By Doris Primicerio
In the October issue of Connections, I wrote an article on agent cost entitled, “What Does an Agent Really Cost, and Could You Use an Extra One or Two?” I ended that article by saying, “I look forward to the day when we all will be able to walk out our doors and not have to worry about agents answering the phones or the equipment not working.” This is our new future, and after almost two years, the progress is picking up speed. For many months I have read articles about remote agents becoming the way our call centers will work in the future. Today, this is no longer the future; it is the present. Also, there have been numerous articles about the hosted system becoming the future, and it too is now the present.
For the first time, we have connected a hosted system to the remote agents–not here in the U.S., but in the Philippines. What a breakthrough! The connection was made, and it is flawless. I spoke for almost an hour with my IT manager in the Philippines, and it was as though he were sitting right next to me.
The reason for the excitement is that it has not always been easy to make the international connection. In fact, there were times when we thought this was not going to work. While in the Philippines, it took six weeks to make the international connection. Our second campaign in Wisconsin took three weeks to make the connection. However, this most recent connection was made immediately using the Alston Tascom Hosted System.
Our Orlando call center has eighteen agents located in the Philippines. A client in Wisconsin has just ordered another agent which was added without a problem. With the hosted system, we will now service a client in Washington State, using two positions for three agents.
Agent outsourcing is not just for large companies wanting to save money and take the stress out of hiring and maintaining a large staff; it is also ideal for the small call center as well. Now, an operation that has not yet upgraded to sophisticated equipment (with all the new technology to provide the most up-to-date services for their clients) can now do so for a minimal cost. With a hosted system, you pay a per-month charge for each position, instead of putting out thousands of dollars to buy your own switch. Plus, if you outsource your agents, the savings can help pay–or in some cases, pay for–the hosted system.
We are excited about the future of our industry and the direction it is going. We will not stop here; the next breakthrough is in the works and on its way.
Doris Primicerio is president of WW-Outsourcing International Services in Orlando, Florida (licensed to do business in the Philippines). She has thirty-four years of experience in the telemessaging industry and is also president of A Courteous Communications. For more about agent outsourcing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-785-4766.
[From Connection Magazine – January 2008]