Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Homeshoring for Contact Center Industry Expected to Produce Exponential Growth

May 29, 2007

Although still an underused strategy in the contact center industry, more and more companies are looking to deploying home-based agents as a way to meet demand, keep costs under control and seek qualified individuals for employment outside of the company’s physical geographic environment. 

One company has seen tremendous growth in this area. LiveOps, the largest distributed contact center in the United States, has revealed a notable 400 percent growth in the number of its home-based customer service agents, or home agents, since 2004. LiveOps home agents take product orders for retailers, assist with customer service, take restaurant orders and much more.
Currently contracting with 10,000 home agents across the country, LiveOps expects that number to double to 20,000 agents by the end of this year. Growth is also predicted by industry analyst firm IDC; this company expects 320,000 home agents in industry-wide operation by 2010.
LiveOps attributes such strong growth to U.S. companies’ demand for higher quality customer care at competitive prices. Both businesses and workers can benefit greatly from the home agent model. Businesses can have access to highly-trained workers who are rated on the basis of performance with calls routed most often to the best-performing agents, while these agents get unprecedented flexibility.
What can often be the trend with the home-agent strategy is that these individuals tend to be more educated and/or skilled than their in-house counterparts. More than 80 percent of LiveOps U.S.-based home agents are college educated and over 50 percent are work-from-home parents with small children. The annual turnover rate for fully-certified LiveOps home agents is less than 10 percent, compared with the 100-200 percent annual turnover in traditional contact centers.
The surge of home agents could also be the result of the demand for credible work-from-home opportunities, which presents significant earnings opportunities for contactors as well as exceptional flexibility. Home agents work when they want and for as long as they wish. Regular household costs such as dry cleaning, day care and gas for commuting can also be minimized and in many cases, completely eliminated.
 “It’s not surprising that the number of home agents is growing so dramatically. Independent contractors want the flexibility of working when they want. As a result, companies gain access to a new, highly skilled and effective labor pool. Home agents help us to offer better quality customer care at more reasonable prices than has ever been possible,” said LiveOps CEO Maynard Webb, in a statement. “The home-agent model is changing how people think about work.”
The projected growth of the home-based contact center agent throughout the industry is not surprising, giving the benefits that such an arrangement provides to both agents and the organization. As the pressure continues to intensify for the contact center to increase customer service deliverables while driving down costs, the demand will continue to growth for solutions such as home-based agents. 
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.