Virtual Call Centers and the Future of Call Center Work
The Future of Call Center Work
As companies continue to adjust to social distancing protocols, the future of call center work is set to be virtual in order to facilitate safety while maintaining productivity. For many businesses, 2020 was an incredibly tumultuous year, with call centers being one of the most drastically affected. Many contact centers have seen an increase in call volume of around 20%1 since mid-February of last year, typifying why enterprise contact center solutions have never been more important.
Shifting an entire workforce from an on-site facility to a remote virtual setup is no small feat, requiring reliable and robust cloud software to keep operations running smoothly from a variety of locations. From managing employee productivity to optimizing customer service, it's vital your call center software is up to scratch. Customer care is a primary concern in a socially distanced business, with customers demanding an omnichannel system2 of communication to get in touch with companies.
Managing workers' needs in this scenario takes a well-structured plan, efficient management and appropriate tools and software. Without in-house managers to oversee employee productivity, there's a risk that service levels may deteriorate. By optimizing call center management software, your center will be better able to adapt to the changing face of the industry with a productive and focused team now and into the future.
What is a Virtual Call Center?
You may think dealing with employees from afar raises a host of issues for your virtual call center3 , but there are actually several advantages. A virtual call center gives you the ability to hire the appropriate personnel, regardless of their location. In fact, hiring agents from multiple time zones allows you to provide around-the-clock service with reduced overhead and maintenance costs. However, it’s important to note transitioning employees to a work-from-home scenario requires data migration and keeping track of schedules and productivity. It also requires bolstering your team's motivation4, which can be a challenge in a remote setting. A collaborative effort is still vital to keep everyone's focus aligned. Utilizing efficient call center management software5 is a vital tool for ensuring all these points are taken care of.
Another factor to consider when implementing virtual call center is the significant advantage in terms of time and cost to get your contact center up and running. Cloud deployment takes minutes to get up and running, compared to the days or weeks it takes for a hardware-based solution.
How Call Center Management Software Can Assist with Data Migration
The productivity of a virtual cloud call center is only as good as its call center software. By employing call center solutions that are flexible and adaptable to your organization, you can track statistical data and metrics to motivate and drive your employees' performance.
With our flexible enterprise cloud contact center6 solution, migrating your existing data is a smooth and easy process. Adaptive to your call center's varied needs, it's also possible to have a hybrid of your current tools in tandem with our best-of-breed applications to create an enterprise contact center solution that's tailored to your needs. Offering real-time and historical reporting, a personalized agent UX and APIs to support CRM systems, this cloud-neutral platform is focused on workforce optimization now and as your business scales.
Managing Schedules in a Virtual Cloud Contact Center Workforce
Having the right people in the right place is imperative in a virtually run call center, and as call volumes ebb and flow, deploying skilled staff is a must. Alvaria’s workforce management software7 accurately forecasts customer interaction levels, including email, voice, social media and multi-session chat, allowing you to manage staff levels from a distance.
With 54% of office workers8 longing for more flexibility in their job, having your team work from home provides your agents with a flexible work schedule they can control. Agents can enjoy flexible scheduling options and mobile access to fulfill customer's needs, while your management team can use the real-time intraday-tracking feature to keep an eye on agent schedule adherence.
Using Gamification to Support and Motivate Your Virtual Agents
Without the in-person support of managers and coworkers, it's understandable that agent motivation can wane when working from home. Transforming repetitive work tasks into fun and friendly competitions can help motivate and bolster agents to perform optimally in a remote setting. When it comes to boosting drive and competency, studies have found9 that gamification makes 83% of employees feel more motivated and is helpful in reducing absenteeism by up to 41%.
Using gamification10 is an effective way to create social, online challenges that engage your employees and ramps up productivity. Within our workforce management software11, you can create targeted challenges with rules, goals and rewards, with the badging widget serving as a visual showcase of great performance and as a way to highlight leaderboard standings using graphs, KPIs and scorecard widgets.
How Can Cloud Software Help with Tracking Employee Performance and Aligning Goals?
One of a manager's goals is to improve employee productivity and performance. Having a consolidated source of data is vital in making this happen with a virtual staff. Alvaria's performance management software12 comprises simple widgets and dashboard displays that are easy for employees to use and management to oversee, aligning both enterprise and agent goals at every level.
Gaining clear insight into your remote team's operational efficiency will make or break your cloud contact center. Tracking KPIs and categorizing customer interactions across all channels will highlight areas of success and where more attention is required. By using Alvaria's engagement analytics software13, operational efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction are easy to monitor. Important features include full-transcription LVCSR (Large Vocabulary Continuous Speech Recognition) technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to recognize language patterns to identify important new topics, keeping you abreast of customer service care levels.
Optimizing Your Virtual Staff and Operations to Ensure Excellent Customer Care
Your customers drive your business, making sure they're taken care of is of primary importance. How can you ensure customer care is optimized when managing a virtual staff? Simple. Alvaria's inbound call software14 is key in making sure your staff is connected with calls from a variety of virtual locations. Combining ACD and call routing differentiates customer support and focuses on applying the right customer service strategies.
Skill-Based Call Routing Around the Clock
Having employees in different remote locations means around-the-clock access for customers, with agents delivering the service your customers expect and deserve. Tailoring the customer experience remains your number one priority and matching the most appropriate team member to each call creates faster and more effective call resolution.
Automatic Call Distribution System (ACD) to Increase Customer Satisfaction
Preparedness is vital when your staff is remote, and using ACD allows for geographical matching, customer self-selection, account-based ID or automatic number identification (ANI) to reduce call wait times. Addressing these KPIs is vital to achieving customer satisfaction and increasing recommendations.
Self-Service Options to Benefit Customers and Staff
Research has shown that 83% of customers15 were happy to use self-service of some sort when calling a contact center. Giving customers the option of a self-service solution16 puts them in control, boosts overall efficiency and frees up agents to deal with more complicated queries that require a human touch. With customer care expectations higher than ever, it's up to you to equip your team with the call center software to support their role.
Creating Strong Customer Connections with Omnichannel Service
One of the main challenges cloud-based call centers face today is effectively engaging with their customers in multiple ways. In our mobile world, it's important to provide a differentiated selection of contact options yet still provide continuity of service. Frustrations caused by repeating the same information multiple times to multiple agents is a complaint 76% of customers17 have when dealing with call center staff, and customers expect consistency, personalized support and little effort on their part to achieve this.
Building Bonds with Customers Wherever They are on Their Terms
The beauty of omnichannel support is the seamless information it offers. Alvaria's omnichannel agent18 means getting familiarized (millennials19 in particular) with mobile apps and social media chat mediums to converse with customers and answer their questions.
No matter the service — voice, email, SMS, app or chat — your customers expect consistency and seamless cross-channel communication. How your contact center adapts to this trend will be vital in how it scales and moves ahead.
Agents are Armed with the Information They Need to Assist Customers
Agents have the information they need across all channels to deal with their customer's inquiries using an omnichannel platform. With contextual information at hand, it's easy to understand customer needs and how to resolve their issue best. By matching customers to agents who have the proper subject matter and channel skills, customer frustration is lessened, and satisfaction and call resolution increase.
Leading Your Enterprise Contact Center into the Future
Superior customer service is what will set your contact center apart, and with cloud contact center values projected to increase by 23.11%20 between 2020 and 2025, establishing a virtual setup now will be a benefit as your business scales.
It's imperative that your cloud-based call center has the support of a professional consulting team with the expertise and technical experience to advise on how to best utilize cloud-based call center software to maximize its benefits. Aspect is always on hand to support you and your agents by providing tailored coaching21 for optimal performance.
Train Your Team for Success
Full-service coaching22 is key for achieving success from every level of your team. Working in tandem with Aspect's quality management, your team can achieve better outcomes, whether the training process is manual or automated. By implementing timeframes for training and links to coaching material, your agents can stay on top of the latest development to best serve your customers. Training your staff23 also helps with employee retention by up to 70%, keeping your team abreast of best practices to serve your customers better.
Reduce Costs and Maximize Your Process
While investment in contact center software will incur some costs, without the need for on-premise training, equipment and on-site maintenance, your overall running costs will inevitably be reduced. Flexible staff schedules combined with customer self-service systems24 will provide the best customer care possible around the clock.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is at the forefront of your process, alongside customer retention and repeat business. Using interactive voice response (IVR) can lower costs by one-tenth, and automated notifications for services such as rewards or new products are inexpensive ways to deliver relevant information and reduce agent costs. Increasing first contact resolution (FCR) and reducing average handle time (AHT) can help your enterprise succeed in a virtual setting.
The Beginning of a New Breed of Contact Center Work
The face of enterprise contact centers has changed rapidly in the last 12 - 18 months and will continue to do so in the coming decade. With the help of robust enterprise contact center software, you can expect your cloud contact center to be a hub for customer relationships where each customer is supported and included in the process of their query.
Super Agents and Superior Software
Furthermore, with continuous training, your agents will develop a wider range of skills — able to communicate seamlessly through a variety of mediums. Working in tandem with an ACD, the next few years will see greater refinement in customer support, assisted by superior call center management software.
Digital Communication is the Way Forward
Harnessing the power of social media for customer service is easy with omnichannel software in place, allowing customers to chat about an existing service or inquire about something new. With 72% of adults25 favoring digital communication, you can reach a wider audience with live chat in a timely manner.
The Future is Bright and Virtual
It's a new and exciting time to be at the forefront of virtual workplaces, and harnessing the power of cloud-based contact center software is pivotal in creating, maintaining and growing your enterprise. Distance should not be a barrier to serving customers or retaining valuable staff. Alvaria26 can provide an arsenal of future-proof software, powering your enterprise and empower your agents with best-of-breed contact center and workforce optimization software.
- "Contact Center Continuity: Essential during COVID-19." Orange BusinessServices, 1 June 2020, https://www.orange-business.com/en/magazine/contact-center-continuity-essential-covid-19-crisis.
- "How COVID-19 Has Impacted on Contact Centres." Contact, 9 Oct. 2020, https://contact-centres.com/how-covid-19-has-impacted-the-progression-of-contact-centres/.
- "What is a Virtual Call Center?", Alvaria, https://www.alvaria.com/glossary/what-is-virtual-call-center
- Taparia, Neal. "5 Easy Ways To Motivate Your Remote Team." Forbes, ForbesMagazine, 27 May 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nealtaparia/2020/05/06/5-easy-ways-to-motivate-your-remote-team/?sh=65bc1c7d76ea.
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- Sullivan-Hasson, Elizabeth. 7 Benefits of Switching to Cloud-Based Contact CenterSoftware, March 2, 2020, https://www.trustradius.com/buyer-blog/benefits-of-cloud-based-contact-center-solutions.
- "How Gamification Increases Employee Productivity." Call Centre Helper, https://www.callcentrehelper.com/gamification-employee-productivity-159887.htm.
- "Take Employee Performance to the Next Level with Aspect® Performance Management™ and Aspect® Coaching™." Aspect, https://www.aspect.com/call-center-solutions/workforce-optimization/performance-management-software.
- Alvaria Motivate Data Sheet, https://alvaria-stg.sitefinity.cloud/docs/default-source/resources/data-sheets/alvaria-motivate-ds.pdf?sfvrsn=b1122d6b_19
- "Call Center Performance Management Solutions." Aspect, https://www.aspect.com/call-center-solutions/workforce-optimization/performance-management-software.
- "Aspect® Engagement Analytics™: Best-in-Class Speech Analytics Software."Engagement Analytics for Speech and Text, Aspect, https://www.aspect.com/call-center-solutions/workforce-optimization/speech-analytics-and-text-analytics.
- "Inbound Call Center Software That Connects Your Customers with the Right Agents." Aspect, https://www.aspect.com/call-center-solutions/call-center/inbound-voice.
- "How Self-Service Can Benefit Your Business, Customers and Employees." CallCentre Helper, https://www.callcentrehelper.com/self-service-benefit-business-customers-employees-163153.htm.
- "How ACD Systems Can Benefit Your Customers and Your Team." Call CentreHelper, https://www.callcentrehelper.com/acd-system-benefits-customers-team-165793.htm.
- "The Ultimate Guide to the Omnichannel Contact Center." Sharpen, 23 Oct.2020, https://sharpencx.com/omni-channel-contact-center/.
- "Omnichannel Call Center Solutions: Break Down the Barriers between Customer Contact Channels." Aspect, https://www.aspect.com/call-center-solutions/call-center/omnichannel.
- Pickard, Tim. "The Future Call Center: 10 Predictions for the Next 10 Years."Communication APIs, Contact Centre, Business Phone, VoIP, Vonage, 16 Feb. 2015, https://www.vonage.co.uk/resources/articles/the-future-call-center-10-predictions-for-the-next-10-years-2/.
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- "How To Integrate Social Media Into Your Omnichannel Support Strategy." Freshdesk Blogs, 18 May 2020, https://freshdesk.com/customer-support/integrate-social-media-omnichannel-support-strategy-blog/.
- Alvaria, Inc. https://www.alvaria.com.