Hosted Contact Center Featured Article

The Hosted Contact Center and At-Home Agents

December 12, 2007

By Stefania Viscusi,
Assignment Desk Editor

The hosted contact center model has become an increasingly important consideration for enterprises worldwide as it offers cost-effective access to the technology needed to meet today's demands for improved productivity levels and reduced costs.

Thanks to increased adoption of broadband internet service and Software-as-a-Service, the hosted contact center enables innovative business practices such as the home agent model, which connects agents working from home to the enterprise via the Internet.
By adopting the home agent model, enterprises can save on costs and expand their geographic reach while offering improved customer service with a 24/7 operation.
With the hosted contact center, operations can take place at any time as there is no need to run a dedicated facility and agents can work from anywhere in the world at any time, so long as they have a high-speed internet connection. Since the contact center doesn’t require as much office space, the burdened cost per employee can be significantly reduced.
In addition to reduced leasing costs, further savings can be seen in the reduced cost of long distance calling when the Internet is used to make calls via VoIP. These cost savings can average $21 per hour, per agent, compared to an average of $31 an hour at a brick and mortar call center.
Additionally, due to the improved cost structure enjoyed by contact centers using the home agent model, agent retention rates can be improved by increasing agent rewards programs. And, hosted contact centers are able to hire from a broader pool of skilled agents, since it is easier to support flexible hours that are more accommodating for students, stay-at-home parents, and partially-retired workers.
Some contact center industry professionals raised concerns about the productivity of agents who are working from home and how to accurately monitor them. Hosted contact center vendors  responded by providing solutions for monitoring and recording agents as well as measuring metrics to assure agents are working as productively as they would be inside a single facility.
Considering the above benefits and the fact that the hosted contact center market is becoming an increasingly popular choice for contact centers, the home agent model is here to stay.
Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.