Expand Your Call Center Universe
Lou Orsi, vice president of vendor and service center relations for Carle Place, N.Y.-based multititle gift cataloger 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, says he’s been using home-based reps for more than five years because of their increased performance.
“These professionals,” he says, “often are able to outperform traditional reps because they’re older, more experienced and dedicated, so they can continue to work from home profitably.”
Peterson also points out that another cataloger uses VoIP to allow CSRs to work from home to enable them to avoid sloshing around in snowy Colorado weather. While that’s a special case due to the nature of doing business in that part of the country, some other catalogers let their agents work from home as a perk. For instance, a West Coast-based cataloger in a high-traffic city has moved 30 of its 450 CSRs to home-based operations because it’s easier than fighting through Seattle freeway traffic.
Some VoIP Suppliers
• Avaya offers hosted Internet protocol (IP) telephony on a per user, per month basis for small- to medium-sized businesses. Services include network infrastructure for on-site IP applications, including distributed contact center models, which allow agents to work remotely from any location. For information, visit Avaya.com.
• Siemens’ HiPath family of VoIP solutions offers a scaled model for growing contact center operations. Small- to medium- sized businesses can start off with HiPath 3000, which offers real-time instant messaging between connected agents. Additionally, Siemens’ solution allows the ability to mix and match IP and traditional telephones within the same system. For more, visit Siemens.com.
• Nortel’s Contact Center Manager Server offers skill-based routing, which automatically routes calls to the agents best equipped to handle them, whether you’re operating at one site or across multiple locations. For more, visit Nortel.com.
• Cisco’s Unified Communications Solution combines voice and data products to allow agents to access and manage voicemail, e-mail and fax messages from a single mailbox. The IP infrastructure also includes power over ethernet so phones stay connected, even in the event of a local power outage. For information, visit Cisco.com.