We’ve all come across them in our working and personal lives. The call centre, that is. Loved my millions across the globe, a call centre is a centralised office used for the purpose of administering incoming product support or information inquiries from customers.

Sadly, call centres have created a bad image for themselves from the deluge of outgoing calls used for telemarketing, clientele, product services, and debt collection. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre.

Live-Agent UK, a new virtual contact centre (VCC) company, is challenging traditional outsourcers, bricks and mortar call centres and existing at home agent contact centres with a flexible – and they say cost-effective – model that combines the need for an ever-improving customer experience delivered at a lower cost.

Live-Agent offers a new way of working that matches the desire for people to work more flexibly – both in terms of location, number of hours and the time of day those hours are worked. The model of home-based agents provides a resource pool for customers that can be pulled from anywhere in the country – at anytime of day or night, for any amount of time required.

Allegedly, Live-Agents are ‘highly skilled’ and undergo an ‘intensive’ recruitment process – something the company says is rarely seen in the contact centre space. This apparently results in significantly lower churn – on average 15% compared to the rest of the industry, which runs at about 80%. This model of matching resources to business customer demands means that Live-Agent intends to attract over 2000 agents in the next two years.

To operate this new business model, Live-Agent is deploying ‘LiveOps’ On-Demand Contact Center Platform’. This cloud computing based call centre platform provides a pay-per use solution that delivers enterprise-grade reliability, security and scalability. Live-Agent will be building on the LiveOps On-Demand Contact Center Platform with its systems integration capability and other value-added related services.

This new approach to contact centres breaks down the traditional model of capital intensive physical call centres with largely fixed overheads, to a cloud-based model supported by home-based agents, all on an operational cost basis. Businesses could use Live-Agent for a fully out-sourced contact centre but equally use it to complement an existing bricks and mortar operation by using a VCC to focus on overflow calls, off-peak times, seasonal spikes or disaster recovery.

Live-Agent see the biggest growth opportunities in retail, financial services, e-commerce businesses, support service companies as well as the public sector.