Atlanta, GA, April 18, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Knowlagent, the leader in call center talent management software solutions, has announced the results of its recent At-home Agent Hiring survey. The survey, conducted with inContact, Inc., a leading provider of on-demand call center software and agent optimization tools, found that the number of companies using at-home agents has increased almost 10% in the past year.
According to those surveyed, the increase in at-home programs can be attributed to several factors including overall cost effectiveness – an at-home agent typically costs a company $23/hour compared to the $27/hour it costs to employ a U.S.-based brick and mortar agent. Additionally, sales conversions tend to be higher with at-home agents (30% compared to 23% with brick and mortar agents), as well as revenue per hour ($178.20 vs. $149.27 with traditional in-center agents).
Of those companies surveyed, 73% of at-home agents are existing in-center agents who have been moved home as opposed to new hires, hired specifically to work from home. The majority – almost 80% - of these at-home agents are full-time employees. By far, the most important quality/requirement for at-home agents, according to the survey, is the ability to work independently. Other important qualities include strong problem-solving skills and a dedicated workspace.
Most of those surveyed – some 66% - said they use the same recruiting tactics for recruiting at-home agents as they do for in-center agents. Those tactics include phone-only interviews, special referral programs, and posting job opportunities in areas without brick and mortar centers. Only 56% said newly hired at-home agents are brought into a center for part of the onboarding process and 78% said that at-home agents are not compensated differently than in-center agents.
Of those surveyed, 57% said that supervisor-to-agent ratio is the same as it is in the center and 65% said attrition is lower with at-home agents than with traditional agents.
The momentum for at-home agent programs is building, but finding the right talent for these programs is key to their success.
Michele Rowan, former vice president of performance management for Hilton Hotels and current president of Customer Contact Strategies, has placed more than 1,000 at-home agents in both the U.S. and abroad. According to Rowan, there is a specific profile that makes for a successful at-home agent.
At-home agents tend to be a little older – the average age is 38 compared to 23 in a traditional brick and mortar center – and they are typically more educated. Almost 80% of at-home agents have college-level experience, 40% have management experience, and 30% are bilingual compared to traditional agents of which only 30% typically have some college-level experience.
“The best at-home agents tend to be stay at home parents, disabled individuals, retirees, senior citizens, graduate students, military spouses and permanent part-time professionals such as writers, artists and sports enthusiasts,” said Rowan. “Flexible work schedules are attractive to these groups and part-time schedules can expand/retract based on your business needs.”
When moving traditional agents home, expect challenges, Rowan says.
“Agents will need time to adjust to different technologies, a new social dynamic, and the challenges of time management, focus and initiative required to effectively work from home,” she said. “To find the best agents, ask targeted questions in the interview process about the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities to determine if they are a good fit with your company and the job.”
Knowlagent is the only talent management software solution specifically developed to meet the unique training, coaching, and hiring needs of the 10 million call center agents around the world. By automating traditional call center management processes, Knowlagent’s solutions for training, coaching and hiring enable clients to hire the right agents and make them better by pushing training and communications when call volumes are low. Knowlagent’s solutions are on-demand, easy to use and require no capital expenditures. Over 200,000 agents and managers around the world use Knowlagent’s talent management software solutions every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit us online at www.knowlagent.com.