Expand Your Call Center Universe
Other cost drivers cited by Peterson include the number of contact center seats and call volume. Voice quality is another concern revealed by Yankee Group’s survey. Because the human voice is broken down into packets of data in a VoIP system, some of those packets can get lost along the way, resulting in a stuttering or echo-filled phone conversation between the CSRs and your customers.
But voice quality is improving, Peterson says, because the compression algorithms used to convert the human voice are getting better. He notes that today’s compression methods allow contact centers to put twice as many reps on the phone using standard VoIP trunking compared to a typical non-VoIP T-1 line.
But one attraction of VoIP is the capability to create virtual call centers, making the physical location of your call center immaterial. Whether you’re managing two contact centers across the street from one another or across the country, all of the agents working at these centers are logged into the same system.
While this can be done with traditional phone lines, it requires each site to have its own internal network, which must then be linked to the other networks. VoIP flattens the architecture of this system by creating a single contact center that covers each site, Peterson says. This reduced complexity smooths things out from an administrative point of view.
The decentralized contact center model made easier by VoIP also ensures that if one contact center is incapacitated for one reason or another, there always will be one to take its place. Chris Powell, contact center manager at Vermont Teddy Bear, says that he institutes a similar practice during the gift cataloger’s holiday sales spikes. “I don’t like to put all of my eggs in one basket,” he says. “So during our busiest season, I employ several off-site contact centers in addition to hiring more agents in the in-house contact center.”