So you have decided to create a virtual contact center.... As mentioned in the previous post, like any project there are several areas you need to tackle: Staffing, Training, Mangement and Technology. Let's take a look at the technology piece first.
Organizations setting up virtual contact centers will select infrastructure technologies based on which of two alternatives they choose for the relationship between the contact center and its virtual agents. The alternatives are:
· Agents work as remote extensions of an existing contact center
· Agents work in a separate, stand-alone contact center
Remote extensions. If your virtual agents will work as remote extensions of your current contact center, you can simply add them to your Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). They’ll answer calls using the same technology, be captured in the same reports, and be viewed in the same manner as on-site agents. The only difference is that the distance separating agents may be 500 miles rather than two feet across a cubical wall.
Stand-alone contact center. If your virtual agents will work in a separate, stand-alone contact center, you can choose between two technology configurations based on your ability and desire to share agents among contact centers. The first configuration is similar to that of a self-contained physical contact center. The agents in your virtual facility answer calls as usual. If the volume of calls exceeds the forecast for that center, either callers wait in queue or calls go unanswered.
In the second configuration, the virtual contact center functions as an integrated component in a network of contact centers, much as the separate contact centers in a traditional multi-site bricks-and-mortar system appear to operate as one. If the volume of calls exceeds the forecast for any center, the system distributes calls to whichever contact center, on-site or virtual, has agents available to take them.
The CRM/data configurations parallel the voice configurations, with the caller’s voice and data elements integrated seamlessly on the agent’s desktop.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will find a broad array of technologies for implementing your decision. All possess extraordinary functional, reporting, and monitoring capabilities to provide a uniform, transparent, efficient, and cost-effective virtual contact center environment for responding to your callers’ needs and reaching your business goals.
In our next blog we'll start to dig into the staffing and training components. Remember:
If it isn’t virtual,
It isn’t real…