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LiveVox Study Finds That Many Contact Center Leaders Do Not Want to Keep Agents Remote Despite Recent Business Benefits

2nd Edition of the Study Finds That Technology, Training, and Building an Agent Community Are Keys to a Successful Hybrid Work Model for the Future

LiveVox Holdings, Inc, a leading cloud-based provider of customer service and digital engagement tools, has released the second edition of its LiveVox Work from Home Report, entitled, “The Remote Tipping Point.” Overall, this year’s report found that there is a push by management to return to contact centers, but capabilities now found in the cloud and advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence (“AI”), have shown that a hybrid model can accommodate remote agents and improve contact center productivity. For this report, LiveVox interviewed over 300 contact center executives across North America, in more than five industries, to understand the challenges and successes they experienced while working from home. All participants in the survey directly oversaw customer service and contact center operations for their organizations.

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“Technology, however, is the answer to ensure the positives we’ve seen from work from home continue in the future. Our report showed us that the organizations who embraced technology and were prepared with a cloud infrastructure performed better during the shutdown.”

As the title of the report suggests, the contact center industry has reached a tipping point when it comes to the future of work. While some organizations have decided to remain remote indefinitely others are leaning toward a full return to the contact center for agents, in spite of demonstrated remote agent performance gains. For example, compared to last year, there was a 50% reduction in the number of contact center decision makers planning to keep at least a quarter of their workforce remote. All organizations can be aided by the many innovative workforce optimization and AI solutions, like LiveVox’s AI-enabled chatbots and speech analytics that can enhance productivity, foster a sense of agent community, and also help mitigate security and compliance risks.

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“The global shutdown showed us that a remote workforce is a viable option for many industries and, in the case of contact centers, can improve the employee experience. However, a 100 percent remote future isn’t a viable option for every organization,” said LiveVox CEO Louis Summe. “Technology, however, is the answer to ensure the positives we’ve seen from work from home continue in the future. Our report showed us that the organizations who embraced technology and were prepared with a cloud infrastructure performed better during the shutdown.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • 75% of respondents experienced increased contact volumes on all channels, with 20% reporting a dramatic increase of over 50% compared to last year
  • 30% of contact center decision-makers still plan to keep a percentage of their workforce remote, down from 60% last year
  • 49% felt that the biggest benefit to working from home has been the ability to provide agents greater flexibility
  • 48% surveyed saw no change to agent attrition as a result of the shift, while 30% experienced a combination of high agent turnover, layoffs, or hiring freezes
  • The most commonly adopted new communications channel during work from home was Webchat (24% of respondents adopted the technology)
  • 36% of survey participants reported a positive relationship between working remotely and improved speed to answer for agents.

“Beyond the technology implications, our report showed that contact centers should focus on improving coaching and monitoring tools to ensure that both agents and their managers are set up for success, regardless of whether or not agents are remote. eLearning and Speech Analytics proved to be key pieces to reducing agent monitoring issues – a central challenge for managers,” continued Summe. “The right investments in remote coaching and monitoring provide contact centers with flexibility, opening the door to new opportunities for satisfying workforces and improving customer service.”

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