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Virtual Contact Centers – The Whole Enchilada

Over the last several months, I’ve been sharing a series of posts that flesh out all of the components needed to create an at-home contact center. These insights are based on a webinar presented by our Vice President of Client Management, At Home 2.0 – The Evolution of Virtual Contact Center Delivery.

Virtual contact centers have evolved to a mainstream solution that many companies are incorporating – along with their physical contact centers – to provide specialized customer services or to overcome the limitations of the physical environment. Adoption of a new delivery method can be intimidating, so I wanted to help you see the whole picture of the benefits, value and components of what makes a virtual contact center appealing, cost effective and a strategic business offering.

With customer experience high on the enterprise priority list, a virtual contact center has many applications.

One example includes a client who launched a fantasy football league online program wanted customer service just for that group. With a virtual contact center approach, they were able to go out and recruit fantasy football fanatics that met customer service requirements to put together the team. This is an example of the benefit of distributed recruiting that enables specialized hiring without geographical restrictions.

It’s important to note that a physical environment runs best when you have lots of people doing the same task. Once you start getting into more specialized roles or sub-scale groups – such as the example above, it’s hard to manage them within big-building environment because each group doesn’t get individual attention, but shares a project lead. The At-Home model allows for specialization and makes it much easier to manage and monitor.

But a virtual contact center also can be used to augment a physical contact center by allowing for scalability based on flex time used to cover volume incidents such as for holidays or unexpected events. There is no travel involved and scaling on demand is simplified.

One of the concerns we hear the most is around management. But management is simplified and more comprehensive than you might see in a physical environment. Most virtual agents choose the job for the lifestyle and flexibility. Your managers will actually find more time to engage or intervene, but may not need to as you’re hiring someone who likely has a better set of behaviors and is more mature than employees hired to work on premise.

These staff members want to work at home and are driven to work independently. The average virtual worker has been working longer and has developed a work ethic, which is not often true of an early career-stage employee that may be the norm for the on-site agent. We also think you’ll find less underlying risk and maintenance, better attendance, improved adherence to process and lower attrition.

Another concern is about security and attentiveness to the job. A virtual contact center worker operates in a fairly controlled situation. Sykes specifies the layout and environment they have to have. The employee is provided with the equipment they’ll use to answer calls and access customer information. The telecommunications system routes the appropriate calls to them. Control is in the constraints your organization creates. It’s actually much simpler than you may think.

Take a look at this series of posts to gain an overall flavor and understanding for what a virtual contact center can bring to your organization. I look forward to your observations, comments and questions.

Outsourced Contact Centers Are Defined by People…Not Location
Preparing Customer Care to Meet Customer Convenience
Distributed Recruiting Addresses Sourcing Challenges for the Virtual Contact Center
Remote Management in Virtual Call Centers
Securing the Virtual Contact Center
Virtual Call Centers Pay Off with Flexibility
Training Virtual Contact Center Agents–No Classroom Required