You've got your hosted call center software ready to go. You've worked on your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. You've advertised your phone number. You've tested and tweaked and are ready to go. So how do you handle agents?
Managing your call center agents is always going to be the biggest job in the call center. So they have to be front and center in your planning. With hosted call center software, you don't even need to have a call center. Virtual call center, virtual floor.
Your agents will already be remote from the hosted ACD system (Automatic Call Distribution system). There are a few ways you can do this:
- Have everyone work in the same location: this is the most traditional way to do things. Your call center software is hosted, but your agents all come in to the same location where you provide work stations, phones, and run a regular call center operation. Advantages: it's easier to manage people and local infrastructure. Disadvantages: you're still incurring costs of office space, agent machines, and shared facilities.
- Have several smaller satellite locations: this is a blend between everyone working in one location and everyone working remotely. The satellite offices don't have to be anywhere near where your business is located. Smaller offices may be easier to rent at a lower cost, and you may find that it's easier to hire agents in some locations over others. Advantages: you still have groups of agents you can manage, you can still manage the infrastructure. Disadvantages: you now have to manage multiple locations, and your infrastructure is spread out.
- Have your agents work remotely: so many people have everything they need to work as a call center agent at the home. With hosted call center software, all you need is a modern web browser, a broadband connection, and a soft phone to get going. Some people appreciate the ability to commute to a spare bedroom and get to work rather than commuting for 30 minutes each way. Advantages: agents no longer have to commute. You don't have to pay for a spot for them to work out of. You may not even need to pay for computers and phones if agents can be counted on to provide their own. Disadvantages: managing a bunch of people remotely is tough. You may also spend a lot of time making sure everyone's doing what they're supposed to. It also makes diagnosing technical issues a lot harder.
Whichever way you choose, your hosted contact center lets you run with it. If you wind up changing your mind, or if you need to expand quickly, it can be easier to set up small satellite locations or add remote agents rather than expanding your floor. If you have seasonal business, remote agents allow you to downsize without paying for a lot of extra real estate.