For this post, we wanted to start by taking a moment and saying thank you for your readership and your comments! Often we get caught up in the intricacies of our field, focusing our articles on the technical aspects as a result, but we’d like to assure you that we read every comment, and take the time to answer all the questions you might have!
One of the hot topics you wanted us to address is the phenomenon of virtual call centers with work-at-home interviewers. You wanted to know if it’s worth it, if it generates cost savings, if the technology is mature, and how it affects human resources and quality assurance.
There’s no denying it, virtual call centers are not only a growing trend, they’re a reality that’s here to stay! It makes perfect sense when you think about it, both from the employee and the managerial point of view.
Why Use a Virtual Call Center?
There are many reasons why a company would create and take advantage of a virtual call center, but first and foremost on every manager’s mind is the potential reduction in overhead costs offered by this approach because it requires no physical space since the interviewers are working from home.
Let’s also keep in mind that with a virtual call center, you can hire employees as needed from ANY geographical region! With a virtual call center you can easily optimize your staff by language, accents, proximity to project, proximity to end clients, etc., as well as having extra manpower always ready on staff to manage work overflow. This type of hiring flexibility allows you to expand when needed without incurring the costs of a brick and mortar expansion. It can also help your recruiting efforts and reduce turnover if seen as a real advantage by your employee.
Perceived Challenges Managing Remote Interviewers
There are five major concerns that all call center managers share and address: productivity, quality, motivation, technology, and deployment. These five remain constant whether we’re speaking of a virtual call center or a traditional call center.
That being said, let us explain how the Voxco Command Center, with its integrated proprietary telephony system, Pronto, helps address these issues in a virtual call center context.
Productivity is assured through automated dialing with a combination of user defined dialing parameters. Dialing can be fully automated in all modes (Preview, Power, and Predictive), allowing for unparalleled control over interviewer work pace.
Quality assurance is done using intuitive real-time visual and audio monitoring and recording functions. What this means, is that managers, supervisors, and QA staff, are aware of everything that is going on at all times, in real-time, and can intervene and act upon this data in any way they see fit, at any point in the project.
Additionally, the solution is easy to deploy and maintain from an IT perspective. In fact, all it takes is Internet access. There’s no software for the remote interviewer to download, there are no files for the interviewer to send or receive, everything in one place, secure, and always up to date.
The last challenge, but not the least, is employee motivation: the gremlin of the virtual call center idea. Truth is, in the call center world, this human aspect is the most important, difficult to control, and hard to implement.
Properly training and keeping employees aligned with the company vision and project requirements forces managers to implement various processes and communication protocols.
Technology can do very little when it comes to managing this human aspect. It can offer an intuitive and friendly graphic user interface, it can provide us with helpful and flexible short messaging capabilities to deploy during work shifts; however, the type of communication needed to motivate employees goes beyond instant messaging, and has more to do with HR than IT. A failure to achieve on the above issue will inevitably result in high employee turnover, lack of productivity, and poor work quality, no matter the software being employed.
Command Center is currently being used to manage hundreds of call centers worldwide, combining over 20,000 workstations, 7,500 of which use our Pronto Telephony System.
Voxco Command Center: a call center management solution focused on productivity, quality monitoring, and technological flexibility.
- Web based CATI data collection interface (no installation/easy to deploy and maintain)
- User definable access rights and security
- Audio and visual monitoring and recording for quality control purposes
- Built-in messaging to interviewers
- Integrated automated-dialing telephony layer (all interviewers connected to central CATI system)
- VoIP telephony connectivity efficiency (standard telephony connectivity using regular phone lines also available when bandwidth may not be sufficient for VoIP)
- All data collected is stored on a central database. Nothing resides on the workstations of the home interviewers
Again, thank you all for your readership and comments, you always manage to surprise and impress us! We hope that this article answered some of the questions you had about virtual call centers. For more information on Command Center or Pronto solutions, visit our website or contact us.
Posted by Eric Perreault