The Staffing Challenge
Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s contact center is based in the garrison town of Aldershot. Recruiting staff to cover seasonal peaks proved to be very difficult, largely due to the proximity of London. Another issue was that after investing in training, many skilled agents had to relocate due to having partners in the British Army being transferred elsewhere.
Enterprise initially ran a pilot ‘home working’ project in the USA to enable employment of staff living in remote areas. This proved so successful in delivering a steady, reliable service cost- effectively, that the UK organization started their own pilot scheme.
250 staff, as far as the Orkney Islands, now have access to flexible home working!
The first 6 people working in the comfort of their own home grew rapidly to almost 250. Staff are now primarily part-time or flexi-time meaning that should call volumes suddenly peak, alerts are sent to agents to ask them to log in if they are available.
The right partner
Communications Solutions is a women-owned business certified by WEConnect International. Enterprise recognizes the benefits of trading with diverse suppliers and is an active member of the organization. This is how the partnership began.
How Communications Solutions helped
Ensuring that the remote workers had the best equipment to fulfil their roles was paramount to the success of the project. Communications Solutions had to create a supply framework to offer the end users the correct choice of headsets to allow the best possible user experience, while the customers calling in received the same standard of voice clarity normally associated with a traditional contact center.
To complement the equipment supply, a clean and refurbishment service was introduced. This ensures that when a headset ‘changes hands’ in the business that it is sanitized and presented ‘as new’ to an agent.
Enterprise operates a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy for homeworkers for computer equipment. To help remote workers select the right equipment, Communications Solutions proposed a dedicated web-portal populated with approved products compatible with Enterprise’s platform. This simplifies the process for staff needing to buy or upgrade their equipment.
Such is the success of their remote and flexible working initiative, that Enterprise won Home Agent Operation of the Year and Best Use of Technology categories at the London and South East Contact Centre Awards 2016.
The Solution Benefits
Staff Diversity – Homeworking enables everyone – from young mums to retired professionals, or staff in remote locations, to be an integral part of the workforce.
Cost Savings – Flexible home working means the business allocates staff on demand and reduces downtime; whilst staff save money not commuting.
Employee Satisfaction – Staff working flexible hours in the comfort of their own homes are happier and more productive. This positively impacts on customer service.
Customer Service – Having a flexible workforce means that the business is more responsive to peaks in customer demand.
Recruitment & staff retention – No longer limited by its geography, staff are employed across the UK.
Flexibility & productivity with VoIP – VoIP telephony has revolutionized communication. New staff can be set up quickly and easily, relocation or disaster recovery scenarios are no longer an issue.
Comfort & staff – Comfortable and reliable headsets ensure agent ‘up-time’ and well-being. Working from home improves work/life balance.
Sustainability – Home workers are always at their place at work, so reduce traffic congestion and their carbon foot print.
“The cost savings that Communications Solutions UK have secured for our business have been important but equally I value their friendly and helpful service. Over the years I have always been able to rely on a prompt response to my enquiries and working with Julie’s team is always a pleasant experience.” -Payal Choudhary, Operations Coordinator, Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
(Photo: Maggie Berry, Country Director, WEConnect International in Europe, and Julie Watling, CEO, Communications Solutions UK.)