A virtual call center is a basically a call center performing similar call center services however, the agents or members of the center are remotely separated from each other instead of staying in a single office operated by an organization. What makes the call center virtual is there is no single physical office or address where the call center employees converge or go to work. Instead, they are connected or united together through the internet. In most instances like many virtual companies, employees do not personally know each other nor do they see each other physically while at work.
A virtual call center essentially utilizes alternative work schedules or flexible work schedules which are ideal for people who prefer to work at home like women, who needed to stay at home to take care of their children. While working hours may be flexible, it actually depends on the requirements of the market that the call center services. For instance, a Filipino virtual call center agent would most probably work at late night shifts if the center caters a market on the other side of the world. Aside from flexible working hours, other advantages of a virtual call center included enabling people to work remotely and productively at the comfort of their homes. There is no need to commute to and from work and face congestion and traffic. This helps save transportation costs. Because you can only be at home, one need not dress up in uniform and more importantly, can attend to things at home.
Anybody who has great communications skills and has time to work can actually apply to a virtual call center. However, there are certain home office requirements that one must have in order to be able to work in a virtual environment. One apparent requirement is a workstation or Desktop PC with the right hardware to ensure that it is capable of handling video and voice streams without conking out. A call center obviously requires audio equipment including speakers, headset and sometimes even a camera. Another important requirement is a broadband internet connection in order to connect to the virtual world. While a VOIP software may be sufficient for some call centers using free software such as Skype or even yahoo messenger. Some companies may require land line VOIP phone. Another important yet ignored requirement is a quiet, private work space at home where no one can disturb teleworker or have noises that can disrupt or disturb call handlings.
In the Philippines, virtual call center opportunities can be seen in job websites that offer online jobs such as Odesk and Craiglist. However, a more common virtual call center that is gaining popularity is online English tutorial centers. In this call center, tutors that is geographically scattered in the country teach English to clients from other countries by communicating to them online usually via Skype. Some online agents have a mediating company or agent that looks and assigns client to them. Other call center agents are independent contractors who get their clients by marketing their services over the Internet.
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