Total Disgrace in the Work of Call Centres: How to Protect a Company from Irresponsible Employees
Think of all the ways employees can commit time theft — time clock theft, long lunch breaks, internet usage, sleeping at work, unauthorised people working on the system, using mobile phones, etc. You'd realise that all these time theft approaches can raise their ugly heads in a call centre setting. Such is the nature of this work that it becomes exceptionally difficult to keep irresponsibility at bay.
In 2021, an analysis claimed that 20% of every dollar 20% of every dollar earned by US companies was being lost to employee time theft. Last year, a firefighter was arrested, for he had manipulated time cards into getting USD 1,265.04 for the time that he didn't actually work.
In call centres, the problem is much magnified, as the work environment is often frenetic and highly competitive. Employee productivity is critical to success, and any time they waste is analogous to money lost. Not to mention the reputational damage done to the brand. The fact that call centres operate 24/7, only magnifies the need for efficient time management.
Why Do Such Problems Transpire in Call Centres?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how call centres can alleviate the problem of time theft, irresponsibility, etc., it would be pertinent to understand the root causes of such problems.
Hybrid and Remote Setups
Many call centres have come to use hybrid and remote work setups, which essentially means that employees could be working from a different location (a different time zone altogether) from the one where the customer support operation is based. Now, this essentially means that several employees could be working from their homes and on different shifts in different parts of the world.
Such a model bodes well for companies because it lowers the costs of support. However, it also makes it difficult to maintain a tight schedule and ensure that employees are on the requisite task at all times. Why? Because there are distractions, like family and friends, and the temptation to slack off is greater.
Employees can tamper time cards to cover up excess breaks taken
They can be working on other projects or assignments
They can ask their relatives to be working for them on the computer so as to avoid detection
They can sleep in or goof off while on shift
They could be on social media websites like Facebook.
All in all, remote setups make it difficult to determine whether employees are slacking. A recent study outlines that working from home can lower productivity by 10-20%.
Let's say an employee is on an 8-hour shift, 5 days a week. 20% productivity loss will translate into 32 hours lost across the month if we're strictly considering it in terms of hours (although a more accurate estimate would consider other influencing factors). So, that's almost 4 days wasted from a 20-day work month. Imagine the impact on the business's bottom line.
Inadequate Technological Resources
A lot of call centres use our tool for a multitude of applications (discussed in the following section). One thing that we have come to notice based on our experience in the industry is that the call centre ecosystem is rife with technological inadequacies. For example, before adopting CleverControl, a lot of call centres used standard monitoring tools for conversation recording and then feeding the recording to supervisors for evaluating the same.
Such standard tools are not only prohibitively expensive but also have severe limitations with respect to fine-tuning. They're limited to the recording capabilities and can't chart out employee productivity. Plus, they entail a lot of manual work that's not only tedious but also time-consuming.
So, how did such technological inadequacies come into play? Well, call centres normally run on shoestring budgets when compared to other departments of a company. As a result, they are often starved of the necessary technological resources they need to be efficient and productive.
But this needs to change, and quickly.
Why Should the Situation Change Quickly?
In a remote setting, the number of endpoints that a call centre needs to keep track of is much more than when it is physically based. It becomes a daunting task in terms of managing, configuring, and improving on the technology. There's a security angle here too.
A lot of endpoint devices mean an extensive threat surface, which makes it a juicy target for cybercriminals. What's more is that call centres run 24/7, making them susceptible to brute-force attacks. The problem compounds when you consider that employees can be irresponsible in keeping the information secure. An analysis suggests that 60% of data breaches transpire due to insider threats.
Often, employees also have people who are not supposed to be engaged in the call centre, sitting at their desks and emulating their work. This jeopardises sensitive information and is a security risk. Besides, how can companies ensure that the data theft was an unauthorised act and not a disgruntled employee looking to make a big score? Maybe they're looking to sell the information to competitors?
Indeed, the call centre industry is facing a serious problem, and it's time that companies start taking notice of it.
How Can Companies Combat Irresponsibility in Call Centres?
The first step is to empower employees by providing them with relevant training. After all, knowledge is power. Training should have a dual purpose: To help employees take work more seriously and to position them better for being productive.
Secondly, the company needs a more robust monitoring system. This is where CleverControl's prowess comes into play. We understand that call centres need to be proactive in monitoring employee activities and hold them accountable for their performance. That's why CleverControl has taken the guesswork out of monitoring employees' performances with our video and audio control capabilities.
To better elucidate, let's look at the following cases where call centres used CleverControl to monitor their employees:
Case 1: Remote Employees Asking Relatives to Help with Work
As mentioned above, remote setups are prone to distractions. This increases the chances of employees slacking and, in turn, asking someone else to work in place of them.
In one such case, a call centre that uses the CleverControl Face Recognition feature had identified that some people in the monitoring logs were not registered employees. This should not have happened, considering that these external individuals now had unauthorised access to critical company data.
Result? The company had a chat with the affected employees and learned that they had been asking their relatives to work for them on the computer. The relatives would either be on a company laptop or use one of the remote employees' mobile devices. It was all done to dodge the scrutiny of supervisors. However, the employee wasn't fired and was instead counselled to prevent any such future occurring.
Case 2: Employees Were Using Two Monitors
A company used CleverControl to monitor 30 computers across three offices. Some of the employees had access to two computers, and there was previously no visibility into both the monitors being used because no program had full control over the two screens. However, CleverControl did provide the option to take screenshots of the active window and capture logs from both screens.
The company leveraged CleverControl's Live-viewing capabilities to see that some employees while answering calls on the second monitor, forwarded information about the client to a competitor company, for which they were promised a monetary reward. This was a concrete example of employees trying to sneakily pass along confidential information.
Thanks to timely action, the company was able to weed out the culprits and save thousands of dollars. The company's CEO said, "I am very impressed by the way this software is able to streamline our monitoring process. The fact that it has full control over the two monitors and can capture logs from both screens is helping us track things more accurately."
In an industry where it's very important to be efficient, call centres are at risk of being victimised by data theft. To put it frankly, crucial information is at stake. And for this reason, companies have to be more proactive, or they'll remain in the dark about their operations.
This can be prevented by empowering employees with relevant training and monitoring them closely. However, there is a limit to the number of employees that one can monitor when using traditional means.
At CleverControl, we have an answer for limited eyeballs: video and audio control. With the ability to remotely monitor employees' activities, companies can now have a better idea of what's going on. That way, they can take the right action before it's too late. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.