If you find yourself in the position of needing to expand your support team, one important factor will be whether you want your agents to work from a central location or a dispersed workforce. Both options will have pluses and minuses, so there’s no answer that will apply to everyone. Rather, it depends on the specifics of your organization: Do you need to provide 24/7 support? Do you anticipate random spikes in support request volume? Does your workforce value flexibility over the ability to grow into new roles with the company?
Below are some things to consider when making your choice:
Brick & mortar
A brick and mortar support center is a centralized office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone.
- Agents can more easily interact with each other, so they can rely on peers for support and advice.
- Having everyone in a single location can lower potential security risks
There are fewer administrative burdens
- Physical proximity creates an environment that offer managers the ability to monitor and provide motivation
- Since it’s more traditional, career paths are often more defined
Agents can be based anywhere without installing any special hardware or software. A work-at-home agent simply logs into the web-based application to begin taking customer calls, emails, or chat sessions. Virtual agent representatives are geographically dispersed, rather than being situated at workstations in a building operated by the organization. Virtual agents require an internet connection and a workstation.
- Some employees might prefer or even need to work from home
- It is often easier to pull in more agents as needed, making it easier to handle spikes in volume
- When everyone works from their own offices/homes, you save money on overhead costs
- The complexities of scheduling agents are greatly reduced as scheduling is much more flexible
- The talent pool isn’t limited to people who are able to work from your support center