The continuing march of technology is having a massive impact on the operations of contact centers worldwide. Solutions that were unheard of several years ago are now extremely prevalent throughout the industry, allowing for businesses and consumers to communicate like never before. From worldwide inbound phone numbers, to hosted call center solutions, software based noise cancelling technologies, voice broadcasting, and predictive dialing- the choices are diverse and powerful. Call center operations executives are being presented with tools that make a big difference in productivity at call centers."It's amazing that we are seeing demand from all corners of the world for the most advanced call center solutions," said Lloyd Gomberg, Senior Vice President of hosted call center provider Freedom TeleWork. "We have a call center in Kenya seemlessly handling inbound calls for a United Kingdom based manufacturer" said Gomberg.
The technology at work here: Internet based DID's, or direct inbound dialed numbers. These are phone numbers associated with a particular country and city which are "local" to the caller but which ring into a comapany or a call center anywhere in the world. 'The call ends up hitting a server somewhere, where the call is re routed to another location anywhere in the world, even being routed to any regular phone line in the world," said Gomberg. The pace of innovation and change in the industry is almost dizzying.
Whereas once headsets with noise cancelling technology was the latest and greatest call center solution, even this technology is in the throes of being dramatically improved. New software is allowing companies to record voice files of at home TeleWorkers, which is then used to sample any audio input sent through the headset. "If the audio does not match the voice sample it is disregarded. It's a great approach to avoid having a screaming child, or a barking dog or a bus turning the corner being broadcasted to customers on the other end of the line" said Gomberg. Hosted call center solutions are another huge area of growth in the industry.
"This solution saves dramatically on long distance costs, telephone line costs,hardware based switches, and increases agent productivity and satisfaction. It is almost unheard of today for a new call center or a call center expansion at an existing facility to take place today without using these call center solutions" said Gomberg. The growth of these technologies is being fueled around the world in every region, but it is particularly appealing in emerging markets where there has already been less of an investment in fixed infrastructure of switches, lines, and every thing else that goes into traditional brick and mortar call center solutions. The move towards utilizing at home TeleWorker Agents is another emerging trend coming on strong as a call center solution. It answers the problem that call centers have experienced for years- massive turnover of their workforces.
"It used to be that an average call center based agent wouold have a longevity on the job of about 90 days. The work was stressful, and demands of young children at home and aging parents competed with their jobs. Now, using call center solutions such as whispermode, and barge in mode, and recording every call, or random calls as MP3 files, call center managers have become more comfortable in expanding their workforce using at home workers" said Gomberg. It is one of the most important trends in using technology to implement call center solutions, according to Gomberg.
This is because at home workers do not add to call call centers real estate footprint, or use up bandwidth, or even drink the coffee at the call center. "The savings are enormous in this call center solution" said Gomberg. One thing is for sure-call center solutions will continue to evolve and play an ever greater role in bringing cost efficiencies and productivity enhancements to call centers. Even something as mundane as creating the screen that a call center agent uses has now benefitted from the march of technology. "We allow our customers to upload calling lists with field definition labels at the top of the list" said Gomberg.
"Then by selecting which fields they want to appear on the agent screen, the administrator is able to create dynamically any number of agent screens on the fly for their campaigns. It wasn't that long ago that all of this had to be programmed up, said Gomberg.
Jennifer Hannah Gross is Vice President for Marketing and works at Freedom Telework Inc., a virtual call center company that offers hosted call center solutions and services such as progressive dialing, inbound call center, chat, predictive dialing, and many more.
By Jennifer Gross