1 in 3 call centres in India to switch permanently to WFH

New Delhi: Signalling the future of work in the pandemic times, nearly one in three call centres (27 per cent) in India will switch permanently to work from home as a viable long-term strategy, a new report said on Monday.

Amid the WFH strategy, 53 per cent businesses also reported a drop in productivity of call centre agents. Some of the challenges listed were internet connectivity, telecom issues, practical constraints such as lack of privacy, space, noise cancellation, lack of desktops and laptops, according to the study by on-demand cloud communication and telephony solutions provider Ozonetel.

"The pandemic has made contact centres look at the services that they provide and how they provide it," said Chaitanya Chokkareddy, Chief Innovation Officer, Ozonetel.

"At the start of the lockdown in March, we promptly assisted many of our clients to move their agents to a work from home mode to help with business continuity plan very quickly," he added.

Nearly 71 per cent of call centre agents mentioned internet connectivity as the biggest barriers to agent productivity, followed by telecom issues by 42 per cent.

The study found that while 61 per cent call centre agents were happy with work from structure initially, gradually their motivation levels dropped. In spite of all challenges, most companies continue to realise the risk that commute and working from office pose. 55% call centres are letting agents opt for work from home, while 16% are not opening offices, and keeping work from home mandatory.

Many call centres have seen the value in creating a robust work from home process even if they do not switch to work from home permanently, or if they are still undecided.

Nearly 38 per cent call centres said they will create a robust work-from-home process. "We have analysed various metrics to determine and understand trends in customer experience as well as agent efficiency as call centres switch to work from home," Chaitanya said.

The study was done on 50 organisations to uncover the state of the call centre agents during Covid-19 lockdown. Many of the productivity challenges that call center agents face can be solved when provided with better hardware such as better handsets and headsets, laptops or desktops, direct telecom DID numbers and reimbursement of Wi-Fi charges, the findings showed.

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