Virtual Call Centers Help Increase Efficiency, Reduce Costs

July 31, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

Over 35% of best-in-class (BIC) companies have experienced greater than 10% improvement in customer satisfaction upon implementation of remote agents – i.e., the creation of virtual call centers via a blending of locations, home-based agents and offshoring – according to a recent Aberdeen survey.

BIC companies highlighted the need to increase efficiency and reduce costs as the top pressure for implementing remote agents, with the need to support an increasingly diverse and distributed workforce as the second pressure.

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Over half of all respondents said they would upgrade their call center by adding distributed agents within the next 24 months.

Real-time visibility and centralized management across a distributed agent strategy emerged as the top challenge companies faced, while the fear of inconsistent customer care through various agents also ranked high.

Key performance indicators for BIC companies were as follows, according to Aberdeen:

  • Customer satisfaction: 62% of BIC report improvement.
  • Average call duration time: 50% of BIC report improvement.
  • Call abandonment rate: 40% of BIC report a reduction.

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The research also showed that BIC firms have several common characteristics:

  • 89% of BIC companies versus 67% of others provide internet access to their distributed agents to help boost performance.
  • 72% of BIC companies versus 43% of others are using online knowledge management systems.
  • 53% of BIC companies versus 25% of others have implemented speech, IVR and self-service technologies.

Aberdeen concluded that to achieve BIC performance, companies must implement the following:

  • VoIP technology to drive down the costs of implementing a distributed agent strategy
  • Workforce management, also providing knowledge management tools to manage and train distributed agents
  • Business intelligence/analytics tools to measure impact of distributed agents on customer satisfaction and retention

About the study: Between March and April 2007, Aberdeen Group examined the use of a distributed agent strategy, the experiences, and intentions of more than 150 enterprises in diverse of industries. That online survey effort was supplemented with telephone interviews with select survey respondents, gathering additional information on self service strategies, experiences, and results.

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