According to the Flexjobs.com article, “Remote Work Statistics for 2019: Shifting Norms and Expectations”, “in 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million.” The increasing trend of work-from-home jobs is also reflected in the rise of virtual contact centers. Perhaps it was inevitable, given the increasing interest towards working-from-home, reducing the work commute, and flexible work schedules. In this article, I’m going to be covering the basics of what constitutes a virtual contact center, what’s driving the trend in the industry, and a quick overview of things to consider when setting up your own virtual workforce.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Virtual Contact Center
With a virtual contact center, your teams are essentially “virtually” employed in the sense that they are not required to sit in a particular office in one specific geographical area in order to do their work. Agents in a virtual workforce environment can work from any location in the world connected to a central (or local) organizational structure.
The deployment of virtual contact centers offers a number of different benefits. They are usually housed in the cloud which means that the flexibility and scalability of the business can be more easily achieved. It costs significantly less to use virtual contact center solutions as opposed to paying for office space, utilities, and equipment. Not having a geographical limit in terms of recruitment also means that you are not limited to a specific location for hiring people with a specific skill set. In addition, employees who have the option to work from home tend to be happier and more positive, factors which reflect in reduced attrition rates, improved work relationships, and higher consumer satisfaction rates.
What’s Driving the Virtual Contact Center Trend?
Quite simply, workers are actively seeking improved work-life balance. The younger, millennial workforce, is increasingly demanding a work-schedule that offers convenience, flexibility, and personal satisfaction. This is in contrast to older generations who valued having a stable job and were willing to stick it out for any length of time to achieve a sense of security.
Today, employers are having to work harder to attract high quality workers and to keep them on for longer periods of time.
Having options to work virtually from the comfort of their own home-office is increasingly being seen as an attractive alternative to employees. For companies, it can also be beneficial from the perspectives of costs, scalability, safety, security of internal data, availability of technology, and recruiting happier and more productive employees.
Mapping Out Your Own Virtual Workforce
A similar checklist for setting up a physical contact center can be applied in the case of a virtual contact center, with a few exceptions. Here are some things to consider:
- Create a current and projected estimate of your staffing needs. Consider the amount of staff you need, their positions, and skill sets.
- Think about the locations that you want your virtual contact centers to operate out of and conduct in-depth research into pros and cons.
- Narrow down the types of technology you will need based on the services you will be providing as well your back-end management requirements. If the budget is a constraint, focus on “need-to-haves” in your virtual workforce software as opposed to “good-to-haves”.
- Create a game plan. A virtual contact center can take a minimum of 6 months to a year to roll out successfully and there will be many moments where you will be working to get things off the ground.
Bear in mind that while there are a lot of positives to adopting a virtual contact center model, the methodology is not without areas of concern. Learning everything you can about the business model is fundamental to ensuring a successful launch for your operations.
Are you considering setting up a virtual contact center?
CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience (CX) verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you to achieve exponential growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.