In this episode Eric and Jake talk more about working from home and what its future looks like. How both the Contact Center outsourcers and the agents are able to adapt and innovate in this kind of work system.
Eric: Welcome to the contact center cactus chat podcast. I’m your host Eric Mulvin coming to you from sunny Phoenix, Arizona.
Jake: And I’m your co-host Jake Cayang from Dumaguete City, Philippines.
Eric: I’m a serial enterpreneur, started my business 10yrs ago and 6 LLC’s later, I started Pac Biz Contact Center Outsourcing in 2015, today we have over 200 employees and growing.
Jake: And I’m the Operations Manager here in Pac Biz and I have been working with Eric since 2014 and I grew as the company grew.
Eric: So whether you’re looking to outsource for the first time, whether you manage a Contact Center or you’re just looking to improve your customer experience, we’ll be covering topics for you.
Jake: So Business Managers, Operations Managers, Business Owners, this is for you so make sure to subscribe.
Eric: Alright, welcome back. And today is episode five. And we’re talking about work from home. And what that’s like in the contact center space these days.
Jake: Yes. And this episode is different because Eric is here in the Philippines recording
Eric: I am
Jake: with the podcast, with us in this episode, so
Eric: yeah, it’s awesome. It’s awesome to be here live and in person with Jake. And because I haven’t been here in two and a half years, the last time I was here the lockdowns were just starting. I was here with my wife and two young kids and we had to escape back to the US before we would have been stuck here for several months. So that would have been been interesting, but that was also the change what started probably one of the biggest changes in the contact center space and some very long time maybe since the invention of the internet
Jake: Yeah, Nobody was was nobody tried to test if work from home would work on BPOS but we were forced to do it.
Eric: Yeah, we were. We had no choice. So you know, it’s now 2022 Fast forward, it’s two and a half years later. And uh you know work from home is here. But what are you seeing in the Philippines as far as the contact centers and how are they handling work from home today?
Jake: I think it’s uh, it’s different on different industries, like the health care, they’re very careful with the data and all like they cannot just be sending people working from home without any without anything that protects it. But for other accounts like uhm taxi accounts, like we just take calls for a minute and just get the information and you know, and put it on so that dispatchers would see where to pick up and drop off and all this stuff. And uhm that’s, I mean, the restrictions are not really that high with with with healthcare that works for those BPO companies.
Eric: So it really depends on the type of accounts. Are you seeing more calls, are most of the contact centers here In the Philippines, are they still work from home or are they having their employees starting to come back?
Jake: Uhm, Some are doing it but I don’t really, uh here in the City, I would say that only few are doing it. Not. Not, uh, not, not too many because of the kind of industry that they’re supporting.
Eric: Mmhmm, So they’re having to come into the office you’re saying?
Jake: Mmhmm, yes. So uhm, you know how does Pac Biz handle the work from home?
Eric: yeah, well Pac Biz , you know, we made the decision early on like when I was back here uh, when the start of COVID, We decided we’re going to try to make work from home a permanent thing, especially once we saw the success of it and we saw that people were successfully taking calls like, I believe back in like early 2021, we even had 100% of our call center agents working from home. And I believe today it’s a bit closer to 80%. But still a significant amount of the staff working from home and it’s been it’s been really fascinating because I haven’t been back here in two and a half years. So it’s my first time back in a long time. So I’m seeing some new faces, but I’m seeing a lot of familiar faces, and they haven’t been to the office either. They’re like excited to be here. They’re seeing their friends, they’re like Oh, I haven’t seen this. You know, there’s some things that they haven’t seen in the office yet. So it’s really interesting that you know, like, even though I haven’t been here, they haven’t really been here either. It’s pretty funny.
Jake: yeah, I can imagine like the last time you were here was also the last time I saw some of the people that I saw yesterday.
Jake: Yeah, that’s that’s that’s how long it was
Eric: And so imagine for two and a half years. We haven’t seen some of our own staff, and we’ve been, they’ve been an employee of the company and we’ve been able to make that work which is incredible. So even today, we still have a significant amount and part of that decision to invest into work from home was investing in equipment for the staff. We made sure that they had backup Internet if there’s internet issues, otherwise they have to come work at the office, or backup power, which is a huge thing. And it was actually some really innovative stuff that I’m excited that we’ve been working on solar panelled, uh solar powered backup generators, which can run up to 12 hours and It can actually power other devices in their house.
Jake: And also with the selecting of the of the hiring process. I mean selecting the right people because not all people can work and not be uh, you know, distracted by other stuff. And while working from home. So it takes you know something to do that. And uhm yeah, we need to be selective with those people as well.
Eric: Right? Because there’s certain personalities and kinds of people, they need a lot of, they need a lot of hand holding. That’s just who they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re happy to provide that support because they’re still great agents, and there’s some that they don’t, they don’t need anything. They’re like, tell me, give me my instructions and I’m good, I’ll run with that.
Eric: So, well uh, So for the clients, you know, you get to you get an opportunity to talk to the clients all the time. Uhm, what is their perspective then on work from home?
Jake: Uhm, Yeah, well, there’s, there’s this one client that I talk before that he really likes like, in his office, onshore, he’s embracing the work from home scheme because of the, you know, you can just call them to cover shifts like in less than five minutes they can just be already there logging in and, you know, ready to cover for absences.
And uhm, yeah, I think they also feel the less missed shifts on the on the call center companies.
Their, their employees are just there at home, uhm probably doing something but they’re at home and if they had been called to help cover shifts and they’re they’re just there available because you know, they they’re after for you know, over times.
Jake: And, those things. And uhm, yeah uh, while you’re here, you recently, uh, uh, you were able to talk to the agents, and uhm how are they uh, what feedback did you get from them about working from home?
Eric: Yeah, the feedback was incredible, uh, and way, uh you know, they’re way more passionate about this topic than I thought they would be. Uh because I know everyone loves working from home, of course, but uh this is just the specific things that I got to hear. So, for example, being able to not have to get ready in the morning. And you know, like I know you have to spend so much time getting your hair ready.
Eric: And getting dressed. You know, I don’t know, I can’t tell you how many zoom calls I’ve done in uh pajamas and I put on a nice polo and people don’t realize that I’m working from home.
Jake: Imagine eliminating the travel time, the time that you prepare, going to the office, you know selecting the dress that you wanted to wear to look good. Uhm, you know, just eliminate the time you spent with that well when you’re working from home and it shortens everything and you get to, to uh lengthen the time that you spend with your family while we’re doing your job.
Eric: Yeah, and, at our call center here in Pac Biz, uh, you know family is our number one core value. And so allowing the staff to be able to spend more time with family and to be able to make sure that they’re, they’re able to not have to be away from home and their kids so long. It’s It’s really incredible and so it’s, and even the little things like, being able to eat whenever they want. Because if they’re working in the office and on the production floor, they can’t
Jake: Yeah, but of course they have to be very careful with the equipment’s.
Eric: Yes, yeah, they keep taking care of the equipment so. Alright, so well, that gives you guys an idea of what work from home has been like in Pac Biz and in the Philippines. And in our next episode, Episode 6, we’re going to be talking about the future of work from home and what does that look like? what trends are we seeing out there? so thanks for listening and I will see you next week.