Avatars, Training Bring New Twist to Outsourced Call Center Solutions

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 30, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

Organizations that outsource their call centers to specialists in this realm can get the latest and greatest when it comes to things like agent training and interactive web responses.

So says Alicia Laszewski, vice president of corporate marketing and communications at C3 (News - Alert)/Customer Contact Channels. The company provides an Interactive Web Response solution involving avatars. Using avatars both creates a unique interface for end users and can enable call center representatives to draw more easily from a variety of data sources while delivering all such intelligence to the caller via a single interface. What’s more, the avatars can be customized to match the industries and messaging of client customers. For example, a health care client might opt to use an avatar who is wearing scrubs.

C3/Customer Contact Channels launched the avatar effort in September and as of late January was in a beta test with that application with one customer.

The company, which was founded in 1982 and in early 2010 started opening call centers, also prides itself on the way it trains and manages it workforce, which Laszewski says is unique in the industry. C3PO, a division within C3 that focuses specifically on this kind of thing, uses a training procedure that is highly interactive and repetitive. The trainer never talks too long, she says; instead, trainees learn by doing.

C3 also leverages something called a competency grid. Trainers and trainees follow this grid so every coaching session focuses on key competencies. Key areas vary, but they could include factors such as empathy and/or understanding the product. Trainees get tickets based on their performance, and at the end of day C3 coaches hand out rewards for good training results. The company can also coach call center representatives on upselling and customer retention. Through this effort, C3 has enabled one of its wireless carrier clients to incrase sales by 77 percent, Laszewski says.

C3 uses these methods and procedures both internally within its own call centers, and for clients at their centers. C3 can even do training for clients at other locations, such as their retail stores, as it does for one client, a wireless service provider.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi