Now that the holidays are over and most of us are suffering from the bulge of too much food and spending too much money, those in the call center industry are still in high gear to respond to the ‘after holiday’ demands.
As important as customer service is for a company, it is even more important during and after the Christmas season. These centers serve as customer care centers to represent the frontline for a number of brands and are often the first point of contact for customers.
This importance therefore increases the pressure that is put on these call centers and employees. In the retail sector, customer service demand is critical and during the Christmas season, more than 40 percent of annual turnover occurs in a matter of weeks.
In an effort to deal with the increase in demand, a number of call centers have turned to home and outsourced resources. While not all call centers are structured to effectively implement a home-based model, many can benefit from taking some of the load off of in-house employees to improve the overall experience both internally and externally.
Consistent research of the call center industry has shown that customer service is the key differential for ensuring loyalty. According to a Right Now/Harris Interactive (News
) study, 76 percent of consumers stated that they would stop doing business with an organization as the result of a bad experience.
By implementing a home-based agent model, the call center can benefit from using an additional resource to assist with operations as required in real-time and operating as part of a Virtual Contact Center (VCC).
This strategy is increasing in popularity as companies are recognizing the benefits that can be realized from the home-based model. Datamonitor has noted that this trend has gain significant momentum in 2007. This trend is expected to continue growing each year by 36.4 percent until 2012.
A home-based model and the implementation of a Virtual Contact Center can allow operational and business managers the flexibility to balance agent skills with current and future customer demand across the entire enterprise.
Such strategies can also enable a company to incorporate agents from multiple sources, such as home and back office workers, third party outsourced agents and staff in other geographical areas.
While it is too late for those call centers struggling to handle the flurry of calls coming in from customers as a result of purchases made or gifts received over the holidays, now may be the most critical time to consider the home-based model to put in place before the net holiday season rolls around.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.