Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Problem: Lack of tools to mobilize a distributed workforce.


The Description: It is common for organizations to have volunteers or workers at varying locations - especially for political groups with people nationwide. Traditionally each group of people were given a list of phone numbers to call and a web site to input their results from each call. This works, but there are many problems in this scenario:

  1. No guarantee that each number is being called
  2. No ability to update the list once its out
  3. No instant data collection methods
  4. No administrative control and monitoring
  5. Volunteers have to pay for telecom costs

In the end, the best way to avoid all these problems was to create an expensive call center or phone bank effort in each of the distributed locations.


A Solution: One of the primary technologies that offers is a solution to the distributed agent problem. The system allows a workforce to connect to the target list from any location, all they need is a phone line and a computer. Here is how it works:

  1. User logs into a secure web site and receives a call on their phone so they can talk to people on the target list.
  2. The system connects them to the people on the target list using a predictive algorithm to maximize efficiency and reduces fatigue.
  3. When they connect, the user sees full details on their browser, including a form to collect data for each connection they make.

This solution is one of the best ways to mobilize a workforce that isn't centrally located.

Example: A political organization had 800 volunteers nationwide that were helping from their homes to collect statistics for the upcoming senate elections. Using the distributed call center application, the organization was able to setup a campaign within 1 hour and email their volunteers with login credentials.

In a 3 day span, the volunteers logged in when they had time and connected to potential voters and asked them what concerns they had for the upcoming senate elections. Full statistics were collected after each call. In addition, the administrators were able to coach volunteers, see individual volunteer statistics and collect valuable data from each call that was connected.

Not only was this easy to setup, the organization increased their contact rate by 40%. Volunteers left amazing feedback, claiming it was the easiest system they ever used and the loved the fact that they could do it on their own time instead of gathering at phone bank parties. In addition to the amazing call results, the organization was now able to identify their star volunteers (ones that took the most calls and collected the most data), and gave them the recognition they deserved!

To learn more about about more distributed call center solutions, check out the following resources: