10 Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Call Center Agents

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September 7, 2018
Keeping customers satisfied can prove to be one of the most tedious and time consuming tasks in business. While your business grows, you in turn take on more customers, equalling more queries, demands and complaints. Although, the importance of public relations is not unjust, basic steps to be followed often need to be repeated to guide customers too often, making the process overwhelming.

In turn of these nuances, companies are opting to relieve themselves of these tedious duties, and are outsourcing their call centers. Remote call center agents either work collectively in a specific location, or work from their home. For example, companies like Shopify, have the majority of their call center agents dispersed across Canada, working from their own homes.

This model proves to be beneficial for companies in various aspects. Not only do remote call center agents require substantially less overhead, businesses only pay the exact amount in which is needed. To be exact means companies can fix the payment according to the number of calls the agents will be taking. However, just like everything else, there are downsides associated with hiring remote workers and namely, remote call center agents. To find out if outsourcing is the right move for you, read below for the pros and cons of hiring remote call center agents.

Pros

1. They Save You Money

Without question, companies cut costs significantly by hiring remote agents. Right at the start, you're not chewing the hefty bill associated with supplying the right IT equipment needed for the job, as the remote workers will already be set up with this. On that note, your company isn’t having to deal with the cost of maintenance of that equipment. If repairs need to be made, those costs are absorbed by the remote agents, themselves.

Secondly, the savings you gather from not having to rent additional space for your own agents to operate from, will not go unnoticed. All companies, especially small private ones for that matter, could use these savings for more practical purposes, such as, marketing campaigns and other reinvestments.

2. Only Pay When Your Business Needs Them

Predictably, businesses tend to have their own peaks and valleys in terms of customer volume, throughout each year. April through September, may be exploding with calls, while the remaining months are overly quiet. Leveraging outsourced agents becomes all too relevant in this scenario.

During times where sales and calls are low, traditional agents in your office will still require payment, resulting in an unnecessary cost to the company. Don’t risk the inevitable, by hiring remote agents on a pay-per-call basis, or scheduling based on peak and low seasons. Handling your callings in this way ensures all of your business needs are fulfilled, even during holidays, weekends and nights, without an extra bill.

3. A Wide Variety Of Available Skilled Workers

Telecommuting options are nearly limitless with all the available remote call center agents. In any market, having more options equals greater competition, generating price wars; meaning lower costs for you. Additionally, you have access to thousands of skilled professionals, opposed to being limited to just your local area.

The reason that man U.S and Canadian businesses outsource their call centers to other countries, such as, India, is that the labor costs are much lower than local selections. Take advantage of this and save substantially more, while receiving a greater ROI in turn, as these remote workers are specializing in this field.

4. Going Green

In more outwardly thinking, having remote call centers, especially those agents who work from home, reduces your overall carbon footprint. It’s not as much of a stretch as you may think, considering that every element of business is questioned in terms of social responsibility.

Having remote agents work from their homes immensely reduces travel costs along with the emissions produced. Enhance your credibility as a forward thinking business, which not only saves the environment, but potentially earning you grants and subsidies in some countries.

5. Keep Your Existing In-House Staff

Businesses may run into issues when confronting their in-house agents regarding the need for over time. During peak sales times, it couldn’t be more crucial for operations too continue in full efforts to fulfill the call of duty.

Although, you may have previously informed your own employees of the necessary changes, it’s a given that performance during the additional hours will not be up to standard. Overall employee satisfaction will also be hindered causing more resistance in progress for your company. Outsourcing the extra hours to remote call agents can ensure your main team remains positive and hardworking in their day to day tasks.

6. No More Staffing Issues

In contrast to hiring individual call center agents, companies are hiring companies. This entails owners seeking out full call center organizations who have or can build a dedicated calling team for the specific tasks.

This third party approach is highly beneficial for businesses looking to enroll remote workers. The companies who are contracted to provide the agents, are held responsible for interviewing, training, scheduling and all management that revolves around the particular line of work.

Dealing with outsourcing in this way, eliminates all costs and time associated with organizing and tasking employees yourself. Leaving these duties to those who specialize in such a feild, opens more time for you to focus on operations that you strive in.

7. Management Duties Are Immensely Reduced

Continuing off the previous note, having a dedicated remote call center team requires substantially less management resources. Dedicating a large portion of your time with supervising and managing your team is not as necessary.

With that being said, hours which could be better articulated, are often spent solving tech related issues. Thanks to remote agents, one of the many perks of hiring them is; you don’t need to worry about annoying nuances, such as, tech malfunctions and so on.

8. Hit All The Targets
Remote call center agents allow you to take advantage of the opportunity to expand your company, notably, when contracting a separate entity from one of your target markets. Using these methods in your business practice, allows you to bring a large variety into your service arsenal and attend to specific expectations of your customers.

9. Save Money On Exchange Rate

Especially when your main operations are based in costly North America, it’s obvious how outsourcing specific departments to regions, such as, South Asia. Already, companies are saving two to three hundred percent on call relations, due to currency value alone.

10. Take Advantage Of Others Strengths

In all aspects, outsourcing any specialty trade is immensely beneficial to all lines of business. Where your company, for example, may specialize in software development, a call center agent would specialize in onboarding new clients and assisting existing customers with easy to follow instruction.

Being as they are specializing in their line of work, satisfying their customer (you), is of utmost importance, in hopes of securing a long term deal with your company. In turn, this results in a high level attention to detail and a desire for results at a fraction of the cost.

Cons

1. Software Or Special Equipment May Need To Be Supplied

Not always, but with some companies, remote agents require specialized software, equipment and in more rare cases, even internet access. The company hiring these agents must take in consideration the costs associated with providing the contractors the appropriate tools for the job.

Opposed to in house call agents where you once were able to share a network amongst the team, now it potentially must be disbursed amongst different locations and agents.

2. Security Issues

Depending on the sensitivity of your companies data, you may need to reconsider the option of hiring remote call center agents.

Having an in house call center agent team, all of your information is linked to just one access point, making it more secure in theory, when compared to it being accessible in other locations. Depending on your back end system, releasing certain softwares to third parties could result in allowing access to information you would rather not have explored. Security software may be installed and embedded, however, it will never be at the protected level it is with an in house operating system.

3. Lack Of Supervision Contrasting to being freed of management obligations, there are downsides to having less control. When hiring call center agents remotely, you have less ability to monitor their work. Yes, you can install call recording software to assist with easing this issue, but you will never be able to capitalize on mistakes like you could with your own agents.

4. No Sense Of Belonging

A sense of belonging to a team or in other words, unity, is very important for overall well being. When people band together to accomplish something, they statistically become more motivated to give their full efforts opposed to working on their own.

When hiring remote workers, selectively individuals opposed to companies, the sense of belonging is nearly non existent. Having rouge agents also succumbs to having unfocused and unmotivated workers. Having these people on your team will potentially jeopardize the credibility of your company and possibly deprive you of utilizing your employees to their full capabilities.

5. Decreased Customer Satisfaction

When looking at certain studies, there is evidence that hiring overseas call center teams equates to a lower quality of customer experience. Due to the sheer volume of calls your third party agents may take in, it is extremely tedious and even nearly impossible to keep tabs on their overall performance. Often, this evolves to dissatisfied customers.

Often the main source of the issues lay within communication and cultural barriers. Although, your remote agents may be exceptionally polite and responsive, they may not be fully understanding of what’s being asked from the customer.

On another note, there may be a disconnect between the company and the hired agents in terms of; company knowledge, full line of services and more. Without that knowledge, this leads to lack of dedication and inability to offer the correct resolutions.

6. Training And Coaching Problems

As companies grow and evolve, so do their systems. Having a team of team of call center agents, both in house and outsourced, means keeping them up to date with the latest OS and developments. Having agents who exist inside your location, require as little as one group training session, whereas this is not the case for remote workers.

Orchestrating a solution for training multiple agents in different time zones can overly time consuming. It could even equal to be more costly, seemings as you will need assign someone in a top management position to take care of the task. Not executing this process correctly will result in a decrease in overall efficiency.

7. Remote Workers Are Disconnected To Your Work Culture

Remote call center agents could simply not have enough knowledge about the company they are working for. Due to the nature of their position, they could be working for one company for a short time, then be moved to the position of another. Unfortunately, this model leaves the agents moving just as they received the basic training they needed.

If moving on is not the issue, there is a lack of employer to employee relationship building. This can quickly result in remote agents to feel less loyal and decrease their level of loyalty.

With a shortage of understanding or availability of internal company growth, it’s understandable how an individual may feel less inclined to perform to their full potential.

8. Communication Difficulties

When your agents are located at headquarters, you should have no issue relaying information back and forth with employees. However, with remote contractors, there is much less communication between parties. Because workers may be thousands of miles away and in different time zones, passing on quick updates may go unattended.

Depending on your companies rate of growth and change of systems, trying to continuously keep your outsourced staff updated on new advancements or procedures, could leave you with higher overall costs then having your own team.

9. Look For Hidden Costs

As it goes for all types of contractors and outsourced employees, there are hidden costs associated with these types of labor. When operations are outsourced internationally, as it does in most cases, international law comes into effect.

Potentially hiring a lawyer who is well recited in the area of the workers may be necessary. Typically, as it goes with equipment not being able to be used out of house as it is, “in”, the regular company lawyer may not be suited for the tasks at hand for international debate.

These costs are all separate to to the main concern of the price associated with customer loss. Losing potential or already existing customers, due to an unmonitored agents wrongdoings, could cost companies thousands in lost revenue. Additionally, companies may need to spend extra in order to recapture the customer who was lost.

All potential costs must be analyzed before deciding if this is the right move for your company. Maybe simply hiring a local, third party call center, could be a better option?

10. No Unity Equals Lack Of Spirt

Just as there is a lesser sense of belonging, remote workers miss the opportunity to operate as a team. This is proven time and time again to decrease the overall spirit of the employee and slow efficiency.

Although, this may be avoided when hiring a team opposed to a single contractor, the possibility of the team feeling a lack of unity is beyond your control. Unfortunately, we aren’t positive how all companies operate their call centers, so before hiring, it is important to research to ensure you receive the most value out of your hired call center.

In Conclusion
As it goes with everything else, there will always be pros and cons. At a glance you may be saving thousands of dollars by outsourcing your work, however, in the long term it could do the exact opposite. The best way to avoid these types of occurances, is to always verify your decisions by researching all possibilities. Also, protecting yourself by hiring local call center teams could be the ultimate solution, resulting in the best of both worlds. Get a free assessment to find out if a call center is the right move for you.

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