For almost two decades, 5CA has been perfecting our work from home customer service model. The latest version, where we only ever hire agents to work from home, has been around since 2015, so it is clear that for us this is very much business as usual.
This is not the case across the wider Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Most companies in this sector build large contact centers and then restrict their hiring to only those who live within commuting distance of the contact centers.
This isn’t really smart. When we hire people we can choose from anyone, anywhere, using any language, and with any domain skills. If we need to support a gaming company then we go out looking for people who love the games our client produces. We hire fans that are full of passion, not the same people who might work inside a bank contact center.
This approach has suddenly become very important, because the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to work from home – even all those thousands of people usually in contact centers.
They can manage in the short term, but one they realize that managing remotely is all about trust, not managerial hierarchies, then they will hit a wall. Their entire corporate culture is going to have to change to succeed. Most of them will be trying to move back into contact centers as fast as possible, but I suspect that our “new normal” is going to last several years. Until there is a vaccine for this virus, every company needs to focus on social distancing and that makes the traditional contact center model uneconomic.
It’s no surprise that people are contacting 5CA and asking for help because they are more interested in WFH 5.0 than companies with 5 weeks of experience. This means that we are scaling up rapidly now and there are several approaches we are using to ensure that we can grow quickly and maintain the quality of our team:
- Automated recruitment funnel: we use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to sift through the documents and ensure that the right person always has the right documents at the right time. There is no unanswered email in this process.
- Online tests: we have initial tests for general customer aptitude and also domain expertise and experience. Nobody progresses to an interview unless they can prove that they have the right skills we need and the right attitude and approach to customer service.
- BYOD standards: we have minimum standards for equipment and security, so we can quickly verify that the candidate has met all requirements before proceeding.
- Onboarding: a tested standardized process that allows us to quickly bring new people into the team so they can begin socializing and meeting peers. They can quickly become familiar with all the 5CA platforms they need to use.
- Training: training times vary depending on the client and type of support, but everything is performed remotely and soon after joining. Most of our trainers will never meet the team members they help and much of the training is also automated and video-based.
To scale up faster we have been focusing on boosting the number of people we have working on onboarding and training and we are now onboarding hundreds of new team members every week. Everyone has passed through the same aptitude checks, interviews, and training so even though we have dramatically scaled up our recruitment, the quality of people has remained consistent. This is how WFH 5.0 works. Our culture of trust and empowerment means that our remote teams can deliver more and scale up faster.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen licensed under Creative Commons.