Donna Fluss, president, DMG Consulting is one of the most common-sense, practical, and passionate contact center experts that I've met and have interacted with in my 14 years covering and working in this space.
In that same vein she has come out in her latest newsletter with this advice on going green for contact centers--but applicable to most other organizations. Here it is, in her words:
"Over the last two years I've seen hundreds of articles about 'going green.' I've been invited to more "green conferences" than I can count, and been asked to suggest 'green KPIs.' Saving the planet by reducing waste and pollution is a great goal, but what does "going green" really mean for contact centers and how much of a difference will it make?
"Fads come and go, but some have real value, and 'going green"'is one of them, particularly if you think of it as eliminating waste. Real 'greening' benefits the planet as well as the contact center and enterprise. So, here are a few practical suggestions for applying this concept to your contact center:
1. Stop printing unnecessary reports
This will reduce the amount of paper consumed. Curtailing the number of reports used by the contact center is a realistic goal, as it's likely that at least 50 percent are either redundant or not used at all.
2. Turn off PCs and supervisory terminals that are not being used
Agents and supervisors often leave their PCs on so that they will not have to waste time waiting for their PCs to boot up at the beginning of their shift. This is understandable, as agents are not paid extra for coming in a few minutes early. But if the responsibility is shared and everyone takes a turn coming in early once a month to boot up the computers, you'll save a lot of electricity with no incremental cost.
3. Make Starbucks or some other good coffee available inside of or close to your contact center
Twenty years ago, many enterprises made coffee available to their staff in a cart that was brought up to each floor so that the employees did not have to waste time (and energy) going to the cafeteria. Over time, coffee carts were eliminated to cut costs, and employees either had to purchase their own coffee maker or travel somewhere - inside or outside of the building - in search of their desired beverage. DMG suggests that enterprises will save time, money and energy and improve agent adherence by restoring the coffee cart concept.
4. Regulate the temperature in the contact center
It's often hard to regulate the temperature in a large work environment. When it's cold, agents either requisition or bring in heaters; when it's hot, people use fans. It will cost your company less money and use less energy if the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems are properly regulated. It will also reduce the number of employee complaints submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
5. Build contact centers with windows and natural light
I've been told many times that it's not ideal to have windows in contact centers, yet I keep hearing from agents how much they like windows. Natural light reduces the electricity burden for lighting. (Sun glare can be controlled with blinds.) Sunlight has also been proven to make people happier and improve their disposition. This recommendation will save money, improve agent satisfaction, reduce agent churn, and improve the customer experience.
6. Use work-at-home agents
Moving a percentage of your agents to work-at-home positions will reduce the use of gasoline and the production of greenhouse gasses. It can also increase agent satisfaction and can reduce staff salary expenses.
"These ideas are all relatively easy to implement and will make your contact center 'greener.' What's great about the 'green movement' is that we can help save the planet, one contact center at a time, while simultaneously reducing costs, improving agent satisfaction and, therefore, the customer experience. It's sometimes hard to resist making fun of fads, but the push to "go green" is worth the commitment.
"I welcome all readers to send me ideas for making contact centers 'greener.' My plan is to collect and share these ideas with you in future newsletters and columns. Please submit suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.