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The emergence of the virtual call center: Top 10 headlines

A virtual call center can be beneficial for organizations looking to cut costs, improve employee retention and boost customer satisfaction, some experts say. With technology like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) readily available, starting a virtual call center is practical for businesses of any size. Get up to date on the latest news and information surrounding virtual call centers and virtual call center technology with these top headlines.

A virtual call center can be beneficial for organizations looking to cut costs, improve employee retention and boost customer satisfaction, some experts say. With technology like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) readily available, starting a virtual call center is practical for businesses of any size. Get up to date on the latest news and information surrounding virtual call centers and virtual call center technology with these top headlines.

 

 

  The top virtual call center headlines  

 

1. Going green with at-home call center agents: As gas prices hit $4 a gallon this year, many organizations discovered another benefit to going "virtual" and using remote call center agents: environmental conservation. Some companies are allowing call center employees to work remotely at least one day per week to give them some relief from high gas prices.

2. IP-based system key for growing call center: The need for customization and a rapidly expanding at-home agent network led one infomercial company to select an Internet Protocol (IP)-based call center system. The new system lets call center managers track and manage remote call center agents and call quality.

3. Virtual call center helps Fetch keep tails wagging: One fast-growing pet services organization found that adopting a hosted PBX system was one key to success. The virtual call center solution's flexibility and cost-effective price were the main selling points, but user adoption and call routing errors proved to be a challenge.

4. Tips for starting a home-based call center: According to call center expert Donna Fluss, the easiest part of starting a home-based call center is selecting and purchasing the call center infrastructure. Fluss recommends using an IP-based system which, in her opinion, provides an easy way to connect with remote call center agents.

5. Virtual call centers driving VoIP adoption: According to research by the Aberdeen Group, adopting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption is critical for successful implementation of a virtual call center. VoIP technology can help keep the virtual call center cost-effective and it often improves customer satisfaction by allowing customer calls to be routed to the correct agent as quickly as possible.

6. Pizza Pizza serves up call center innovation: Inundated with calls, a popular Canadian pizza delivery chain turned to VoIP and designed a virtual call center that allows remote call center agents to take orders from anywhere in the world.

7. Making the  virtual call center a reality: Moving to a virtual call center environment is no easy task -- companies need to carefully prepare for the transition. According to Fluss, failure to properly adjust management practices when going virtual can lead to problems that cause companies to bring their call center operations back in house. And adopting a virtual call center isn't without risks – organizations must consider security and training before going virtual.

8. Calculating ROI for VoIP in the call center: When calculating the ROI of a VoIP implementation in the call center, it's important to understand the potential benefits, costs and risks associated with VoIP. CRM ROI expert Tom Pisello lists the various benefits and explains some risks that might increase costs or negate benefits in this tip.

9. For contact centers, going virtual is a reality: Call center agent turnover is a major issue for many organizations, but some companies have found that after deploying a virtual call center their call center churn rates improved dramatically. As experts point out, the virtual call center model can also expand the talent pool by allowing organizations to attract at-home mothers, college students and people from different areas of the country.

10. Does Second Life mean a new world for CRM?: IBM's creation of a sales center within the virtual reality community Second Life led the way for companies looking to take customer service virtual. However, the emergence of businesses in virtual worlds could mean changes for CRM.

 


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This was last published in September 2008

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