West VACD removes agents' geographic limitations.

Author:Butcher, David R.
Position:Virtual automatic call distributor

This monthly feature generally offers, unbiased and without endorsement, product options to readers. February's exposition is slightly more abstract; the information subsequently offered is not so much of a product as it is of a technology that makes products possible.

West Corporation's Virtual ACD (automatic call distributor) is a centralized call- and data-routing platform, the purpose of which is to remove the limitations of traditional call center solutions and to offer an extensive network of agents--hopefully educated and highly skilled--located throughout the world. The company's VACD technology is VRU (voice response unit)-based, therefore eliminating geographical limitations of agent location.

(West has extensive VACD hubs with 135,000+ port capacity--agent-to-port relationship--in addition to full IVR/ASR integration, to handle large programs. There are four data centers in the United States running VACD.)

And because of the taut, intimate relationship between the technology and the solution, VACD simply cannot be discussed without mentioning West at Home, as the former enables the latter. Different from other home-based agent programs, West at Home is one part of a complementary suite of outsourced customer acquisition and customer care solutions.

The company's fully redundant VACD is directly critical to West at Home, the aforementioned solution that combines traditional call center agents, offshore and nearshore agents, and home agents--in essence, a virtual call center--as each variable agent in this agent program is linked through the central VACD technology. (See the illustration.)

During peak calling periods, the network's overflow call volume is directed to West's Virtual ACD, which enables West to quickly route calls and data to one of the company's home-based agents located nationwide or to traditional call center agents, over a secure Internet connection. The VACD automatically determines where to direct calls, through an integrated, skills-based routing scheme, in order to assure seamless call delivery to the best-suited agent on an as-needed basis. This technology enables West to support various distributed workforces, including traditional call center agents, home agents...

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