Virtual Call Center
For Award Vacation (www.awardvacations.com) President Bill Reed, setting up a distributed call center that would quickly and spontaneously route inbound calls to remote agents working from home was a critical element of the travel wholesaler’s business strategy. As a destination vacation management company specializing in the creation of private brand vacation programs, Award employees deal extensively with Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Tourism Offices, travel agents and the general public. The company operates two interactive vacation web sites, a travel agent only commissionable website (www.travelagentrez.com) and a vacation mall (www.internetvacationmall.com) for the general public. Due to the broad nature of incoming calls and the geographic distribution of Award’s workforce, Reed wanted to make certain that all telephone inquiries were tracked, managed and routed promptly and accurately.
Reed discovered the Virtual PBX® hosted business phone system that enabled his company to quickly and affordably establish a sophisticated call center operation to support Award’s remote employees. It wasn’t necessary to purchase expensive equipment or technology in order to accomplish this either. Since it is offered as a month-to-month service delivered over a commercial telephone network and not a physical phone switch requiring installation, programming and maintenance, the Virtual PBX® was an ideal solution for Award’s complex and variable communications needs.
With the Virtual PBX® service, Award is assigned as many 800 toll free numbers as required to handle and route all categories of calls. At the moment, Award utilizes 25 toll free numbers allocated to various customers for whom it operates vacation programs. When a call comes in, the system announces the caller’s name and which toll free number is being used. Any agent logged into the corresponding queue can answer each number. As the need arises, additional toll free numbers can be instantly created and made available to clients.
As with a standard on-site PBX system, all Virtual PBX® numbers carry a customized auto attendant greeting along with features like automatic call distribution (ACD) queues, voice and fax mail, music or message on hold, new message paging, follow me calling and online management of call queues. When customers call in, they are prompted to either enter an extension or a particular department. After the initial transfer is made, the call is still live and may then be routed to other employees regardless of where they are situated or how long the call is active.
“Having an outside provider like Virtual PBX® completely handle our telephone communication needs is like having a dedicated telecom person on staff,” said Reed. “We have no capital investment in a phone switch and no software to continually maintain and upgrade. It’s been very flexible, allowing us to add numbers and agent extensions in hours, unlike dealing with telecom companies that take days.”
Award Vacation has been able to maintain a consistently strong customer service profile within the travel and tourism community due, in part, to the reliability, speed and flexibility of the Virtual PBX® solution. As a company whose primary business is providing tourism organizations with a turnkey total management solution to vacation packaging, it is important that Award’s internal operations run as smoothly as the services it offers its customers.