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Harrington, T. and Clark, M., (2011) Homeworking. Report. Henley Centre for Customer Management

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Call centres and the use of mobile phones have become a central part of our daily lives. In the early 2000’s, there was a rush by organisations to outsource and offshore many of these call centres because of the significant cost savings that could be achieved. Unfortunately, where offshoring has been used, it has often led to a reduction in customer satisfaction with the result that organisations are increasingly looking at bringing their critical customer service call centre operations back ‘onshore’. At the same time, developments in local communications technology such as the increased availability of high performance broadband has opened up new possibilities when considering where call centre operators should be located. This has led to the introduction of a new approach – homeshoring or homeworking – where agents can work from their own homes. This approach has provided benefits both in cost savings and in customer satisfaction and is becoming more widespread. This research report was commissioned to review the current status of homeworking in the UK, compare to the status in the US where the practice is much more prevalent and to develop an initial view of the important factors to consider when looking at a homeworking project. The homeworking review looks at the homeworking market and existing research into the use of homeworkers. The research project then consisted of a series of interviews with key managers in organisations that use homeworkers (Homeworker Project Companies – HPC) and with a number of homeworkers to understand the issues and opportunities from both sides. This project clearly demonstrates that the use of homeworkers can be beneficial to both the HPC and the homeworker. Cost savings, increased flexibility, reduced absenteeism and improved customer satisfaction are common among the interviewed HPCs. The homeworkers are also very happy with the arrangement in general. There are, however, issues that both the HPC and the homeworker must address to keep the homeworker from, for example, feeling too isolated. This report presents case studies of the interviewed HPCs and an analysis of the homeworker interviews and then goes on to present a model of a homeworking project to help organisations that are considering the use of homeworkers. The framework presented will help managers to plan their own projects and identifies areas that they need to address. While most of the HPC’s interviewed were happy to be named, one or two declined. For that reason, none of the organisations have been specifically identified. Agent homeworking is used successfully in the US, but less so in the UK. This research included interviews with organisations and agent homeworkers in both geographies to examine differences between them and finds little evidence to change our conclusion that homeworking in the UK will be just as successful as it has been in the US.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:83750
Publisher:Henley Centre for Customer Management


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