BYOD in Call Centers: Innovation or Disaster?

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Bring Your Own Device policies have been a source of debate in businesses around the world since mobile technology first became commercially viable, and especially since phones and tablets have become so multifaceted. 

BYOD in Call Centers: Innovation or Disaster?

The modern era of multitask devices brings this conversation to a new height, with industries in some cases moving to ubiquitous and exclusive tablet PC usage. BYOD becomes tempting to a myriad of businesses, and certainly, there are gains to be had, as ACM Digital Library claims. But do such policies bring more pros or cons to the call center industry, a field where customer privacy and employee morale both play major roles?

Pros of BYOD

Productivity. Having access to personal devices can make life much easier for your employees, especially if you have an abundance of tech-savvy individuals on your staff. BYOD brings flexibility and employee ingenuity to new heights in a way that is quite simply impossible with standardized company equipment.

Modern call centers can benefit from a number of CRM packages and various apps for iPads and other tablet devices - applications which prove most useful when customized and used in an equally familiar, customized device.

Costs. BYOD lets you attain many of the benefits of company-issued technology with a fraction of the costs. You lose the benefits of standardizations and risk a few downsides. However, if you lack the budget for a major tech overhaul but have employees with their own devices, the solution creates itself.

Morale. There are several ways a BYOD policy works to benefit morale. Using a familiar device just 'feels' better to many people. If your workforce is self-motivated and has proper self-control, the 'fun' factor available from personal devices also lends itself to morale boosts.

Being able to relax and read an e-book or play Angry Birds on break can be a benefit, especially in an industry as focused on customer-employee interaction as call centers. Keeping up employee morale can be the single hardest task in running a call center, so anything that helps is worth considering.

Cons of BYOD

Productivity. Personal devices mean problems that your IT guys will never figure out; people manage to screw up their personal machines in ways that are unfathomable. Hours will be lost resolving issues which don't exist, and can't exist, within standard employer-issued systems.

There's also the 'fun' factor. If your workforce lacks self-control and self-motivation, a BYOD policy will lead to people goofing off on the clock. It's impossible to prevent savvy users from finding ways to waste time on their own devices. That often means you risk productivity issues from one angle or another.

Security. Personal devices offer as many avenues of attack as you have unique employee devices. The headache for your IT security team may be too high and the risk not worth the potential gains, especially if you have employees lacking the savvy to safeguard their own devices. Standardized systems offer standardized solutions and a fraction of the risk.

Data Management. Data management is the biggest con to consider as a data center, as Science Direct explains. Your employees deal with sensitive customer data every moment of their work day, and BYOD policies open massive holes in typical data control schemes.

It's trivial to walk away with sensitive information, and it can be difficult to keep track of which devices should and should not have access. You run the risk of a device interacting with your data in an unintended manner and causing disastrous losses.

Overall

The feasibility of a BYOD policy in a call center in many ways depends on your employee base. A self-motivated, tech-savvy population will see gains across the board with little risk. If you have problems with motivation, untrustworthy employees, and IT ignorance, then BYOD may only serve to compound your problems.

MORE ON THE TOPIC: Making BYOD Work For Your Company

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