Best Practices for Deploying a Virtual Call Center by revitup2367



                                                         Best Practices for Deploying a
                                                                     Virtual Call Center
                                                                            Tips, Techniques and Best Practices

           Contact centers play an increasingly important role in business operations and in driving
           financial outcomes. Today’s customers are increasingly fickle; they demand fast, responsive
           customer service, and when they don’t receive it, the will readily defect to competitors. And
           as companies increasingly turn to services as a new revenue stream or source of differentia-
           tion, they need more sophisticated customer support organizations to support these business-
           critical operations.

          To meet their customer interaction         driving distance, they typically can’t     500-person brick-and-mortar contact
           needs, businesses have traditionally      find enough of the right talent within     center, companies usually spend more
           established brick-and-mortar contact      this limited geography – especially        than $10 million in initial capital costs
           centers that can take as long as 14-16    if they need contact center agents         alone. Sourcing agents can quickly
           months to complete and cost as much       with specialized skill sets or extensive   double costs, as businesses must con-
           as $15 million. The problem is that       experience. Because they tend to ex-       stantly source, screen, on-board, and
           no matter how a traditional contact       haust the local talent pool within a few   train or certify new agents due to high
           center is structured, they have inher-    years due to high turnover, the number     attrition rates.
           ent weaknesses that over time lead        and quality of candidates declines
                                                                                                • Traditional contact centers can’t
           to high costs and poor service quality.   over time, often forcing companies to       accommodate unpredictable demand.
           Consider the following:                   relocate contact centers.                  Contact center demand can be very

          • Traditional contact centers have         • Traditional contact centers are          unpredictable. Yet managers or others
           difficulty finding the best people.        costly to set up and run.                 overseeing contact center operations
           Forced to recruit within a 25-mile        To set up the average 250- to              typically have to plan schedules two -                                                                                                                           PAGE 1

                                                    Why Companies are Turning to Virtual Contact Centers             1

                                                                     The Lifecycle of a Virtual Contact Center      3

                                                      Best Practices for Operating a Virtual Contact Center         5

                                                                                   Selection and On-Boarding        5

                                                                                  Education and Certification       5

                                                                                           Scheduling Agents        6

                                                                                           Supervising Agents       7

                                                                                       Incenting Performance        8

                                                                             Auditing Calls to Ensure Quality       9

                                                                                         Building Community         10

                                       The Key to Success: Start with an Integrated, On-Demand Platform             10

                                                                     Stringcan: Agent Flexibility and Reliability   11                                                                                                        PAGE 2

          four weeks in advance so that agents       traditional contact center agents. This    many businesses are exploring a
          can plan their personal lives around       innovative approach to setting up a        relatively new option to handle their
          their work schedule – for example,         contact center means that companies        call loads: establishing a virtual con-
          by arranging for child care well in        are free to source the best talent from    tact center that leverages remote or
          advance. This means that companies         anywhere in the country. Because their     home-based agents. Research shows
          are forced to pay all agents to come       sourcing pool is so much larger, they      that unlike traditional contact centers
          in – even when demand is low – as well     can find higher-quality agents who         where turnover can be as high as
          as run the risk that they may not have     can provide higher-quality service.        100% per year, home-based agents
          enough agents to cover unpredictable       Recruiting costs are lower because         providing services are happier in
          spikes in demand.                          agents are happier and turnover rates      their position and with their quality of
                                                     can be as low as 9% per year. Physical     life – and as a result, turnover can be
          • Traditional contact centers have dif-
          ficulty keeping the best people.           buildings with seats are not required,     as low as 9% per year. But setting up

          Providing services at a traditional        so capital costs are nearly eliminated.    and managing a virtual contact center

          contact center is not a popular voca-      There are no cultural issues that can      is quite different from a traditional

          tion due to quality of life and other      impact customer satisfaction, as is the    contact center. For example, because

          issues. Because day shifts tend to go      case with off-shoring. And businesses      agents are no longer working on-site,

          to people with the most seniority, new     have the flexibility to bring agents on-   businesses need a way to source, on-

          agents are relegated to nights and         line and offline in response to chang-     board, and train or certify new agents

          weekends – the least popular time          ing demand, giving them greater            using remote technologies. Once

          slots – which increases attrition rates    business agility while minimizing their    remote agents are a part of the work

          over time. As a result, companies face     overall costs.                             force, managers or facilitators need

          exceptionally high turnover, which                                                    new ways to oversee, monitor, and
                                                     This paper overviews essential best
          hurts morale, drives up costs, and ulti-                                              motivate their contact center agents
                                                     practices for deploying a virtual
          mately reduces the quality of service                                                 remotely; they can no longer walk
                                                     contact center. Each best practice is
          delivered because they have a very                                                    through the floor to listen in on
                                                     discussed in relation to how it supports
          limited group of experienced,                                                         calls, answer questions, and encour-
                                                     the complete lifecycle of the contact
          proven agents.                                                                        age agents face to face. And in order
                                                     center and explores key technologies
                                                                                                to improve customer service levels,
          These are just some of the challenges      needed to enable it across businesses.
                                                                                                home-based agents need different
          associated with traditional contact                                                   types of measurements and incentives
                                                     The Lifecycle of a
          centers. That’s why many companies                                                    to perform at their best.
                                                     Virtual Contact center
          today are considering investment in
                                                     Fed up with managing their own brick-
          virtual contact centers, which are set
                                                     and-mortar contact centers – and
          up with remote, home-based agents or
                                                     dissatisfied with off-shoring options –
          a combination of remote-based and                                                                                                                          PAGE 3

          The core activities involved in manag-
          ing a virtual contact center are sum-
          marized in Figure 1. They include the
                                                           Building a Community                                       Selection and On-boarding
                                                           • Communication and Feedback                               • Selection
          • Selection and on-boarding                      • Collaboration and Sharing                                • Auditioning
                                                           • Community Portal                                         • Evaluation
          Companies need a way to find the
          right talent from a national pool,
          efficiently filter large numbers of can-    Measuring and                          Virtual                            Certification
          didates, and on-board them – without
                                                      Quality Management
                                                      • Performance Scorecards               Contact                            • InitialTraining
                                                                                                                                • On-going Training
          ever meeting them face to face.
                                                      • Real-time Reporting
                                                      • Auditing and Monitoring              Center                             • Certification

          • Education and certification.
          Once agents are on board, they need             Routing to the Best Resource                              Scheduling and Supervising
                                                          • Skill-sets/Profile Configuration                          • Forecasting and Scheduling
          remote access to e-learning and                 • Performance based Routing                               • Schedule Management
                                                          • On-going Profile Management                              • Real-time assistance
          testing materials, since they no longer
          participate in traditional, on-site ses-
          sions. Companies also need ways to           the software should also use individual   agents with constructive feedback,
          test agent comprehension to ensure           performance data to route calls to the    and use rewards to drive
          that agents have not only read the           best performers, as this increases ser-   desired behaviors.
          material, but they also fully under-         vice quality for customers and incents
          stand, recall, and can apply it.                                                       • Building a community
                                                       agents to adopt desired behaviors.
                                                                                                 Because agents provide services
          • Scheduling and supervising                 • Measuring, reporting, and               remotely, companies need to invest
          Companies need more flexible ways            quality management                        in technologies that help agents feel
          to schedule agents, tools to oversee         Managers and facilitators need ways       connected to the company and their
          them, and multiple channels of virtual       to access up-to-date data on agent        peers and allow them to
          communication so agents can ask              performance, effectiveness, and           share knowledge.
          questions and get fast, accurate an-         outcomes, as well as generate neces-
          swers whenever they need them.               sary reports quickly and efficiently to
                                                       make informed business decisions.
          • Routing calls to the best resource
                                                       Additionally, businesses need to equip
          In a virtual contact center, systems
                                                       home-based auditors to listen to calls,
          must be in place to monitor perfor-
                                                       answer performance-based questions
          mance in real time and route calls to
                                                       specific to each program, provide
          agents certified to answer calls com-
          ing in for a particular program. Ideally,                                                                                                                                  PAGE 4

          Best Practices for Operat-                 source agents, hire or contract with        Automation of these and other back-

          ing a Virtual Call Center.                 them, and on-board them.                    office activities allows companies to

          Most of the steps in the virtual contact                                               source a large number of high-quality
                                                     Best Practice: Finding
          center lifecycle (shown in Figure 1)                                                   agents quickly – and do so with only a
                                                     and on-Boarding the
          are familiar to businesses running                                                     small set of resources managing
                                                     Right Talent – Regardless
          traditional contact centers; but the re-                                               the process.
                                                     of Geography.
          sources required to execute, track, and
                                                     With a virtual contact center, compa-       Education and Certification.
          monitor down to the individual agent
                                                     nies can use powerful, online sourcing      Ramping up agents on new programs
          level in a virtual environment are quite
                                                     tools to find talent nationally – regard-   is essential to providing consistent,
          different. essentially, organizations
                                                     less of where they are located – and        quality service. But in traditional con-
          need the following:
                                                     have a diversified community to match       tact centers, even the simplest training

          • Best practices geared specifically for   different callers’ interests and needs.     can take a week to complete because
          building and managing a                    The pool of potential candidates is         of the logistics involved in getting
          virtual workforce.
                                                     much larger, which changes the whole        people to correct locations, having

          • A super-set of the supporting tools      sourcing equation from “How do I            them fill out paperwork, teaching them
          required to manage a traditional,          find people?” to “How do I select the       basic job skills, and taking breaks and
          brick-and-mortar facility – delivered
                                                     best from so many people?” And by           lunches. After these activities are ac-
          in an on demand, real-time manner.
                                                     deploying online, real-time processes       counted for, businesses may only have
          Selection and On-boarding                  that allow candidates to apply online,      20-25 hours of actual training left
          Finding agents is one of the biggest       companies can have unlimited, concur        in a 40-hour work week. Quality of
          challenges for traditional contact         rent nationwide sourcing.                   instruction is also at risk, especially
          centers – especially those with cyclical                                               for businesses that rely on seasonal
                                                     Ideally, the software deployed should
          or seasonal operations. When com-                                                      workers, as hiring top-notch, seasonal
                                                     support a web-based agent screen-
          panies need to meet peak demand,                                                       instructors for short training programs
                                                     ing process that automates, monitors,
          they will often accept anyone who                                                      can be difficult. And finally, traditional
                                                     and tracks all phases of the sourcing,
          comes through the door. And because                                                    training settings provide instructors
                                                     screening, and on-boarding process,
          they only have a limited selection of                                                  with very little opportunity to measure
                                                     including background and reference
          candidates within a 25-mile radius,                                                    what attendees actually understand
                                                     checks; phone manner, personality, be-
          even those companies with top-notch                                                    and recall – a major determinate of
                                                     havioral, and reading comprehension
          screening tools can’t be picky. More-
                                                     tests; voice tests; and even screenings
          over, processes tend to be paper-
                                                     to allow agents to choose those pro
          based and costly. For example, a large
                                                     grams that best match their strengths.
          contact center may require anywhere
          from six to ten full-time people and
          8-10% of real estate space just to                                                                                                                             PAGE 5

          future quality and performance.            quality content possible. For example,     get date – without having to stagger
          Traditional classroom instruction          they can hire real experts to create       training dates or schedule agents
          is also problematic because it is          materials so that every agent has the      to work well in advance to ensure
          completely linear. This limits business    opportunity to “learn from the best        adequate coverage.
          agility because managers can’t recruit     instructors.” Businesses can also de-
                                                                                                Scheduling Agents.
          and quickly train large numbers of new     velop materials that take into account
                                                                                                In a traditional contact center, manag-
          agents to meet seasonal demands. For       different learning styles – for example,
                                                                                                ers are forced to schedule agents in
          example, if they only have space to        by presenting the same information
                                                                                                three- to eight-hour blocks so that
          educate 50 people a week – and they        in documents, videos, and lists of
                                                                                                agents are motivated to come in
          need to have 500 new agents up and         frequently asked questions (FAQs) and
                                                                                                to work; having agents drive in for
          working in six weeks, they may have to     answers. Learning is also self paced,
                                                                                                anything less than three or four hours
          start training and scheduling people       which enables agents who don’t
                                                                                                isn’t an efficient use of resources. This
          weeks or even months more before           understand something to go back and
                                                                                                means that when demand suddenly
          they technically need them to start. Fi-   review before moving on. And finally,
                                                                                                increases, managers can’t just call
          nally, traditional classroom instruction   personnel can build in certification
                                                                                                people in for a 1.5 hour emergency
          does not take into account varying         tests that accurately assess compre-
                                                                                                shift or or let agents go early be-
          abilities of people to assimilate new      hension (as compared to “training”
                                                                                                cause demand is unexpectedly low.
          material. In every class, a large group    where agents sit through instruction
                                                                                                In addition, managers have to deal
          of students will be bored with material    but are not required to demonstrate
                                                                                                with unpredictable variables such as
          presented too slowly, while others will    that they understand and can apply
                                                                                                weather, which can jeopardize cover-
          struggle with the pace of learning.        what they learned).
                                                                                                age because people simply can’t drive
                                                     Remote, online e-learning environ-
          Best Practice: Make Learn-                                                            to work.
                                                     ments also give companies the flexibil-
          ing and Certification Re-
                                                     ity to roll out new marketing programs     Scheduling agents to cover nights,
          sources Available online for
                                                     quickly and cost effectively. Because      holidays, and weekends – which can
          Anytime, Anywhere Access
                                                     they support non-linear learning pro-      be the busiest times of the week – can
          In contrast, with a virtual contact
                                                     cesses, companies simply develop the       be particularly challenging. Coveted
          center, businesses can take advantage
                                                     online content and certification tests     day shifts are usually made available
          of e-learning solutions that enable
                                                     for new programs and make these re-        to agents with the most seniority in
          hundreds of agents to ramp up simul-
                                                     sources available to agents, complete      order to reduce turnover. As a result,
          taneously on new programs – right
                                                     with deadlines to complete the certi-
          from home or a remote location, and
                                                     fication process. If needed, they can
          at times that are convenient for them.
                                                     have hundreds and even thousands of
          There are no physical and people
                                                     agents ready to take call by a tar-
          logistics to manage, so companies
          can focus on developing the highest                                                                                                                           PAGE 6

          nights, weekends, and holidays are            pick her child up at noon and care for        Supervising Agents.
          usually staffed by newer, less expe-          him until bedtime, and then resume            Managers of virtual contact centers
          rienced agents. Given that working            services from 8pm until midnight.)            need to monitor the performance of
          these hours significantly impacts family      This flexibility alone can dramatically       their agents – just as those in tradi-
          life and quality of life – particularly for   decrease turnover because quality of          tional contact centers need to do. But
          single parents who need to schedule           life is so much higher. Most companies        finding and retaining good supervisory
          childcare – traditional contact centers       also find that this approach makes            resources within a 25-mile radius of
          have much higher turnover among               it easy to ensure coverage of week-           the contact center isn’t easy. And the
          new agents. Turnover drives up recruit-       ends, evenings, and holidays; because         traditional model – where supervisors
          ing costs and reduces quality because         agents can provide services in the            can see agents face-to-face and share
          companies have difficulty developing          comfort of their own home and for             an encouraging word to keep agents
          a large team of experienced agents.           short blocks of time, they are happy          motivated – isn’t necessarily the most
          Finally, the task of balancing all of the     to pick up blocks of time in off-peak         cost efficient or effective approach.
          individual needs of agents for time off       hours. Also, for calls that require a         A single supervisor can only oversee
          or other scheduling variables is vexing       dedicated pool of agents, companies           the number of agents that the facility
          and time consuming.                           can set rules that require agents to          can physically hold. In addition, their
                                                        commit to a minimum number of hours           “visibility” into agent performance is
          Best Practice: Deploy an
                                                        in order to be eligible for participation.    limited to trolling floors or sitting by
          online, Pull-based (or opt-in)
                                                                                                      the phone or in a command center to
          Scheduling environment.                       And finally, online scheduling environ-
                                                                                                      answer questions.
          With virtual contact centers, compa-          ments make it far easier for companies
          nies can set up an online “scheduling         to deal with unexpected spikes in             Best Practice: Equip Home-
          marketplace” whereby agents can               demand, as well as “cancel” scheduled,        based Agents to Supervise
          proactively schedule themselves to            committed time when call volume drops         in Real Time.
          work around their availability and            precipitously. With the right technolo-       In contrast, companies managing
          take shifts appropriate for their own         gies in place, they can send agents           a virtual contact center are free to
          time zone. Using innovative, pull-based       alerts via cell phone, text message,          source managers or other operational
          scheduling applications, companies            email, and voicemail broadcast so             personnel nationally, which broadens
          can offer agents the flexibility to           agents can volunteer for emergency            the talent pool considerably. And
          schedule themselves in 30-minute              back-up or sign up instantly when             because they can offer the best talent
          blocks or longer. (For example, a             there’s additional work. All of this can      the flexibility of working from home in
          working single mother can develop             be accomplished with a minimum of
          a schedule that allows her to drop            back-office staff, as the scheduling is ac-
          her child off at preschool, come back         complished by the agents themselves.
          and provide services for three hours,                                                                                                                                PAGE 7

          a part-time or full-time capacity, they   even the most senior agents need         relative to their peers on recent
          can not only recruit the best person-     constant incentives and feedback to      calls. Metrics tracked can vary from
          nel, but retain them longer.              perform their best.                      program to program so that, for
                                                                                             example, agent performance for a very
          Innovative technologies are available     Best Practice: Manage
                                                                                             sales-heavy program may be assessed
          to enable home-based personnel to         the Contact Center as
                                                                                             by tracking agent sales skills and the
          monitor the performance of other          a Meritocracy.
                                                                                             revenues each agent generates, while
          remote agents in real time. They can      With virtual contact centers, compa-
                                                                                             performance on customer support calls
          also give them constructive, one on       nies may want to create a community
                                                                                             may measured based on customer sat-
          one feedback; host development ses-       based on performance. Companies
                                                                                             isfaction or product knowledge. Agents
          sions that thousands of agents can        need to develop automated, data-
                                                                                             should be able to see their scores
          participate in simultaneously; and an-    driven performance systems that en-
                                                                                             on individual metrics so they can see
          swer agent questions via email, instant   able managers to objectively measure
                                                                                             exactly where they have to improve.
          messaging, and chat rooms staffed 24      and reward performance in real time
                                                                                             Systems should also provide links to
          hours a day. When businesses deploy       – and ultimately create a meritocracy
                                                                                             e-learning materials so that agents
          their virtual contact center using an     whereby agents are compared to their
                                                                                             can proactively take steps to improve
          integrated platform with unified data,    peers and rewarded based on their
                                                                                             areas of weakness. These scores
          supervisory personnel can also moni-      relative performance. Top performers
                                                                                             should be updated frequently so that
          tor everything that agents do in real     can be rewarded in ways that mean
                                                                                             agents can see how improvements in
          time – from actual conversations with     the most to them – such as earning
                                                                                             their performance quickly translate
          customers to computer keystrokes –        the option to schedule time for the
                                                                                             into higher scores and compensation.
          and access this information in a          most coveted programs and time
                                                                                             Agents should also be able to see how
          secure manner.                            slots. Companies can also enable
                                                                                             their scores compare to other agents’
                                                    performance-based routing so that
          Incentive Performance.                                                             scores – both relative to the best
                                                    top performers get a higher volume of
          In a traditional contact center,                                                   agents and the average agent – as this
                                                    calls and earn associated incentives
          companies typically use infrequent,                                                information has been found to intrinsi-
                                                    for answering more calls (for example,
          paper-based performance evaluations                                                cally motivate agents to change their
                                                    higher pay when agents are paid per
          to provide feedback, determine pay                                                 behavior in beneficial ways.
                                                    minute of talk time).
          rates, and encourage agents to per-
          form their best. But these touch points   Ideally, incentive systems should put
          are few and far between because           agents in the driver’s seat by proac-
          they are costly and time consuming        tively providing them with real-time
          for managers to perform. Given the        information about their performance
          routine nature of contact center work,                                                                                                                      PAGE 8

          These types of unified, merit-based       have a relatively small group of             Companies also need a way to track
          incentive systems drive the behavior of   trained auditors, they can only review       and report on hundreds of different
          agents so that they perform their best,   a limited number of calls per day.           metrics – data that helps them identify
          every time they pick up a call. And                                                    specific issues that may arise on calls.
                                                    Best Practice: Deploy
          for new agents, it means that senior-                                                  Ideally, the software that supports
                                                    Technologies that Closely
          ity is not a matter of time, but rather                                                reporting should allow businesses to
                                                    Monitor and Report on
          quality of work. Anyone can be a top                                                   look at performance across all agents,
                                                    Agent Activity.
          performer – even a hard-working                                                        campaigns, and programs. This level
                                                    With virtual contact centers, compa-
          new agent.                                                                             of analysis provides organizations with
                                                    nies must be able to monitor and verify
                                                                                                 powerful visibility into the performance
          Auditing Calls To                         what agents are actually doing – since
                                                                                                 of their virtual contact center, the
          Insure Quality.                           no one can actually see an agent in
                                                                                                 programs they are running, and every
          Monitoring and reporting on activi-       the act of picking up a telephone.
                                                                                                 agent on the program. For instance, if
          ties is essential to any contact center   Companies need to deploy technolo-
                                                                                                 a business is seeing poor performance
          – both traditional and virtual. Agent     gies that record every call and provide
                                                                                                 on the second up-sell in a script,
          calls must be audited on a regular        company personnel with instant,
                                                                                                 managers should be able to use a
          and frequent basis, and data must be      real-time insight into agent perfor-
                                                                                                 real-time reporting tool – combined
          compiled and reported on swiftly so       mance. They also need to build up a
                                                                                                 with the recorded calls – to identify
          that companies can address perfor-        large pool of certified auditors (typi-
                                                                                                 agents who may not be reading the
          mance issues before they negatively       cally trusted, senior agents) who can
                                                                                                 entire script during that portion of the
          impact business outcomes. But in          perform both random auditing (which
                                                                                                 call. This allows the contact center
          most traditional contact centers, the     ensures that all agents know that their
                                                                                                 personnel to take immediate and
          resources available and methods used      calls can be monitored at any time)
                                                                                                 precise corrective action. Ideally,
          to support these activities tend to be    and exception-based auditing (which
                                                                                                 agent performance on audits should
          costly and inefficient. For example,      enables companies to pay specific at-
                                                                                                 also impact call routing and ultimately
          companies may use call recorders, hire    tention to sensitive issues or higher-risk
                                                                                                 agent pay.
          QA teams to perform audits (often         programs). Because they can source
          using paper-based grading), and track     agents nationally, companies can es-
          results in spreadsheets. Because of       tablish a much larger pool of auditors,
          resource constraints, most businesses     giving them the flexibility to scale up
          can only perform random audits, as        resources as business needs change.
          opposed to targeted audits for poten-
          tially problematic or under-performing
          programs. In addition, because most                                                                                                                           PAGE 9

          Building Community.                       fline about anything without fear           in real time. This is only possible when
          Agents working in traditional, brick-     of repercussions (barring obscene           companies have centralized data and
          and-mortar contact centers have the       language and personal attacks on            fully integrated processes. From a
          opportunity to meet their peers face to   others). Businesses can also implement      technology perspective, businesses in-
          face, develop friendships, and support    a peer-to-peer “coaching” process           terested in transitioning from tradition-
          one another by answering questions        whereby agents can listen in on calls       al brick-and-mortar contact centers to
          on the fly. When properly encouraged      and provide constructive feedback to        virtual contact centers have several
          and supported, these human interac-       other agents – feedback that can help       options when setting up an integrated
          tions go a long way in building group     improve the contact center’s customer       virtual contact center:
          cohesiveness, improving retention, and    satisfaction and service level scores.
                                                                                                • Take a build-your-own approach
          increasing job satisfaction.
                                                    Establishing multiple, open lines of vir-   In this scenario, businesses have to
          Best Practice: establish                  tual communication not only increases       invest heavily in multiple, fragmented
          Multiple Lines of Virtual                 job satisfaction and retention, but also    technologies – including custom appli-
          Communication to Build a                  gives management an inside view into        cations – to piece together a solution
          Strong Sense of Community.                areas of agent frustration. By monitor-     to support the lifecycle. But this is
          Successful virtual contact centers find   ing these communications, companies         costly, can take years to develop, and
          ways to recreate – and even improve       can proactively identify and address        often lacks scalability. In addition, put-
          upon – these types of peer-to-peer        issues to reduce turnover and foster        ting in place technology that makes it
          interactions to build a strong sense      community loyalty. Responding to            easy to manage telephony routing in
          of community. As community-based          agent needs can go a long way               a virtual environment is extremely diffi-
          forums such as Wikipedia have             toward making home-based agents             cult to build and would likely require IT
          demonstrated, investments in this area    feel connected to the community and         to assist whenever changes are made
          can greatly enhance the quality of the    valued for the services they provide.       – a time-consuming and costly effort.
          products delivered and the speed with
                                                    The Key to Success:                         • Deploy an integrated,
          which they are delivered – and these                                                  on-demand platform
                                                    Start With an Integrated,
          same benefits apply to the delivery of                                                Alternatively, they can pay to use a
                                                    On-demand Platform.
          contact center services. Companies                                                    pre built, integrated, on-demand plat-
                                                    To implement these best practices
          need to provide agents with multiple                                                  form that is designed from the ground
                                                    in an optimal way, companies need
          ways to ask questions of other agents,                                                up to support the entire lifecycle.
                                                    to carry out every step of these best
          stay connected to the company, and
                                                    practices in the virtual contact center
          build a meaningful social network.
                                                    life cycle in an integrated manner. In
          For example, businesses can support
                                                    addition, they need to be able to track
          online chats and establish in-house
                                                    and measure every action and activity
          forums so that agents can talk of-                                                                                                                            PAGE 10

          Integrated, on-demand platforms offer        contact center infrastructure and          • Agent management
          significant benefits over the “build-        expert resources that can be deployed      The platform provides multiple commu-
          your-own” approach. For example,             quickly to represent their organization    nication channels for agent/facilitator
          companies can quickly deploy all of          in an effective, professional manner.      communication, performance feed-
          the functions needed to support the          For companies interested in building       back, and online learning.
          full life cycle – and do so in a way that    their own virtual contact center, they
                                                                                                  • Scheduling
          is less costly, lower risk, and more scal-   can deploy the Stringcan on-Demand
                                                                                                  Businesses can use built-in tools to
          able while ensuring a faster RoI.            Contact Center and Application
                                                                                                  perform more accurate capacity
                                                       Suite. Because it’s available using a
          In addition, a fully integrated, on-                                                    planning; flexible, pull-based (self-
                                                       Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model,
          demand platform provides greater                                                        scheduling); or push-based (supervisor
                                                       the platform eliminates the need for
          visibility into operations, as data cap-                                                scheduling) scheduling, as well as
                                                       large, up-front technology investments,
          tured in the course of daily business                                                   monitor agents and team performance
                                                       as well as IT maintenance, integration
          is centralized and readily available                                                    in real time.
                                                       costs, and headaches associated with
          for reporting and analysis. This is es-
                                                       setting up and managing a traditional      • Call monitoring and reporting
          sential to effectively managing home-
                                                       contact center.                            Companies can track performance
          based agents.
                                                       The platform supports every step in        or service level metrics in real-time or
          Stringcan: Agent Flexibility                 the virtual contact center life cycle      historically, and do so at the individual
          Stringcan, the leader in on-demand           by efficiently integrating the state-of-   agent or aggregate level. They can
          virtual contact center technology and        the-art contact center infrastructure      also audit call recordings at any time.
          services, provides businesses with cost      components required to support
                                                                                                  • Community tools
          effective, high-performance contact          operations, including:
                                                                                                  The platform provides sophisticated
          center solutions that ensure consistent,
                                                       • Agent sourcing and certification         collaboration tools, including a coach-
          high-quality customer contact. These
                                                       The platform provides online tools for     ing co-op, chat, email, and community
          solutions provide greater flexibility,
                                                       sourcing, contracting with, and on-        portals that can facilitate develop-
          quality, scalability, control, and cost
                                                       boarding the right talent – regardless     ment of a virtual community.
          savings compared to traditional con-
                                                       of where they are located.
          tact center technology providers.
          For companies that want to outsource         • Intelligent call routing
          all or part of their contact center op-      Companies can use performance-
          erations, Stringcan offers a complete,       based routing techniques to route
          on-demand solution that leverages its        calls to the agent that will provide the
          on-demand workforce of 20,000 ex-            best possible customer experience.
          perienced, independent agents. Busi-
          nesses gain an enterprise-scale, virtual

For more information, please visit or call us at 866.899.5844                                                               PAGE 11

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