What is a virtual call centre?

A virtual call centre is a concept whereby call centre agents do not operate from a single location, but are geographically dispersed instead of operating from work stations within their employer’s premises. Typically this scenario works by having all of your call centre agents working from home, or alternatively in smaller groups. This setup doesn’t have any impact on the ability of a customer being able to contact one of your contact centre, as calls will automatically be distributed to the remote locations wherever they may be. Many organisations choose this model for a variety of business benefits, including:

Extended operating hours

Due to the fact that your contact centre agents are able to work remotely, and from a variety of different countries, it is possible to take advantage of time zone differences and offer extended operating hours.

Improvements in staff productivity

It is the ideal situation for many employees to be able to work from home, and without the distractions of a noisy office environment, many staff find that they are much more productive when working from home. This can also lead to a lower turnover of staff that is traditionally seen as a significant issue for a call centre where staff ‘burn out’ very easily.

Reduced requirement for financial investment

As call centre agents are not based in the same location, there is no requirement for leasing any premises. In addition to this, there isn’t any real requirement for a significant investment in equipment for your agents to operate remotely.

Much of the technology that is utilised for call centre agents to work remotely already exists in the home where many of the agents would be based. This would include:

  • Internet connectivity
  • A telephone, though it may be appropriate to provide a VoIP telephone so that calls can be made as well as received by the agent, and this can be billed to the call centre instead of the individual.
  • A computer

The call centre themselves are able to route calls out to the agents using a variety of call management features that are available from service providers. For example, Time of Day routing would allow the call centre to distribute calls to specific agents / teams of agents depending upon the time of day or day of the week. Furthermore, during these times, it is possible to filter these calls even further via an IVR menu, which allows a call centre to distribute calls that are related to specific queries to the agents that are best equipped to deal with the query.

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