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Contact Centers Working Together Gains Service, Savings: ContactBabel, CosmoCom

January 23, 2009

It pays for multiple contact centers, including home agents, to work as one i.e. the virtual contact center. A recent study of over 200 contact center operators conducted by analyst firm ContactBabel and sponsored by CosmoCom (News - Alert) confirmed that virtual contact centers offer far better economies of scale than stand-alone operations.

Over 80 percent of firms responding to the report that have virtual contact centers cited gains including ability to cope with call peaks, reduced queue times, and fairer agent utilization. Over 70 percent reported call cost savings between sites and wider ranges of skills available to callers.

The scale of virtual contact centers is impressive - 53 percent of organizations surveyed have more than one U.S. contact center location and of these 63 percent have their sites virtualized.

The issue of coping with call spikes is one which is growing year upon year, said the report. Virtual contact centers allow agents from other locations to be available to deal with a different queue, being seamlessly moved back to their original work when the spike has flattened or the length of their own primary queue triggers a move back to their original work.
 
Dealing early with such call spikes can often remove the issue before it becomes a real problem, and such movement between call groups can be done automatically by setting thresholds in each queue. Such flexibility of agents means that there is fairer agent utilization, as the situation of a set of agents sitting idle while others are under great pressure is less likely to happen.

Yet there are still a significant percentage of multi-site contact centers: 37 percent that are not virtualized. These firms cite not being able to see the business gains followed by costs, team management, and security issue.

"The US Contact Center Operational Review (2nd edition)" is an independent, 300-page PDF report that looks in depth at salaries, attrition, training, multimedia, IP, self-service, strategies, outsourcing, planning and many other elements that are key to understanding how contact centers can best be run.

“The virtual contact center environment lets operators seamlessly move calls among agents across all locations for better utilization of agent time and better service for customers," reports Steve Morrell, author of the ContactBabel (News - Alert) report.

"The report provides strong support for our core value proposition that virtual IP contact centers help enterprises to be more reachable and more responsive in a highly cost effective way, “ says Steve Kowarsky, CosmoCom's Executive Vice President. “Consolidating multiple locations, captive and outsourced operations, multiple communication channels, and multiple applications is increasingly recognized throughout the industry as the best deployment strategy for enhancing customer care while reducing its total cost.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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