Virtual call centers are customer service and support call centers where agents providing customer support are dispersed amongst various locations. They can have people working from home or in different offices, but are connected via virtual call center software. Employees around the world are increasingly finding themselves working remotely, and because of the benefits of remote work, these virtual call centers will continue to grow in popularity.
Advantages of Virtual Call Centers
Compared to traditional call centers, there are many benefits to this remote approach.
No Geographical Limitations
Employees at traditional call centers generally need to live close to the office, leaving recruiters with a fixed talent pool to select from. However, with virtual call center agents working from the comfort of their own homes, companies can recruit and hire top talent without specific geographical boundaries. Being able to work from anywhere also gives call center employees more freedom to make life decisions on things like where they want to live as they are not bound to a specific location.
Lower Upfront Costs
Virtual call centers are relatively inexpensive when compared to their in-person counterparts. An in-person location requires a purchased or rented space as well as the operations, IT and furnishings costs associated with having onsite employees in an office environment. Inside the call center, all workstations have to be fully furnished with desks, hardware, and other equipment. When moved remote, practically all expenses necessary for on-site employees are removed.
Working from Home can Increase Employee Wellness
There are innumerable benefits for employees working from home. First of all, there are no commutes which for many are a significant source of frustration. Long-term effects of dealing with a stressful commute can be significant, including depression, ongoing anxiety, and a dread of the commute cycle. The hours are flexible, allowing employees to work around their kids or other commitments. This work-life balance is the ideal situation to foster employee wellness. Engaged and happy employees makes for loyal and happy customers.
The Disadvantages of Virtual Call Centers
While virtual call centers may seem like the dream set up for most call center operations, not everything about them is ideal. Like everything, there are some common problems seen in virtual call centers.
Many employees working from home can relate to the fact that communication is more challenging outside of an office environment. Instead of leaning over the desk to talk to a colleague, you have to shoot them a Slack or email. The same problem occurs in virtual call centers. Virtual call center agents are unable to ask their supervisors quick questions like they would in a traditional call center setting. Supervisors of virtual call centers also struggle to maintain connections and a pulse on their teams. They don’t get the benefit of overhearing issues agents may be having on the floor and the ability to offer on the spot coaching to reinforce behavior change.
The lack of communication and the inability for Supervisors to physically “walk the floor” leads to agent stress without the typical in-person support. Just think about the effects this may have on employee satisfaction and agent turnover.
If you think about the lively atmosphere of in-person call centers, practically all of that is lost in a virtual environment. It can be much harder to keep all employees motivated remotely, especially with all the distractions that come with it.
How Virtual Call Center Software Can Help
The challenges listed above are very typical for any virtual call center agent. Luckily innovative solutions exist to support virtual call centers and address these common issues. This is where virtual call center software comes into play – but how does virtual call center software work?
These remote solutions use cloud-based technology to enable teams to work from dispersed locations while remaining a cohesive unit and performing effectively and efficiently.
Choosing the Best Virtual Call Center Software
Every call center is different, and it’s important to find the best virtual call center software for your organization’s goals. As your organization grows and seeks to provide a more cohesive experience for both employees and customers, look for a solution that:
- Provides live in-call guidance that can coach agents in the moment
- Enables supervisors to coach from anywhere by virtually walking the floor
- Streamlines and informs your 1:1 coaching sessions with the most important coachable moments
Cogito: Next Gen Virtual Call Center Software
Cogito, a unique virtual call center software solution, is designed to augment call center professionals with enhanced emotional intelligence – empowering them to make better, more empathetic human connections with customers. The AI platform analyzes behavioral signals live during the course of a conversation to deliver meaningful coaching guidance to both agents and supervisors in real-time.
The transition to remote work has left supervisors with unique challenges – they are used to being in the midst of the call center floor, listening intently to agent conversations. With Cogito, supervisors can virtually walk the floor with a live view of their team, seeing which agents are on a call, a summary of their behavioral guidance notifications, and a customer experience (CX) score, which is an instant measure of customer sentiment. If a Supervisor notices an agent struggling or a customer has a low CX score, they can reach out in a timely manner to provide feedback. It is not enough to provide feedback after the call – for coaching to be most effective it needs to happen in the moment. And for those 1:1 coaching sessions that do take place, Cogito helps by identifying moments in calls that exhibit specific coachable behaviors and surfaces them for both supervisors and agents to streamline and focus the sessions.
It’s nice to be appreciated, but it’s also tough to recognize a job well done from a home office. Cogito flags top calls and notifies supervisors, resulting in increased team recognition and higher employee morale. Cogito’s “Positive Interaction” notification appears when an agent and a customer are effectively connecting. This live guidance reinforces positive call behaviors. Regardless of location, supervisors can rely on Cogito to help guide coach agents on every call to ensure consistently high customer experiences.
Many successful companies, like Aviva Canada, are leveraging Cogito’s virtual call center software to empower their remote agents. Bryant Vernon, Chief Claims Officer at Aviva Canada stated,
“Cogito, integrated with Five9, will not only help us maintain and build employee culture in a remote world, but also enable us to improve customer experience with more empathic and personalized interactions. This is perfectly aligned to our customer-centric strategy and will ultimately help us adapt to evolving customer and employee needs more quickly.”
As we’ve discussed there are several benefits to virtual call centers and all indications point to them continuing to gain in popularity into the future. Virtual call center software like Cogito is enhancing virtual call center agent performance and employee experience while also helping virtual call center supervisors to coach more effectively and stay better connected to their teams.