(Free eBook) Hybrid working in the Contact Centre Survey Results

Hybrid working is here to stay!

According to our survey of 102 UK contact centres, two-thirds (66%) believe that 50% or more of their advisers will be working from home (at least part of the time) by the end of 2023.

The ‘How successfully has your contact centre embraced hybrid working?’ market survey is the most comprehensive study of the hybrid working plans of top UK companies conducted post lockdown.

Conducted by Pitch Marketing Surveys and supported by Sensée, the Welsh Contact Centre Forum and SuccessKPI, the survey was conducted in Nov/Dec 2022.

Read the full Survey Results eBook (no need to register).

 

Sensée’s LiveDesk hybrid working collaboration application now available through the G-Cloud 13 Government Framework

G Cloud 13Sensée is delighted to announce that its LiveDesk™ application to create Digital Workplaces for hybrid working front and back-office environments is now available through Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) G-Cloud 13 Government Framework to public sector organisations.

LiveDesk is a next-generation communications & collaboration app to ensure that everyone -independent of location – can tap into a real-time stream of information, care and support so they are optimised to deliver great service.

CCS supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2021/22, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits equal to £2.8 billion – supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), LiveDesk brings together home and office-based people into a single digital workplace with all the tools needed to inform, support and engage just a click away.  It provides:

  • One (web) app page with everyone needed to simplify employee experience (EX)
  • Continuous and certain support for frontline colleagues for better engagement
  • Consistent broadcasts, alerts and briefs, so nothing is missed
  • Peer-to-peer support and knowledge pooling to accelerate learning
  • Integration with comms tools like MS Teams
  • Digital Workplace Analytics for continuous improvement
  • Sentiment & Engagement tracking so no one is left hanging

Thousands of CX advisers are already benefiting from LiveDesk today by having a perfect-fit digital workplace that unites everyone under a digital roof so they are optimised for their work mission.

Launched in November 2022, G-Cloud 13 enables public sector organisations to purchase around 40,000 services from over 5000 suppliers that have been awarded a Framework Contract. To register to access services, customers must first register through the Public Procurement Gateway.

To find out more about LiveDesk and other hybrid working technology solutions, please visit www.cloudworks.cc

Sensée’s Jo Hodge named Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year

Sensée Service Delivery Manager Jo Hodge has been named the Gold winner in the ‘Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year’ category of the 2022 UK National Contact Centre Awards (UKNCC Awards). 

‘Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year’ recognises Managers that have demonstrated key leadership skills in the last 12 months which had an impact on their team, team performance, or the relationship with their client.

The UKNCC Awards winners were announced at a gala awards dinner at Old Billingsgate, a prestigious Central London event venue on Monday night.

At the event, Sensée Team Manager Emma Gunner was also recognised as a finalist in the ‘Rising Star in a Large Contact Centre’ category.

The Awards event was organised and operated by the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA), an organisation that has been bringing contact centre leaders together to share best practice and experiences for over 25 years. The UKNCC Awards, in its 27th Year, is the longest running contact centre awards programme in the UK.

Simon Hunter, CCO, Sensée, commented, “Huge congratulations to Jo. She is an awesome and very hard working leader and all Sensée colleagues are delighted with her success. Very well deserved! I’d also like to congratulate the CCMA for putting on such a wonderful event, and all the winners and finalists for their achievements and amazing stories.”

UK businesses have been slow to move back to the office says new poll

A poll conducted by online contact centre and customer service magazine Call Centre Helper and home and hybrid working specialist Sensée, reveals that UK businesses have been slow to move back to the office post lockdown. It also indicates that a single clear model for optimising hybrid (home/office) working has yet to emerge. 213 business professionals responded to the October 2021 online poll.

43 percent of people responding to the poll said that between 0 and 25 percent of their employees had returned to the office since lockdown ended – with just 20 percent of respondents stating that between 76 and 100 percent of employees had returned.

“According to our poll results, the return to the office seems to be a lot slower than many commentators predicted” said Mark Walton, CEO, Sensée. “What isn’t clear though is why? Could it be because of concerns over employee welfare? Operational difficulties relating to maintaining social distancing? Employees’ desires to continue to work-from-home? Or indeed a combination of all these, plus other factors.”

The poll suggests that there is no single winning template for organisations when it comes to establishing a best-in-class hybrid operation. When asked: “How does your business currently operate hybrid working?” the most popular answer was “Flexibly between home & office (with employees deciding where they work on any day)”. This was selected by 33 percent of people. The second most popular answer was “Set days at home and set days in the office”, selected by 21 percent of respondents. But no hybrid model seems to be the overwhelming winner at this time.

The third poll question asked: “What is the biggest issue you’ve faced since moving to hybrid ‘home/office’ working’ post lockdown?” 41 percent of people indicated issues relating to “management/comms/training” while 34 percent pointed to “pastoral care (mental health concerns, isolation worries etc.)”.

And finally, when asked: “What is the biggest benefit you expect to realise from hybrid ‘home/office’ working?” 36 percent of respondents said “Better employee engagement/productivity” while 29 percent said “Reduced attrition/absenteeism”.

“The picture of hybrid (home /office) working painted by the poll is very mixed” continues Mark Walton. “A move back to the office has started, albeit slower than many people predicted. The hybrid models used by organisations are many and varied. And the most common hybrid challenges to date relate to management/comms/training and pastoral care. Yet the poll shows that many organisations see hybrid working as a way to improve employee engagement/productivity and reduce attrition & absenteeism. While operational cost is clearly a concern, ‘people’ issues – from employee engagement to recruitment, attrition, absenteeism and mental health & well being – appear to dominate organisational thinking when it comes to implementing hybrid strategies.”

View the poll results infographic

Sensée launches ‘The Sensée Forest’ with aim of achieving carbon neutrality

Home and hybrid working specialist Sensée has announced a three-year partnership with Treedom, a global web platform for planting trees and forests worldwide.

The partnership is part of a broader Sensée programme to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and become the first 100% work-from-home business to achieve certification for carbon neutrality. Sensée, established 17 years ago and with no physical contact centres, already has an estimated 90% lower carbon footprint than a typical office-based contact centre.

The Sensée Forest will contain nearly 3000 trees, each gifted to permanent Sensée employees over the next three years – with each person able to select their own tree species, in the territory of their choice, using the Treedom web platform. Initially, these choices will include Tephrosia, Grevillea, Coffee and Cacao trees with the territories available including Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Ecuador. Each tree will have an online page and be geolocated and photographed, with regular updates posted in an online Tree Diary for tree owners to follow the progress of the project.

The Treedom tree planting scheme is the latest in a line of initiatives designed to reduce Sensée’s overall carbon footprint and encourage energy efficiency, recycling and other eco-friendly activities amongst its homeworker population.

“Over the last 18 months, many workers have re-evaluated their relationship with the workplace and come to appreciate the many benefits of homeworking” said Andy Rosser, Transformation and Innovation Director at Sensée. “Eliminating the time and cost associated with the daily commute is one of the top benefits that work-from-home brings…. plus it brings a major benefit for the environment too in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Sensée is committed to environmental and social sustainability and this latest initiative, The Sensée Forest, is our way of saying a big thank you to our colleagues within the Sensée Family, and doing something good for the planet together. We are proud to support an initiative that’s delivering genuine environmental and social benefits, and enables our colleagues to become part of that journey.”

Sensée Creates 500 New Work-from-Home Contact Centre Roles

Sensée, the work-from-home specialist, is creating 500 new permanent and temporary positions to meet the growing demand for homeworking staff.

The vacancies are for Customer Contact Advisors, Team Managers and back office staff to work for new and existing clients. Start dates are immediate.

Applications from people of all backgrounds, levels of experience, gender and age are welcome. Contact centre experience is preferred but not essential. Customer service and other job-specific training is provided.

Sensée is the UK’s only 100% work-from-home contact centre specialist with fully-employed homeworkers. The company has 17 years experience of operating and refining its homeworking model and manages customer contacts on behalf of many household brands as well as a number of Government departments.

“We are delighted to announce these new permanent and temporary roles in response to the growing demand for work-from-home personnel” said Paul Whymark, Chief Operating Officer of Sensée. “A vast number of people have experienced the benefits of homeworking during lockdown and many are now considering their options as organisations contemplate a full time return to the office. We predict a major surge in demand for full and part time homeworking careers where people can balance work with their other daily tasks and priorities.”

Candidates can apply today for the new roles at www.sensee.co.uk

LiveDesk named ‘Remote Team Communication and Collaboration’ innovation of the year

Sensée is delighted to announce that its LiveDesk™ Digital Workplace Creation Tool was named Remote Team Communication & Collaboration innovation of the year at the 2021 National Innovation Awards. The winners were announced at a virtual gala event on 11th May.

About LiveDesk

LiveDesks are user customisable Digital Workplaces for communications and collaboration. They unify home and office workers on the same work mission, ensuring everyone is on the same page, by having access to the same information, knowledge, care and support wherever they work from.

LiveDesks are easy to create and manage. Managers have a range of LiveDesk ‘pods’ at their disposal to build tailored workspaces best suited to their needs and work mission, including features such as:

  • Intelligent Chat: enabling advisers to quickly get help from team members, subject matter experts and virtual floorwalkers, tracking Q&A trends.
  • Bulletins & Alerts: keeping advisors updated on major service issues, ensuring everyone is on the beat (and thereby removing reliance on email).
  • Mood & Engagement Pulse: tracking engagement of users across home and office.
  • Social Spaces: enabling private chat rooms for breaks and socialising for engagement.
  • Digital Workplace Dashboards: tracking users frequency, complexity and trends of questions and knowledge needs to have clear capability flightpaths.
  • Teams / Meet / Zoom Facilitation: helping users organise and manage sessions etc. with webcams, voice and screen-sharing.

LiveDesks are always-on but only open during work hours and when managers (key holders) are logged in. They effectively level the hybrid office operating field.

LiveDesk is part of Sensée Cloudworks, a technology ecosystem for hybrid workplaces that comprises unique and innovative homeworking solutions for remote recruitment & onboarding, resource scheduling, communications & collaboration, and security/compliance.

About the National Innovation Awards 2021

The theme for 2021 was ‘technology innovation that improves Work From Home capability, productivity and experience’.

The judges received over 300 submissions. Other 2021 Awards winners were: Noetica & Avoira, Intradiem, Blue Prism, NICE inContact and Medallia.

Jon Snow, Chairman of Directors Club United Kingdom and Convenor of Judges for the 2021 Awards, commented: “Working from home or anywhere is the operational legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. These 2021 awards set out to highlight the technology developers who are making the distributed workforce not only possible but high performing. One reason the UK National Innovation Awards are respected so widely, is the way they are judged. All our judges are senior business leaders from the organisations that would benefit from the technology innovations being judged. All categories are judged on the quality of the business outcomes that the innovations deliver.”

“We are a 100% WFH business and have been designing, creating and managing hybrid workplaces with our partners since our humble beginnings 17 years ago” said Steve Mosser, CEO and CIO, Cloudworks. “The last 12 months have been the most significant in our history. We’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the UK’s top private and public sector organisations, helping them understand and embrace the opportunities that homeworking can deliver. The adoption of purpose-built technology solutions is absolutely key to work-from-home being established as a viable long-term option for employees and organisations. We are delighted that LiveDesk has been recognised by contact centre industry leaders at these Awards.”

Double success for Sensée at the 2021 Forum Awards

Work-from-home specialist Sensée has won an Innovation and Transformation Award for ‘Engaged Homeworking’ at the 2021 Forum Awards. The company also received a Highly Commended Partnership Award for its groundbreaking homeworking partnership with Bupa at the gala awards evening on Friday 23rd April.

The Innovation and Transformation Award recognised the transformational impact that Sensée’s LiveDesk™ and TeamTonic® homeworking solutions have had on Sensée’s contact centre outsourcing operation, as well as on the customer contact operations of clients including Ageas, Utility Warehouse and Bupa:

  • LiveDesk™ Digital Workplaces unify people, wherever they are, so that they are on the same work mission. LiveDesk provides macro-collaboration and communication tools so people are highly engaged, well supported and continuously informed.
  • TeamTonic® is a self-rostering Scheduler that empowers @home staff to schedule work around their home lives and obligations. By keeping clear of home life work disruptions people are free from conflicting shift anxiety while employers can be confident that they are focused, productive and adhering to schedules.

Sensée’s partnership with Bupa started with a simple homeworking pilot in 2014 and has grown into a comprehensive and multi-faceted outsourced service that today involves 180 contact centre advisers. Sensée advisers not only provide high quality service but handle customer contacts very cost effectively – with highly efficient HomeAgent scheduling key to the cost savings generated. Homeworking lessons learnt through the partnership were instrumental in Bupa making a swift and highly effective transition to homeworking within its own operations at the start of lockdown.

The Awards event was organised and operated by the Forum, a professional community for best practice and professional development in customer operations. The Forum comprises four separate forums for: Planning & Resourcing, Analytics & Insight, Customer Experience, and Strategy & Leadership.

Other winners at the 2021 Forum Awards included North Yorkshire County Council, Hoist Finance, Serco, Capita, Loop, NHS Business Authority, Click Mechanic, Lloyds Banking Group, Domestic & General,

“Well done to the Forum for putting on a fantastic and highly entertaining event” said Mark Walton, CEO, Sensée. “We are very proud of the hard work and dedication of our homeworking teams during the lockdown period and delighted that their achievements have been recognised with these Awards.”

“Over the past year, many organisations have introduced working from home, without embedding homeworking. Sensée has demonstrated how homeworking is done, both sustainably and at a high level of performance, engaging employees and driving operational insight” said Phil Anderson, a Director at the Forum.

New Survey Paints Positive Picture of Employee Engagement During Lockdown

– Homeworking is here to stay say top UK contact centres –

Throughout lockdown, business leaders have debated the tricky issue of how best to engage and support their people while working from home.

However, according to a major new industry survey “The 2021 Contact Centre People Engagement Survey”, 81% of Agents/Advisers – and 56% of Directors/Managers – say that People Engagement in their Contact Centres is not a problem.

322 UK Contact Centre Directors, Managers, Agents and Advisers took part in the online study conducted by trade bodies the South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West. Survey responses were collected between January 11th and March 12th 2021 and participants came from a broad range of Contact Centres from different industries. Separate detailed questionnaires were run for Directors/Managers and Agents/Advisers. The survey was supported by homeworking specialist Sensée.

The “2021 Contact Centre People Engagement Survey” provides valuable insight into the current state of People Engagement within the contact centre industry – at a time when the predominant workplace is the home office.

70% of Agents/Advisers responding to the survey say that they mainly worked in bricks and mortar contact centres prior to lockdown and have now switched to mainly working from home….. and the majority feel that the switch has gone well.

Despite media headlines suggesting organisations have struggled to manage their colleagues in a work-from-home setting, most Contact Centre Advisers say that their Managers have adapted well to the switch: 57% say Very Well and 29% say Well.

And there’s more good news when it comes to the current state of ‘manager-employee’ and ‘team’ engagement.

85% of Agents/Advisers Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement “Communication between senior leaders and employees in my organisation is good”…. with 83% of Directors and Managers concurring. In a similar vein, 94% of Agents/Advisers, and 99% of Directors and Managers, Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement “My manager/contact centre team and I have a good working relationship”. Virtually nobody disagreed.

Mental Health

Concerns over the impact of employee isolation on mental health while people are working-from-home have frequently been aired over the last 12 months.

However our survey reveals that Agents/Advisers are generally happy with the efforts their employers are making at supporting their needs. When asked “Do you think your organisation adequately addresses the Mental Health & Well Being concerns of its employees?”, 73% of Agents/Advisers say yes and only 8% say no.

The survey also revealed the breadth of measures employers were taking to address concerns. When Directors/Managers were asked “How do you monitor Health & Well Being within your teams?” 36% cite Formal Questionnaires, 29% Video Checks and 40% Occupational Health reports. But the most common approach is simply to talk. 89% of Directors/Managers cite Informal Conversations to discuss Health & Well Being concerns and 71% Formal Conversations.

Ethical Business

Finally, our survey reveals a growing recognition amongst employees of the role that their employer plays in broader society.

90% of Agents/Advisers Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement “My organisation has taken steps to ensure that it acts as a responsible member of society” as did almost all Directors/Managers (i.e. 99%)

Likewise, 96% of Directors/Managers Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement “My organisation is dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness”, together with 91% of Agents/Advisers.

And the future?

Perhaps not surprisingly, work-from-home is expected to continue to play a significant role in the contact centre industry for the foreseeable future.

Only 43% of Agents/Advisers believe they will be 100% returning to the office. 57% therefore believe they will be homeworking, with the majority of those splitting their time between their home and the office.

Intriguingly, when asked what percentage of their adviser population would be working from home in 2022, 60% of Directors/Managers say that they expect 50% or more to be working full or part time at home, with just 4% predicting a full return to the office.

“It’s great to report that colleagues in the contact centre industry feel so overwhelmingly positive towards People Engagement issues – especially after the last 12 months” said Jane Thomas, Managing Director of the South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West. “Our survey shows that progress is being made in key areas such as mental health support, building team cohesion and running ethical, inclusive and socially-responsible business. However, while organisations can take credit for these achievements, the job is far from complete.”

“The survey results are extremely interesting, particularly as they counter many of the negative perceptions about People Engagement in the age of ‘forced’ homeworking” said Mark Walton, CEO, Sensée. “Moving forward, the challenge will not be so much about making homeworking work – organisations have had a year to do that – it will be about defining long term strategies. Who will work from the office and who will work from home? How will we manage, communicate, schedule, train our ‘hybrid’ workforces? What new technology platforms will we need? We maybe entering an era of extreme uncertainly but there’s never been a better time to take a step back and make meaningful changes to modernise and transform UK business.”

To view the “The 2021 Contact Centre People Engagement Survey” eBook, please go to

https://www.sensee.co.uk/resources/eBooks.aspx?eb=power-of-engagement-final

The eBook is best viewed in 2 page (i.e. side by side) view, and there is no need to register.

Sensée announces 200 new UK work-at-home contact centre jobs

Sensée is recruiting immediately for 200 new work-from-home roles.  

The vacancies are for permanent, salaried Customer Contact Advisors to work for new and existing clients. Work hours range from 20 to 40 hours a week. Start dates are immediate.

Sensée is welcoming applications from people of all backgrounds, levels of experience, gender and age with all interviewing conducted remotely. Contact centre experience is preferred but not essential. Customer service and other job-specific remote training is provided.  

“We are excited to announce these new job vacancies as the demand for customer service homeworkers continues to rise” said Paul Whymark, COO of Sensée. “The roles enable employees to work flexible hours so that they can enjoy the work-life balance benefits that work-from-home can offer with no commuting.”  

Candidates can apply today for the new roles at www.sensee.co.uk