When it comes to customer service staffing, you have a lot of options.
The traditional solution has been to create an in-house customer service department and populate it with full-time or part-time reps. But over the past few decades, some companies have turned to offshore outsourcing to reduce customer service overhead without sacrificing performance.
Now, many companies are combining the best features of outsourcing and in-house staffing to create work-at-home call centers using employees who are located here in the U.S. Work-at-home customer service scenarios provide greater flexibility for both employers and workers, and often result in substantial cost savings compared to an onsite customer service department.
Work-at-home customer service is proving to be a viable alternative for businesses of every shape and size. Yet before you transition to a work-at-home call center model, it's worth the effort to learn how large companies – like Jet Blue – have successfully utilized work-from-home CSRs.
Jet Blue's work-at-home customer service program relies primarily on part-time CSRs located throughout the U.S. Each agent is outfitted with a computer and communication technology, dramatically reducing the cost of outfitting an in-house call center. Customer service reps receive inbound calls from customers and assist them with flight booking or other concerns.
All of Jet Blue's at-home customer service agents are scheduled to work specific time slots, matching individual situations to call center needs. But if the call center is experiencing a low volume of inbound calls, the central office sends out general emails for voluntary time off with the caveat that it's available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Jet Blue goes out of its way to make home-based workers feel integrated with the life of the company. Frequent newsletters, informal notes and face-to-face get togethers help each team member feel like they are part of the Jet Blue Team.
Jet Blue supervisors strive to maintain regular communication with each at-home CSR. Although they closely follow performance reports and periodically monitor calls, they also reach out to employees by phone or email, often for the sole purpose of relationship building.