Making sense of homeworking: the Sensée approach to servicing the UK’s leading brands
Case study, published 16 November 2015
Since launching in 2004, Sensée has embraced homeworking on an unprecedented scale for the customer service sector.
From drawing board to board room
For Sensée, the idea of a homeworking customer service workforce has gone well beyond a trial or a pilot programme. The company has proved that it works, and works well.
They’ve been quietly building their business, fine-tuning operations, and finding themselves successfully pitching for new business in the boardrooms of some of Britain’s biggest healthcare, financial services and travel operators.
Today, Sensée employs around 700 people nationwide. The company has been in Scotland for the past five years and has over 100 staff in north and central Scotland – a number which is steadily growing.
Customer service first, homeworking second
Sensée founder and CEO Steve Mosser is well aware that prospective new clients don’t seek them out because of their homeworking credentials. Instead, their ability to deliver the client’s needs is what matters. The practicalities and advantages of homeworking come later.
As Steve explains:
“There can be some initial trepidation when they first hear about our approach. But once clients learn more about the maturity of our workforce, their experience and reliability – the physical location becomes an advantage rather than a barrier”.
Big brands such as Argos, Aviva, Eurostar and RAC have already switched on to Sensée’s way of working.
Playing to Scotland’s strength
Scotland already has an established pedigree in providing virtual workforces, with a strong ‘tele-culture’ across a number of industries. When Sensée began their operations here in 2010, HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) worked in partnership with the company to deliver recruitment webinars. These were designed to encourage people in rural communities to apply for homeworking roles.
Scotland’s connectivity, even in many rural areas, is an asset too. One of Sensée’s critical success factors is the performance of broadband connections, so only homeworkers with good broadband connections can work for the company. Sensée reports that homeworkers in Scotland account for “fewer unhappy broadband experiences”.
Finding skilled people
The challenge for many industries is in finding the right people. Sensée’s advantage over office-based employers is that it’s not restricted by geography. Sensée attracts experienced people keen to avoid the daily commute, or who want to take on some part-time work they can manage around family commitments. This opens the door for people in rural communities.
The result: Sensée attracts a more mature worker, often people with more experience but little desire to go back to the ‘younger’ environment of a large call centre.
The company is also more likely to employ people with a disability, which could otherwise limit their ability to travel to a place of work on a daily basis. In fact, around 20 per cent of the Sensée workforce has some form of disability, a statistic that reinforces the company’s inclusive culture.
As Sensée sees its business grow, it needs to recruit more quality people, and sees Scotland as an obvious source. Steve Mosser says:
“We think Scotland is a prime location for development. We’ve found that staff attrition rates are lower, there’s a good work ethic and culture, and plenty people who don’t savour the idea of a 20 mile drive to work”.
The company will be working with Scottish Development International to define the strategy for its next recruitment phase.