It’s not easy being green, but it is clear that businesses have to be serious about the environment. Recent revelations around the acute need to improve all aspects of commercial activity cannot be lost on the contact center space, and it is time for outsourcers to step up. Not only is this green imperative due to a moral obligation to future generations, but more and more it is being driven by enterprises that are eager to work with providers that are compliant with strong environmental standards. Like anything in life, transitioning toward a more ecologically-friendly way of doing business will require changes for front-office BPO players. However, the alternative of doing nothing is both commercially and environmentally unsustainable.
The recently-published IPCC Climate Change Report made for some very uncomfortable reading, and its contents should not be ignored by any party. With dire warnings issued unless more progress is made on the environmental file, every person and organization clearly has a role to play in making changes to consumption. The contact center outsourcing community needs to embrace this as an opportunity, and find ways to help limit further environmental degradation.
To be fair, there are a number of players that have been pro-active across the front-office BPO spectrum. Some excellent examples include Teleperformance, which has pioneered sustainable contact center delivery with its Citizen of the Planet initiative, as well as the Altia Smart City BPO business parks in Central America that have LEED certification at the heart of their construction. Not to be outdone, in the last few weeks OneLink BPO recently organized a team of its agents to plant 1,000 trees in Guatemala City. It is also worth noting that itelbpo recently kicked off a no plastics campaign within its contact centers, providing each employee with a re-usable bottle for beverages. Notwithstanding these examples, as well as the other great work being done by other providers, there is still more that can be realized.
Embracing initiatives that help local communities cut down on traffic is an excellent starting point for environmentally-friendly delivery. In locations where public transport is readily accessible, providing subsidized passes for trains or buses will go far in keeping down the numbers of agents who drive to work. When it comes to new facilities, prioritizing those that have environmentally-friendly certifications for their construction and operation should be top of mind, as should be finding the chance to retro-fit existing spaces that could be improved from a sustainability angle. Obviously, sourcing the most efficient IT systems possible is also a priority. There is also the possibility of moving more workstations to the home-based model, which promises to take significant numbers of agents off the road.
It is imperative to act now. Any contribution that contact center outsourcers can make to broader sustainability efforts is welcomed. From a commercial perspective, it is also clear that enterprises will also look favorably to such efforts. In the 2018 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey, in-house contact center decision-makers stated that being able to offer green contact center delivery was a major advantage that was taken into consideration when sourcing a customer experience service partner. Working with providers that can ensure a strong understanding of sustainable service provision is now an imperative for contact center outsourcers. Finding new and innovative ways of delivering customer experience in the greenest fashion can no longer be considered a luxury, it must be a priority for providers.