By: Fraser Wilson, Global Head of Marketing, AnswerConnect
Fraser Wilson has accrued over 10 years’ experience working within small, medium and large businesses. He is currently Global Head of Marketing for AnswerConnect; supporting the company in their provision of 24/7 live answering services to businesses across a variety of industries throughout the UK and North America.
Following the major UN scientific report that states human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented ways, it’s clear we need to make immediate change across every aspect of life to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases to help stabilise rising temperatures.
During the pandemic, businesses were forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’. While painful, that evolution has shown we have the flexibility and technology to work from anywhere. Of course, this is just a small step in tackling a much wider crisis. But it’s a vital step in the right direction. The climate crisis will force everyone to reappraise the outdated systems we live by and the way we work is no exception.
We are driven by a desire to use business as a force for positive change. Central to that is an effort to help combat the current climate crisis. But to do this, we need a new approach to the way we work. AnswerConnect has created solutions that mean less commuting, less polluting and a more sustainable future from the comfort of your chosen location.
Post-pandemic shift in work culture and outsourcing
There has been a shift in work culture post-pandemic and outsourcing is set to fill the gap for businesses wishing to embrace the ‘working from anywhere’ model.
While some companies have turned to automated answering to handle customer service, customers have been left feeling unsatisfied and overlooked with processes that don’t resolve problems or queries. This is where the question of outsourcing comes in; is engaging third parties to provide human customer service the solution?
Customer service is critical to the success and everyday running of your business. From troubleshooting to product enquiries, feedback to complaints, customer support encompasses a range of tasks. But, as your business grows, so do the challenges of tracking, managing and responding to your customer base. The importance of consistently offering a professional customer service cannot be underestimated; when done right it can seriously boost a company’s bottom line and help maintain brand image. But when mismanaged, your customer service can cost you projects, customers and even your reputation.
Outsourced customer service is the process of transferring management of customer-facing communication channels to a third-party service provider like AnswerConnect. Despite an industry-wide push to replace humans with bots and AI, the pandemic has proven how much consumers still value real human interaction. This push for real human engagement can be delivered via the right outsourcing partner. Working with outside contractors – or outsourcing customer service – offers a unique solution. Not only does it allow companies to conduct business more efficiently and effectively, it’s more cost-effective than hiring in-house and helps reduce greenhouse emissions.
Although it may sound like a simple solution, over the years, outsourcing has been negatively associated with lay-offs, diminished corporate responsibility and ambiguous work ethics. However, in certain cases outsourcing is the best option — especially for SMEs looking to grow at scale without the added costs of hiring and training a dedicated customer service team. Today, third-party customer service teams aim to act as an extension of your business, communicating with customers the same way internal employees would.
Outsourcing your customer support can also offer greater flexibility to your business. With your customer support handled out-of-office, you may be able to reconsider your office space size and even location. With fewer people travelling into an office, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and minimise their impact on the planet.
Outsourcing can also provide access to specialist expertise, particularly in new markets. For example, you may be looking to scale your business across different locations. By outsourcing to a company based in these new areas, your customer service agents will be able to speak to your new customers fluently in their chosen language.
Outsourcing also means you don’t need to relocate staff and pressure employees to travel. Working from anywhere reduces emissions caused by commuting. Research from pre-lockdown found passengers covered 328.1 billion miles by motor vehicle – over 25% of these miles were for commuting or business purposes. Not only is this impacting our planet, but it also impacts our mental health. Additional research found that 46% of commuters were more likely to get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. In our drive to be carbon neutral, AnswerConnect plants a tree for every customer and employee, every month. To date AnswerConnect customers have helped us plant 866,594 trees.
Every day, more businesses are discovering that there is a better way to work. By Anywhere we don’t mean ‘remote’; working ‘remotely’ has never been an accurate term for flexible ‘out-of-office’ work. As flexible working becomes a mainstream movement, it’s time we understand what we mean by this.
Working anywhere means more flexibility, more diverse teams and better ideas. When your location is untethered, you can hire the best people, not just the closest to your office. Anywhere means saving on office rental, employee turnover and high operational costs. AnswerConnect provides new business solutions to enable businesses to adopt this new sustainable work model.
This new approach is only a small step. But as we fight to change our working practices and take more responsibility for our impact on the planet, small changes together can create a movement.