Posts Tagged ‘remote agents’

5 Customer Service Trends And Predictions You Should Watch Out For in 2020

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 by Elemér Erdősi No Comments

As 2019 increasingly becomes a distant memory, it’s time to gear up for the newest customer service trends in the ever-evolving contact center industry.

In this new age of customer experience, expect self-service tools, live engagement tools and integrations to continue their rise to the top.

In addition, although we’ve only recently started to embrace omnichannel customer service, it’s already time to take the next step and introduce the optichannel approach to your customer interactions.

And finally, will 2020 be the year that sees remote agents replace in-house agents as the preferred choice for contact centers?

There’s no doubt that 2020 will see both new trends emerging as well as some already-established technologies reaching their full potential. So, let’s take a closer look!

Automated self-service tools to become more important in customer support

Customers today are increasingly looking to solve their problems themselves, rather than spend time dialing customer service lines. As a result, customer self-service has become ever-more popular with companies, allowing them to provide a comparatively simple way to handle customer queries.

Self-service is nothing new to customer service, however, in 2020 we’re going to see further technological improvements which will allow companies to handle an even greater amount of their customer queries using self-service tools.

Self-service IVRs are definitely on the rise, and in 2020 we can expect a major increase in their use. It’s also worth mentioning speech-to-text and text-to-speech technologies, which, while relatively new AI-powered IVR technologies, are expected to gain significant popularity in the upcoming years.

The difference between Contact Centers and CRM systems will become a fine line

One hot topic customer service experts are increasingly focusing on is how to create  smooth customer journeys.

Walking customers through a smooth customer journey means successfully fulfilling their needs. But if you don’t know anything about your customers, then it’s not very likely that you will be able to provide them with the customer experience they will be expecting from you.

A CRM system allows your business to collect customer data, identify the most valuable customers over time, and eventually increase customer loyalty by providing personalized customer service.

But if your system is not integrated with your CC solution, you agents will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. And if your solutions are not capable of transferring data from one system to another, your employees will face a significant administrative burden, as they will be doubling the amount of data they have to deal with.

However, there are now an increasing number of solutions out there which offer easy integration with CRM systems. And as most contact centers are now starting to prefer such solutions, we can safely say that in the future there will only be a fine line between contact center solutions and CRM systems.

Solving real-time problem solving with live engagement tools to become more common

In our ever-accelerated world, there’s no doubt that time is our most valued asset. It is no different in customer service, with the majority of customers looking for fast responses and quick resolutions, but with the minimum of effort.

However, when communication is restricted to sending information back and forth via email or similar, it is often difficult to figure out what many customer queries are really about. But if your agents are instead able to utilize real-time communication capabilities, and engage with customers via live engagements tools, they can deliver instant support.

That is why more and more contact centers started to rely on live engagement tools such as video chat or co-browsing in order to boost customer experience through efficient problem resolution.

Besides boosting customer experience, live engagement tools also help improve team productivity, as faster support allows agents to handle customer queries more efficiently.

More and more contact centers will switch to the Optichannel Approach

The terms multichannel, omnichannel, and now optichannel, are often used interchangeably. And while all of these terms are related, there is a significant difference between them.  

Multichannel communication means leveraging several channels when interacting with customers. Omnichannel communication takes things to the next level by aligning the channels utilized. But what about Optichannel? Well, when it comes to interacting with customers, companies need to rely on the most efficient communication methods. And this is where Optichannel provides the best fit yet.

Indeed, having only just started to embrace the Omnichannel concept, Optichannel is the new buzzword taking over the customer service landscape. While Omnichannel allows customers to engage with companies on their preferred channel, with Optichannel communication it is your business that specifically determines the optimal channel for your customers based on your goals for each channel and available customer information.  

With technologies and strategies changing in the blink of the eyes in the customer service industry, there’s no doubt that it is the Optichannel approach that will rule 2020.

Remote agents to become increasingly more important

Hiring remote agents is not a new thing in the contact center world. Indeed, most contact centers already benefit from the concept of hiring remote agents in order to save costs and add multilingual talent to their teams.  

In 2020, customer service experts anticipate that the remote working trend will grow even more significantly, and for good reason: hiring remote agents is more affordable and economical, and it allows contact centers to gain access to a global pool of talent, which is increasingly a must for customer service departments operating internationally. Furthermore, according to a recent Forbes article, 91% of remote workers feel they are more productive when working remotely.

So will remote agents take over in-house representatives? Well, for now companies normally provides employees with partial remote working opportunities, but chances are that slowly, but surely, we’re getting there. 

So, these are my ideas for the future of customer experience, but I’m sure there are other trends out there in your mind we all could benefit from. So what are your customer service predictions for 2020? Share them with us in the comments section!

Managing inbound and outbound calls efficiently with VCC Live® – a case study

Posted on: July 31st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“Reaching 30% more customers is a real game-changer for us, we definitely managed to revolutionize our outbound campaigns with VCC Live.” – Tamás Nyári, Head of IT CEE, Telemarketing International

As one of the largest teleshop companies in the Central and Eastern European region, sending out an average of around 4000 packages per day, exceptional customer experience and smooth processes are an absolute must for Telemarketing.

This is why they decided to leverage VCC Live’s solution.

The Case

Our latest case study describes how, since leveraging VCC Live®, Telemarketing managed to take their operations to a whole new level. Check out our case study to find out:

  • how we offered Telemarketing a solution that can be easily utilized by their remote agents
  • how VCC Live® provided the company with an advanced wallboard, allowing them to see the whole picture in real-time
  • how VCC Live®’s predictive dialer enabled Telemarketing to reach 30% more customers
  • how we allowed the company to manage its logistics in a timely manner with system integrations

Introducing VCC Live®’s solution has truly revolutionized both Telemarketing’s inbound and outbound campaigns, allowing them to better handle their incoming calls and reach 30% more customers while unifying and monitoring their processes in real-time.

Read our case study and learn more about the benefits of VCC Live®’s advanced inbound and outbound features!

Remote Agents in the Call Center: a Trend You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Posted on: July 12th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

The call center industry is undergoing significant changes at the moment, with the general trend seeing a significant increase in hiring remote agents.

Remote work is gaining popularity in the call center, and for good reason. But is it really worth relying call center activities on remote workforce?

Besides a number of benefits we already talked about in a previous article, recent studies have shown that remote agents are more productive. Also, it seems they enjoy working from home and wouldn’t want to give up on it.

The shift from on-premise to virtual

As these days most customer service departments operate internationally, call center activities often require flexible and multilingual workforce, which is, of course, challenging to hire.

At the same time, the rise of cloud contact center technology enabled for call centers to provide their agents with an easy-to-use solution that requires no IT maintenance and can be accessed anytime from anywhere.

As a result, call centers have slowly started to shift from bricks-and-mortar to virtual premises, leveraging home-based workforce.

Amongst other things, remote agents are cost-effective, as call centers can significantly save on office expenses. Also, employees these days increasingly prefer flexibility at work, and the idea of working remotely from home is very appealing to most of them, helping you reduce burnout in your agent team. And last but definitely not least, as already mentioned, recent studies have shown a significant increase in remote workers’ productivity.

If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of remote agents, then let the numbers speak for themselves!  

Employees prefer remote working

As of 2019, remote workforce is getting more and more popular, with 66% of companies allowing remote work and 16% being fully remote.

According to a recent survey carried out by Talentlms, employees increasingly prefer remote work opportunities. As such, 85% of remote workers say that remote work was their decision because they wanted more flexibility, to make their own hours, and to live a carefree lifestyle.”

These results are not surprising at all, considering that these days flexibility is high on the list of employees’ priorities. Today’s workers increasingly reject traditional working hierarchies, so chances are they will expect to be offered flexible working options once or twice a week, as well as a possibility of remote work.

Furthermore, according to the survey, “60% of respondents have to follow a 9-5, 5-days-a-week work schedule”. So why is it more flexible than an on-site job?

Well, home office creates a more relaxing workplace than ever-more popular open plan offices, allowing your agents to set up their ideal work environment.

And it is not only more flexible but also more cost-effective as employees don’t need to pay for commuting. Speaking of commuting, the majority of workers spend 30 minutes on average commuting. As such, remote work also allows agents to save some time.  

It’s no surprise then that only “20% of those who work from the comfort of their own home would rather go back to working in a company office.”

Productivity is the engine that keeps the call center running. And while working from home might feel lonely, almost no one feels unproductive. In fact, 90% feel they get more work done when working remotely. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

And what will the future bring to the home-based workforce model? The numbers suggest it will gain even more popularity.  

Indeed, “35% of remote workers want to work more days remotely while 6 out of 10 would like their job less if they had to say goodbye to their home office and visit their company every day to do the exact same job.”

Take away

Workplace trends are rapidly changing and it really does seem that both agents and companies can greatly benefit from adopting the home-based business model. By relying on remote agents, you can cut costs, increase productivity and keep your agents satisfied in the long run. So maybe it’s time for your call center to give it a try?  

Why VCC Live® is the Ideal Solution for Call Centers Utilizing Remote Agents

Posted on: December 4th, 2018 by Péter Málhai No Comments

In today’s ever-evolving workplace, if you aren’t prepared to react and adapt to change, it could have a dramatic long-term impact on your business. The call center industry, in particular, is undergoing significant changes at the moment, with the general trend seeing a huge shift from bricks-and-mortar to virtual premises.

In a previous article, we talked about the benefits of hiring remote agents in call centers. In this article, I’ll discuss some further benefits of utilizing remote agents, and show you how VCC Live®’s system allows businesses to make the most of the home agent model.

The move from bricks-and-mortar to virtual

There’s no doubt that the popularity of the home agent business model is skyrocketing. If you aren’t already considering utilizing remote agents, here are several reasons why you should be.

First of all, home-based agents are cost effective – for both sides. On one hand, by hiring remote agents, you can save a fortune on costs related to office space and IT infrastructure, as well as time on setting up your call center. On the other hand, working from home allows your agents to make savings on both public transportation expenses and time spent on commuting. Here at VCC Live®, we love win-win situations, and this is definitely a win-win, right?

In addition, flexible work hours can be beneficial to both employers and employees. Hiring a team of full-time agents and part-time remote agents will not only allow you to optimally allocate your resources but also let you prepare and react to peak periods. As for agents, flexible work hours and the opportunity to work from home can help them maintain an optimal work-life-balance, as well as keep their stress levels low. Indeed, it seems that employees are happier when working from home. And as we all know, happier agents are more productive agents.

Last but not least, another important benefit of leveraging remote agents is the opportunity for your business to provide multilingual customer service. And of course, by utilizing home-based agents, your business will be able to employ highly-skilled multilingual agents anywhere in the world, without being limited by geographic factors. Let’s say, for example, that your company needs to operate a call center in Germany, but needs to provide customer service in Spanish and French. In such cases, by relying on remote agents, you can easily hire native workforce instead of struggling to find the right agents in Germany while paying the extra cost for their language skills.

VCC Live®’s system – the ideal solution for utilizing remote agents

By now, you should be convinced about the pros of hiring remote agents. And, if you finally decided you need to leverage home-based agents, there’s only one thing left to think about: finding the ideal software solution to support your agents working from home.

And this is where VCC Live® comes in. Our cloud-based solution is the perfect tool for remote agents, with a number of our clients already benefiting from the solution’s features, such as real-time monitoring, which are specifically designed to fit the home-based workforce model. So, I recently asked our clients how their remote agents benefit from using our solution, and this is what they said:

Low technical requirements

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, providing the right IT infrastructure for a call center is extremely costly. With VCC Live®, however, your agents only require a USB and a headset, as well as a wired broadband internet connection, which is available in the majority of households.

Furthermore, our system can run on any computer, and is easy to download, requiring no specific IT knowledge. And it’s as easy to install as Skype or Google Chrome! Don’t forget, remote agents normally can’t just go into the next room to ask for help from the support team, so it is of utmost importance to provide them with a software solution that doesn’t require in-depth technical knowledge and have a complex IT infrastructure.

Easy-to-use solution

Providing training sessions for remote agents located all over the world often requires significant time and resources. As such, empowering agents with an easy-to-use solution is always a great idea, but if your call center relies on remote agents, then it’s an absolute must.

One of our clients, Cloudagents, a global leader in the call center industry using solely at-home agents, chose VCC Live®’s system in order to provide their remote workforce with an easy-to-use solution. Thanks to our user-friendly interface, their agents can easily master our system and therefore never experience any problems finding functions they need in order to best serve their customers.

In particular, one great advantage of VCC Live®’s system for agents is that it comes with an easy-to-use call center script editor, allowing your business to craft tailor-made scripts with multiple options, empowering your agents to access all the information they need during customer interactions.

All-in-one software

It goes without saying that making your agents navigate around several systems can negatively affect both your team’s productivity and your customer experience.

When it comes to working with at-home agents, another major advantage of VCC Live®’s system our clients highlighted is that all necessary features are available in an all-in-one solution. Therefore, your remote agents won’t need to spend their valuable time setting up several systems and navigating around them. Instead, they’ll be able to access all the features they need by using our all-in-one solution. As a result, your agents will be able to react to customer issues in a timely manner while providing exceptional customer service.

Last but not least, by relying on a single solution with all the necessary features for your system, you’ll be able to save significant time on setting up and starting your call center operations.

Customizable and easily scalable

As a global leader providing multilingual contact center services, Cloudagents has handled more than 500 projects, from customer service, to telesales and technical support. By being able to customize our system based on their specific business needs, they can offer personalized customer service and tailor-made solutions to their customers. Their business results speak for themselves!

Be it a customer database or valuable customer insights, information can be easily imported to and exported from VCC Live®’s software. As a result, at-home agents will be able to easily handle customer data in our system, again, without having to rely on additional systems. And as we’re proud holders of the ISO27001 certificate, you can be sure that your data will be 100% safe with us.

Also, your center is likely to have to deal with an increased seasonal influx of customer calls throughout the year. You already know that in such cases you can easily scale up your business by relying on part-time remote agents. What you will also need, however, is VCC Live®’s easily scalable software solution, allowing your business to react successfully to peak periods.

As you can see then, with VCC Live®’s system, you can maximize your call center operations by leveraging the popular at-home workforce model. Let’s explore how VCC Live® can help your business, together. For more information, contact us today!

The Most Important Benefits of Hiring Remote Agents

Posted on: November 16th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

The idea of hiring remote agents has become more and more popular in call centers. This, of course, has brought significant changes to the industry – luckily, in good ways.

In fact, relying on remote agents can be highly beneficial for call centers in terms of productivity, operations, and cost-effectiveness.

While the ongoing debate about home agents is a hot one, a number of recent studies have shown that the pros clearly outweigh the cons. So, let’s check out what the important benefits of the home agent model are!

Cost savings – on both sides

Perhaps the greatest argument in favor of hiring remote agents is that they are cost effective.

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, renting an office space and purchasing all the necessary office and IT facilities is extremely expensive. By utilizing home-based agents, however, you can significantly reduce costs related to office space and IT infrastructure. Also, additional costs, such as transport, employee catering and utility costs can be avoided.

Furthermore, in every call center, there are peak times when customer calls suddenly skyrocket. During these peak periods, you can easily scale up your business by adding part-time remote agents. And as part-time home-based agents receive reduced benefit packages and vacation time, again, additional cost savings can be made.

There’s no question, call centers can save a fortune by using home-based agents. But did you also realize that agents too can make savings by working from home? As gas prices and the cost of public transportation rise, traveling to and from work is getting more and more expensive. Working from home allows remote agents to save on these expenses.

Reduced agent burnout

As call centers are known for being extremely stressful environments to work in, agent retention has always been a major challenge for call center managers. However, utilizing remote agents offers the chance to reduce agent burnout, for two main reasons.

Firstly, employees these days increasingly prefer flexibility at work, and the idea of working remotely from home is very appealing, both to millennials and Gen Z’ers, as well as older generations. Gen Z’ers in particular often struggle with being chained to their desks, and chances are your more mature agents would also prefer not to spend their days in a call center. So why not provide them with the opportunity to work from home?

Secondly, the majority of workers spend 30 minutes on average commuting. But have you ever heard your employees talk about how much they enjoy that commute? I bet not. Research conducted by The Harvard Business Review demonstrates that commuting can be more stressful than actually working. Makes sense, right?

By providing the opportunity to work from home, you’ll allow your agents to get off the hamster wheel. And this is exactly why hiring remote agents can help you reduce burnout in your agent team.

Remote agents show increased productivity

Productivity has always been high on the list of priorities at call centers. According to a recent Forbes article, 91% of remote workers feel they are more productive when working remotely.

Furthermore, workspace evolution has decreased the average space per employee and increased office noise levels. This is especially true for call centers, where a bunch of agents sit close to each other while being on the phone all day long. And of course, this working environment is not for everyone. In fact, as shown in a previous infographic, 89% of open office workers say they are more productive when working alone.

In contrast, when agents are allowed to work from home, they can avoid the daily distractions of an office, such as noisy colleagues, long lunch breaks and never-ending (and often pointless) meetings. Instead, they can concentrate 100% on their ongoing projects.

Access to a global pool of talent

While almost every industry is facing workforce shortages, it’s a real struggle in the call center industry. It’s no surprise considering that the idea of working as a call center agent is not very popular among employees.

Also, as many customer service departments operate internationally, call centers often need to rely on multilingual workforces, which of course is even more challenging.

And this is where remote agents again prove their worth. By utilizing a remote workforce, you will be able to access a global pool of high-quality talent.  Furthermore, as your options will be geographically limitless, your business will be able to find the most skilled multilingual agents without being limited by geographic factors.

Take away

It’s no secret that the traditional workforce model is in free fall, and it really does seem that employees are happier when working from home. And as we all know, happier agents are more productive agents.

By relying on remote agents, you can cut costs significantly, increase productivity and decrease burnout in your agent team, while also providing you with the opportunity of hiring the best talent in the world. So, if you are not utilizing remote agents already, maybe it’s time to give it a try!