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With the addition of wireless technology in the contact center for agent phones, we have agreed to a pilot project of deploying wireless phones to 20 agents. While being mobile is a benefit in that the agent can be reached when not at their desk, we see a trend where agents now tend to take advantage of mobility more than we anticipated. Has this been an issue for other contact centers and if so, have you seen any policy/procedure standards related to minimizing agent mobility within the contact center? Please let us know what is happening.

With the addition of wireless technology in the contact center for agent phones, we have agreed to a pilot project of deploying wireless phones to 20 agents. While being mobile is a benefit in that the agent can be reached when not at their desk, we see a trend where agents now tend to take advantage of mobility more than we anticipated. Has this been an issue for other contact centers and if so, have you seen any policy/procedure standards related to minimizing agent mobility within the contact center? Please let us know what is happening.

8/31/2010

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Question
With the addition of wireless technology in the contact center for agent phones, we have agreed to a pilot project of deploying wireless phones to 20 agents. While being mobile is a benefit in that the agent can be reached when not at their desk, we see a trend where agents now tend to take advantage of mobility more than we anticipated. Has this been an issue for other contact centers and if so, have you seen any policy/procedure standards related to minimizing agent mobility within the contact center? Please let us know what is happening.

Answer

Although the vendors are increasingly discussing and marketing the concept of mobility, it is just beginning to make its way into contact centers. As you pointed out, it is conceptually compelling as it allows companies to have easy access to their agents at most times, but it also comes with its own set of operational challenges.

In contact centers, reaching agents is generally only the first step in helping customers. After customers explain why they are reaching out, agents frequently need access to one or more servicing, sales or operating applications in order to address the inquiry, process an order, etc. While it’s relatively easy to use mobile technology to free agents from their desktops, it’s not as convenient for them to walk around with devices that allow them to access their systems for servicing/sales/collections, etc., anywhere. Addressing this requirement is necessary before mobile technology is rolled out to contact centers. There are, however, some situations where mobile agent technology has already proven to be useful. These include:

  • Emergency centers and hotlines: Bringing in additional resources, such as counselors and superiors, to manage a call is common. Mobility enables agents to move into a situation room where these additional resources are located without having to break away from or abandon vulnerable, at-risk callers.
  • Technical support: Occasionally there is down time during a support call, such as when a caller wants the agent to remain on the line while they perform a task that was requested by the agent. During the down time, mobility offers agents the flexibility to manage other tasks without leaving the call.
  • Retail sales: Quite a few companies are beginning to include their retail sales people as a back-up service staff for the contact center when call volumes are high. As sales people cannot be tied to desks, mobility is essential.

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