You’ve become familiar with the call center. You know what a contact center is, and you know it evolved from the call center. Now you’re hearing about the “virtual” contact center, and you need to know what it is, what it does, and why you need one.
The virtual contact center is just the latest evolution of the call center. Here’s what you need to know.
In the past, call centers operated out of buildings often owned by the company, or at least rented by the firm. Sometimes, the call center operated in the same building as the rest of the company. More recently, call centers have been located in different places. Multi-center strategies have dispersed customer service reps from one single location, moving instead to a model that incorporates multiple locations.
The virtual center goes one step further: Reps may not even work in one centralized location. Instead, they can be virtually anywhere in the world, working in any building or location.
How Does It Work?
The “virtual” contact center is so called because the center itself exists not as a physical location, but as a “center” online, often in the cloud. Reps use particular technology and software, and they log in to the center from their current locations. The tech itself is often portable as well.
Why It Works
There are numerous benefits to the virtual contact center model. First and foremost, it helps businesses employ a follow-the-sun strategy. Reps can work anywhere in the world, giving you coverage in every time zone and geographic location. Businesses can employ truly 24/7 customer service.
Next, this model of the future allows the ultimate in flexibility, for both reps and firms. Need more coverage in a particular area? Hire more reps. Since there’s no need to commute, all reps need to do is ensure they’re meeting the technological requirements; they don’t need to move to the city or another province or state in order to get a job. Very often, the job also allows a good degree of flexibility in the hours they work as well. It’s win-win for the firm and the rep!
Even More Advantage
Businesses can cut down on their overhead because they no longer need to house call centers in office buildings—and they don’t need to maintain multiple locations. It can even save on some of the infrastructure costs associated with call centers.
Better yet? It allows you to provide even better service for your customers. As mentioned, the virtual contact center model provides the ultimate flexibility for companies. If more coverage is needed for a particular time zone or region, simply hire more reps. Going through a busy period or a growth spurt? Hire more reps. Things slowing down a little? You can cut back on the number of reps or their hours with relatively little trouble.
Clearly, the name of the game with any contact center improvement is better customer service, and the move to a virtual center delivers that in spades. Having more reps scattered through different geographic regions and time zones provides better coverage for your customer service, and it often ensures you have reps speaking the native language as well. The reduction in infrastructure overhead also means your budget goes further.
The virtual contact center is the next logical step in delivering truly superior customer service.