Monday, November 17, 2008

Virtual Contact Centers

Leslie Nelson, responsible for customer management at Bluefly a retailer that strives to be the store of first resort for designer fashions, gave an exciting talk about their experience with virtual contact centers.

Why do they go the virtual route?

- quality problems
-costs were spiraling out of control
- problems with attendance
-trouble with training
- "superagents" were training, even though they were not trained as trainers

They tried adding call centers, but then they quickly decided to outsource as they are NOT an expert in call center management. They looked at many different potential partners.
They selected a firm, VIP Desk, known for their virtual approach to customer service and their hosting support for luxury brands

Now Bluefly has people who, because they are virtual, have a much better worl/life situation. And they don't have to fill up their tank on the way to their office! So, Bluefly has a 95% retention rate. They are several KPI's the Blue "Brand Ambassodors" are assesed on and the better they do the more flexibility they have.


1st six months. Cost per contact down by 18%.
Year to date: cost per contact down 32%

Year to date, sales conversion has doubled.
Scale is now easy and fast.
Set up of new of new queues for promotions in days.

Team structure? Service leaders are responsible for quality and training only and they have a defined team.

Keys to managing outstouced virtual teams?
- Doing all of the training material in house
- Great service leaders in the outsourcer
- A communication strategy that enables agile knowledge transfer like Daily Huddles and IM, weekly business reviews and forecasting
- Online training in Webrooms allowing two way conversations led by professional trainers
word of caution: virtual training takes 150% to make sure people are engaged
- Online materials like Bluefly's "Flashionista U"
- A passionate desire to assure people on the front line have the information they need to answer the question
- Motiving teams by incentivizing with your products on which they are now more knowledgable

All in all an exciting window into the virtual contact center world!

No comments: