Thinking Outside the Office: Virtual Model Opens New Opportunities for Specialized Service


Thinking Outside the Office: Virtual Model Opens New Opportunities for Specialized Service

By TMCnet Special Guest
John Meyer
  |  April 29, 2013

Customers serving customers -- it’s one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing to a company that operates within a virtual environment. While it is true that virtual call centers provide cost savings, efficiency and flexibility not found in traditional brick-and-mortar centers, it is their unique ability to align the skills of call taking contractor with the company programs they service that has convinced so many companies to adopt the outsourced virtual model.

Utilizing home-based, customer service professionals who are themselves consumers of a client’s products and services allows virtual call centers to offer clients a higher level of customer care. However, the secret to finding the right agents lies in a network of small businesses with access to the nation’s largest talent pool.

Untethered by Geography

Companies concerned with delivering top-notch customer care understand that it all begins with clearly defining the type of service professional best suited to assist their customers. Some companies mistakenly believe it is better to keep their talent qualifications broad to encompass the largest number of possible agents. In reality, however, narrowing the focus by requiring specific skill sets can actually result in higher service delivery and lower overall costs.

Consider, for example, how much more effective the interaction would be between a call center professional who loves to travel and a caller booking a cruise. Or, imagine a military veteran helping another military veteran. How about people with medical billing, coding and insurance processing experience assisting customers with healthvcare service issues? From industry certifications and work experience, to language skills and even geographic locations, the more detailed, the better.

Once the desired qualifications are defined, leading virtual contact centers are able to scour North America to find small businesses with access to talent that exactly matches what their clients need. The virtual model gives these business partners the unique ability to tap into resources that otherwise may be unavailable for traditional outsourced service positions, such as graduate students, teachers, stay-at-home parents, semi-retired professionals, military veterans or other highly capable people with professional backgrounds who require work flexibility. Some companies even have programs tailored to source from specific segments. For example, Arise Virtual Solutions (News - Alert) has a military sourcing program, which encourages veterans, active members of the US Armed Forces and military spouses to establish their own small businesses and provide contact center services from home.

Another sourcing advantage of these small businesses is that they are not limited to finding talent within a certain geographically region. This is a contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar centers, which typically must source agents living within a 20-mile geographic radius of a physical office.

Aligned Interests

Using small businesses to provide virtual, on-demand, customer care services is a revolutionary solution that benefits all sides. First, because small business owners choose the client program they want to service, they are highly motivated to deliver quality results to maintain the service schedules. Also, because the agent is often the small business owner, he or she has a vested and direct financial interest in providing the best service possible. For customer care professionals, working on a client program in which they have a high brand affinity and intimate product knowledge, combined with the flexibility of working from home, provides intrinsic motivation to deliver outstanding results.

 Finally, for the client outsourcing customer service, the virtual model provides exceptional cost savings and operational efficiencies. With limited sourcing costs, faster ramp to proficiency, quicker ability to flex the pool of service providers to field unplanned increases in call volume and higher first time resolution metrics, to name a few, virtual call centers clients benefit from improved financial results and high levels of customer satisfaction.

John Meyer is co-chairman and CEO of Arise Virtual Solutions Inc (News - Alert). (

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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