When embarking on a virtual call center deployment, customer-facing organizations can refer to a variety of best-practices checklists to ensure success. Any such checklist, however, should and must start with choosing a vendor that offers solutions capable of meeting the organization’s current needs and that are flexible enough to adapt as those needs evolve.
When picking a virtual call center solution, then, a checklist like the one outlined in this article is the first step of many to ensure success. This shouldn’t be viewed as a list of “features,” but instead of “capabilities” and “flexibilities.”
First, the solution picked should be built on plug-and-play, on-demand technology. While installing technology is rarely a literal matter of “plug and play,” it’s now possible to get pretty close to that standard. An evaluation of the organization’s existing systems, and how the new solution will integrate, is in order. Understanding the basics of industry standards doesn’t hurt, either.
While deployment on the organization side should, of course, be easy, it’s also equally important to make sure that the virtual call center application is easy for home agents to use. There is a learning curve associated with becoming adept using any application, no matter its purpose, of course. But a well-designed virtual call center application should seem intuitive for anyone familiar with standard desktop software and Web interfaces.
Once agents are logged in and using the virtual call center system to interact with customers, supervisors will need a centralized, easy way to keep track of what’s going on. Centralized is a key word here; it shouldn’t be necessary to go into several different applications to track different aspects of the call center operation. A careful analysis of any solution’s supervisor tools is vital.
Quality control tools are also a necessity. The goal of any call center, after all, is to provide excellent customer service. The tools available to administrators and supervisors should streamline the process of keeping tabs on operations and ensuring that goals like first call resolution are achieved.
Finally, any virtual call center solution needs to include robust but easy-to-use training tools. Just because the system is easy to use doesn’t mean home agents are exempt from initial and ongoing training. Keeping any call center running smoothly means periodic skills evaluations and refinement. This is especially true since customer service doesn’t stand still and the skills needed to provide proper care change as time goes on.
By sticking to a checklist like the one outlined here, customer-facing organizations can get off on the right foot when picking a virtual call center solution that will work now and continue working in the future.
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Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.