requires the right collaboration and workforce management tools so the agents’ login hours, the number of calls answered, the quality of the call can be tracked through a dashboard. This way companies can run track agent productivity in real-time.
Advantages of shifting the customer support to remote
- Cost: Based on estimates from the Global Workplace Analytics Telework Savings Calculator, a single company can annually save $11,000 per remote worker who telecommutes 50% of the time. The agent expectation on remote customer support is fairly modest. You could hire 5-10 years experienced professional for as low as 20,000 rupees for 8 hours or 10,000-12,000 rupees for 4 hours
- Scalability: Remote customer support solutions give elasticity, agents can choose to work as part-time or full-time employees. It allows easy ramp up and down to manage peak demands.
- Integration: With API based integration, moving to a next-gen platform gives numerous ways to build your customer support stack.
- Productivity: On the contrary to assumption, remote workers are more productive and happy. A survey conducted by Mckinsey found that 41% of employees said they were more productive working remotely than in the office. Research proves remote workers are equally efficient as on-premise workers.
Choosing the right solution
As on-prem is hard-pressed to lower the cost to serve, upgrading to a remote model is a closer solution at hand. Companies can test it with the hybrid model before moving to 100% remote. To offer an optimal customer experience solution, setting up the customer support stack plays a key role. Cost to benefits has to be considered at every integration. Remote customer support delivery can reduce significant cost compared to the on-premise offerings. However, the shift has to happen seamlessly without disrupting the delivery.