Beyond the Virtual Contact Center: Remote Diagnostics Help Organizations Run Smoothly
September 26, 2013
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
, TMCnet Contributor
Contact centers aren’t what they used to be. Once a physical location that used premises-based technology to connect calls and keep track of customer records, many contact centers today have gone virtual. Using a software-based platform that is connected to the Internet or a virtual private network, a virtual call center is network of agents on computers who can be located anywhere in the world (even in their homes), tied together by a feature-rich solution that allows them to be part of the broader call center even when they are separated by geographic distance.
The benefits are many. Companies can have solutions up and running quickly, and agents can work from anywhere, which can help save on costs and ensure that the contact center remains productive even if physical premises are unavailable due to power outages or storm emergencies. Solutions such as those from virtual contact center provider 8x8 allow for robust multimedia customer service and advanced call routing that can improve the quality of service and offer better reporting and analysis of customer interactions.
Increasingly, many organizations are tying even broader functionality into the virtual contact center. Back in 2011, the city of Detroit introduced a Virtual Technician remote diagnostics program for its 60,000 vehicles. When a city vehicle has a warning light flash on indicating a problem, the Virtual Technician creates a data log that records all the operating parameters from 60 seconds prior to, and 15 seconds after, the moment the light appeared on the dash. Since its implementation, the Virtual Technician has logged more than two million incidents.
When an incident is reported, the Virtual Technician sends the fault code to a call center based in Redford, Mich., where technicians investigate the problem remotely while the truck is still in service, and then advise the driver or fleet owner on the most appropriate course of action, according to a profile of the system on Truck News.
“Just one time you can prevent that truck from going out of service pays the incremental cost of Virtual Technician, so it’s pretty easy math,” said David Hames, general manager, marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America.
Since the vehicle’s problem usually occurs for about 30 seconds prior to the light appearing on the dash, it’s critical to examine what took place in the moments before the light came on to make an accurate diagnosis, according to Marty Kubiak, manager of the Virtual Technician customer support center, which employs about 45 people.
The future of contact centers, increasingly, is virtual. Beyond call center platforms themselves, the technology is lending itself is to a variety of integrated functions that can help businesses run more efficiently without the limitations of geography and proximity.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey