When you make an enquiry through a customer help number, you may not be able to tell if it is a regular call center or a virtual call center services provider. Regular call centers run by companies are usually limited to normal business hours, while calls may be routed to virtual call centers past these hours.
In the case of virtual call center services, customers are able to call at their own convenience. The customer service representatives for virtual call centers can also work at their own convenience for these virtual call center representatives may be able to work hours that suit them. The difference in time zones is an added advantage as the representative can comfortably handle incoming calls at odd hours. Routing customer calls beyond these business hours are directed via an on-demand call center provider or a web-hosted one. Virtual customer service agents work at their schedules and simply work from home.
A desktop PC is the key requirement for virtual call centers. The computer should have an adaptable operating system such as Windows XP, should also have speakers or sound cards, RAM should be greater than 512 MB and 1Ghz-2Ghz processor are the basics. Phone services (landlines) are also necessary. Corded telephones with noise-canceling microphones can also be required by the employing company. Internet connection, instant messaging accounts (such as Yahoo Messenger or AIM), web browser and email account are also necessary. Companies may specify providers depending on their preferences. Some companies may require that one have a printer but not all. The routing by the web-hosted call center will then be made. The calls are routed to an available representative with the right set of skills to handle the complaint or enquiry of the customer. It is important for agents to have computer skills and good customer handling skills.
Monitoring Virtual Representatives
A manager is always on hand to assist in calls that may require further resolution and a call transfer may be made as needed. A representative should be able to ask questions or seek clarifications from the manager. Answers can be sent through instant messaging.
Companies that employ the virtual call center services should use monitoring software that will allow them to manage the representatives. The monitoring software will track those representatives who are logged in, including information on number of calls they take and time taken in calls. Quality control of customer calls can be easily monitored. What of training? There are a number of online tools that can help with call center services representatives’ training.
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