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Remote call center agent management: Top ten buzzwords

Learn more about what's involved in managing remote call center agents with these buzzwords. You'll find out about technology including VoIP, VPN and IVR, as well as important metrics related to remote call center agent management.


Remote call center agents can provide flexibility in scheduling, cut down on call center turnover and offer a broader range of candidates to fill call center agent positions. As technology improves, more businesses may consider using remote call center agents to staff their call centers. Browse the buzzwords below to get more acquainted with the lingo associated with remote agents. For more information on remote call center agents, read about building a business case for remote call center agents.

Table of Contents

Top 10 remote call center agent management buzzwords
1. Adherence
2. IVR
3. Onshore outsourcing
4. QoS
5. Service level
6. Virtual call center
7. Virtual organization
8. VoIP
9. VoIP phone
10. VPN

Top 10 remote call center agent management buzzwords

 Adherence in the call center describes a call center agent's adherence to schedule. Most call centers will define a target percentage for adherence that allows some cushion. Recently more call centers have been exploring the option of remote agents to avoid scheduling problems. Call center managers may turn to remote agents to fill a need for part-timers to staff peak or off-hour periods or a need for call center agents with flexible schedules who are not tied to specific shifts. Find out more on call center metrics with this glossary.

 Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to the appropriate recipient. An IVR system (IVRS) accepts a combination of voice telephone input and touch-tone keypad selection and provides appropriate responses in the form of voice, fax, callback, email and perhaps other media. Learn more in this IVR case study.

 Onshore outsourcing (also called domestic outsourcing) is the obtaining of services from someone outside a company but within the same country. Also find out more about offshore outsourcing, the obtaining of services from people or companies outside the country. Browse our call center outsourcing face-off for more information.

 QoS (Quality of Service) is the idea that transmission rates, error rates, and other characteristics can be measured, improved, and, to some extent, guaranteed in advance, on the Internet and in other networks. QoS is of particular concern for the continuous transmission of high-bandwidth video and multimedia information. Transmitting this kind of content dependably is difficult in public networks using ordinary "best effort" protocols. Learn more about remote call center agent technology in this business case for remote agents.

 Service level measures the percentage of incoming calls that an agent answers live in an established amount of time. For example, a service level of 90% can be achieved if nine out of every 10 phone calls are answered before the established time limit. There are multiple approaches to determining service levels, each involving how call centers define calls. Learn more about determining service levels in a call center and building a service-level agreement when outsourcing a call center.

 Virtual call center is a call center in which the organization's representatives are geographically dispersed, rather than being situated at work stations in a building operated by the organization. Virtual call center employees may be situated in groups in a number of smaller centers, but most often they work from their own homes. This is an attractive arrangement for many employees: the hours are often flexible, and there's no dress code or commute. For the organization, the virtual call center model saves housing and equipment costs and can lead to lower employee turnover rates, which tend to be high for physical call centers. Read more in this news story on Making the virtual call center a reality.

 Virtual organization or company is one whose members are geographically apart, usually working by computer email and groupware while appearing to others to be a single, unified organization with a real physical location. Learn more about managing call center agents in the Call Center Performance Management Learning Guide.

 Voice over IP (VoIP) is an IP telephony term for a set of facilities used to manage the delivery of voice information over the Internet. VoIP involves sending voice information in digital form in discrete packets rather than by using the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). A major advantage of VoIP and Internet telephony is that it avoids the tolls charged by ordinary telephone service. Browse our VoIP in the call center guide for more on a VoIP strategy.

 VoIP phone is a telephone set designed specifically for use in a Voice over IP (VoIP) system by converting standard telephone audio into a digital format that can be transmitted over the Internet, and by converting incoming digital phone signals from the Internet to standard telephone audio. A VoIP phone allows the user to take advantage of VoIP technology without involving a personal computer, although an Internet connection is required. Physically, a VoIP phone set resembles a traditional hard wired or cordless telephone set. It employs the familiar ear and mouth arrangement with an earphone (or earpiece) for listening to incoming audio, and a microphone (or mouthpiece) for transmitting audio. Read more about VoIP options in this tip on Comparing VoIP service offerings

 Virtual private network (VPN) is a network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network. A virtual private network can be contrasted with an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can only be used by one organization. The goal of a VPN is to provide the organization with the same capabilities, but at a much lower cost. A VPN works by using the shared public infrastructure while maintaining privacy through security procedures and tunneling protocols. Read more from Donna Fluss on using remote call center agents.


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