Financial benefits of 'homeshoring' missed by UK contact centres,
affecting competitive edge

Newbury, 14 May 2007: Increased working from home could save the UK contact centre industry up to £5 per employee per hour[1], along with environmental and human resource benefits, according to a new report from Exony.

'Homeshoring' occurs when contact centres equip staff with appropriate communications facilities to be able to work from home rather than one central office. Exony CEO Ian Ashby argues that British-based contact centres are missing out on some significant benefits; recruiting and retaining skilled staff, improved morale, environmental benefits, reduced overheads and increased opportunities for the disadvantaged in society. Currently, there are an estimated 112,000 home-based agents in the US, a figure that is predicted to rise to 330,000 by 2010 (source:IDC).

Despite a contact centre workforce pushing one million in the UK, homeshoring is not as prevalent. Ashby argues that Work Wise Week, which runs from 16-22 May and includes National Work From Home Day on May 18, provides the perfect opportunity for contact centres to investigate and experiment with homeshoring.

"We're way behind the US in our attitude to enabling contact centre workers to operate from home. It's prevalent in other industry sectors, so why not here?" said Ashby. "Combining technologies such as broadband, enabling employees to both handle calls and connect securely with the corporate network, with tools to measure and manage agent and call performance in real-time, allows contact centres to reap the benefits of homeshoring. Breaking down these perception barriers is the first step towards more effective contact centre operations. It is time the UK woke up to the benefits and caught up with the US."

Exony, the leading provider of interaction management software for Virtual Contact Centre (VCC) operations, believes that the barriers to adopting a homeshoring strategy have been overstated and have created a guide to integrating home-based agents into organisations' contact centres.

In its white paper, Exony outlines the core benefits to contact centres of homeshoring:
- Reduced overheads: Employing home-based workers reduces typical office costs such as space, furniture, heating, lighting and parking. Analysts at Gartner Dataquest estimate that staff costs equate to 70 per cent of contact centre overheads
- Increased staff morale: Attrition is a real issue in the industry, currently running at 22 per cent (source:ContactBabel). This has an exhaustive effect on companies, especially given high training costs
- Improved opportunity: Disabled workers, older people or new parents, who would find commuting difficult or impossible, are now able to work, bringing their skills and experience to benefit customer service
- Green benefits: Reduced commuting and energy costs leads to a lower carbon footprint. Exony estimates that the four million contact centre agents currently working in UK, US and Canada produce more than six million tones of CO² each year [2].

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said: "Businesses in the UK will have no option but to introduce smarter working practices, of which home working is one example, if they are going to be able to recruit and retain the staff they need in the future, and increase productivity and competitiveness to be able to meet the challenges emerging from economies such as India and China.

"Changing working practices and working smarter will not only increase business productivity and competitiveness, but also reduce transport congestion and pollution, improve health, assist disadvantaged groups, and harmonise our work and family commitments."

Exony's white paper, "Virtual Contact Centres and Homeshoring: Driving the Benefits Home", can be downloaded from http://www.exony.com.

-ends-

Notes to editors

[1] Analyst group IDC estimates that US contact centre workers cost US$31 an hour, including overheads and training, compared to just US$21 for home-based workers. The current exchange rate for this US$10 saving is £4.99

[2] Four million workers, assuming a one-way commute of 10 miles in a family car with engine size less than 1.8L

About Exony
Exony is the leading provider of interaction management software for virtualised customer contact operations. Exony Virtualized Interaction ManagerTM (VIM) enables operators of virtual contact centres to measure customer interaction experience, efficiency and effectiveness and manage available resources through making immediate tactical or planned strategic changes.

Built on Exony's experience and understanding of virtualised customer interaction, VIM incorporates four modules - Reporting and Analytics, Resource Management, Connect and Service Management, all within the proven Exony Virtualization Framework for security, partitioning and user interaction.

Exony Virtualized Interaction Manager empowers virtualised customer contact operations for organisations across Europe and North America including Affiniti, Alliance & Leicester, BT, Cable & Wireless, France Telecom, HBOS, HSBC, La Poste, Microsoft, National Australia Group, Nectar, Transport for London, UK Home Office, Verizon, Virgin Trains, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

For more information please contact:

PR Contacts
Sam Grace/ Chris Lee
Rainier PR
+44 (0)20 7494 6570
exony@rainierpr.co.uk

Michael Hardware
Work Wise UK
+44 (0)20 7939 7939
meh@chelgate.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 14th May 2007