What is a Virtual Call Center?

By Tony Cochran

Perhaps the simplest way to think about a virtual call center is to visualize a call center without walls. Technology enables the call center operator to centralize management functions while distributing calls to agents in remote locations.

Remote agents can be located in multiple call centers operated by the same company, or as is increasingly the case, they may work from home.

The virtual call center is comprised of a central facility where campaigns are managed and a network of agents in various locations where the work is performed.

The experience for both the call center operator and the call center agent is very much like that in a traditional, brick and mortar call center.

The virtual call center manager starts and stops campaigns, assigns agents to campaigns, monitors and coaches agents, and views performance metrics in real-time, just as in a traditional call center.

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The virtual call center agent logs into and out of campaigns, makes and receives calls, views and/or updates customer data, and dispositions calls in real-time, again, just as in a traditional call center.

Virtual call centers may be “in-house” or “outsourced” operations.

An “in-house” call center is one where the organization operates its own call center. For example, the agent may work for Sears and all contacts that agent has will be with customers or prospective customers of Sears.

In an “outsourced” operation, the agent is employed by a call center service provider who contracts with various client organizations. In an outsourced operation calls are routed only to agents who have been trained to handle calls for that client, and an agent may perform work for more than one client.

Some virtual call centers go beyond simply handling calls to handling all customer and prospect interactions, including answering email inquiries and engaging in live chat sessions, and are referred to as virtual contact centers.

About The Author:

Tony Cochran is the Founder of TelemarketingFromHome.com, a leading Internet provider of virtual call center news, articles and current work from home job listings, information and resources.

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