The technology support industry has truly been tested with the current pandemic, but I am happy to say that, in general, technology companies have been able to successfully move thousands of support employees to work from home and increase virtual engagement with customers. In fact, the data we are collecting shows that not only have the challenges of the last couple of months been successfully met, in many ways, support is flourishing amid the crisis. With all the gloom and doom in the news, I wanted to share some data showing how resilient this industry has proven itself to be.
I’m hearing amazing stories every day. One of my favorite is from CSS, a global service provider that successfully transitioned 7,000 call center employees across the globe, with a large population in India and the Philippines, to work from home within 48 hours with virtually no drop in service levels. And according to the data TSIA has collected as part of our Rapid Research Response initiative, this is the rule more than the exception, as evidenced by the following statistics:
A total of 61 percent of companies said that the impact of transitioning support employees to work remotely has been minimal; 34 percent said there was a slight impact. Only 4 percent reported a significant impact to service levels, and most of these impacts were short term as work-at-home tools and processes were formalized.
A total of 86 percent of companies report that their support teams have been briefed on how to communicate their companies’ responses to COVID-19 to customers. If you are in the remaining 14 percent, take some time TODAY to write up some FAQs for support employees to have at their fingertips in case customers are asking about impacts and guidelines.
A total of 79 percent of support organizations report they have recommunicated or renegotiated service level agreements (SLAs) on their ability to respond to customer requests. And in most cases, this was committing to even more challenging SLAs. Demonstrating to customers that you are there for them when times are tough is a critical way to build long-term profitable relationships.
All the hand-wringing by some firms at having employees working from home seems to have been misplaced anxiety. Having worked from home myself since 2003, I am always confused why executives are so fearful of remote employees, and these fears seem more often grounded in the desire to monitor and control employees rather than to enable their success. So what has been the impact of support suddenly moving to a work from home model?