QATC Survey Results

This article details the results of the most recent QATC quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics.  Over 200 contact center professionals representing a wide variety of operations provided insight regarding the changes in their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participant Profile

The largest number of participants is from call center operations with more than 500 agents.  However, the balance is widely dispersed across all ranges. This mix of respondents provides a broad spectrum of call center sizes.  The industries represented are also diverse with the largest percentages within the telecommunications, financial, travel, and healthcare sectors.

Biggest Initial Challenge for Work at Home

The biggest challenges reported to getting staff up and running at home were technical.  Securing a stable internet connection was difficult for about one-third of the respondents (34%) while securing the needed IT equipment was reported by 28%.  Limited IT support and security challenges were also widely experienced.

Prior to Pandemic

Respondents were asked what percentage of their staff was working from home prior to the pandemic.  More than half (56%) indicated that it was less than 25% of the staff with another 15% choosing “other” which may indicate they had no staff at home.  Only 7% had between 75 – 100% of their staff at home prior to the crisis.

During Pandemic

Respondents were asked what percentage of their staff was working from home during the crisis.  Almost three-quarters indicated that between 91 – 100% of their staff was working from home. Only 7% indicated that they had 60% or less of their staff working at home.  This was a dramatic shift in a short timeframe driven by the necessity to protect the staff and comply with government regulations.

Impact on Metrics

Survey participants were asked if they experienced an impact on their metrics during the crisis.  Approximately one-third (32%) indicated that they had no impact.  About one-quarter (26%) experienced an increase in the length of the contacts (AHT) with only 3% experiencing a decrease in AHT.  For 18%, Average Speed of Answer (ASA) increased, or service level (SL) decreased.  But 7% experienced an improvement in ASA or SL.  These changes are likely a result of changed customer behaviors as well as agent performance shifts.

Volume Impact

Respondents were asked what the impact had been on their contact volumes.  The responses are split with slightly over half (54%) indicating that they had a decrease in overall volume while 40% reported an increase. Only 6% reported no impact on volume.

Impact on Agent Productivity and KPIs

When respondents were asked if they experienced an improvement in agent productivity metrics and KPIs, 46% indicated that they did not see an improvement, but 32% reported that they did see improvements.  Almost one-quarter (22%) indicated that they do not know if there was an improvement.

Target for New Normal

Respondents were asked what their target is for the percentage of agents that will work at home under the “new normal” conditions when the pandemic is over.  One-third (32%) indicated that between 75 – 100% of agents will work at home with another 28% indicating the goal is between 50 – 74%.  Only 14% reported that their goal is less than 25% of agents working at home.  This is a major shift from the pre-pandemic situation for many centers.

Determining Which Agents Return to Work in the Center

Respondents were asked how they will determine which agents will return to work in the contact center rather than at home and more than one option could be selected.  The most chosen determinants were KPIs and job function, followed closely by agent volunteers.  Tenure was the least chosen option.


This survey provides insight into the shift to agents working at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The move to home working accelerated dramatically as required and the impact on the centers’ metrics has been mixed.  Technical challenges were the most difficult issues to overcome including availability of stable internet connection in the agents’ homes and availability of IT equipment.  (These are similar problems to those faced by families now having children attending school over the internet rather than in person.)  It appears that the shift has been successful in many centers and work from home will be far more common in the future than it has been in the past.  As the crisis passes and working in the center becomes more viable, some companies will bring part or all their workforce back to the office.  This may not be as easy as it appears and planning for staff safety will be required for success.

We hope you will complete the next survey, which will be available online soon.