Liveops Inc.: The Contact Centre Reinvented

Posted: 27 Feb 2017

See all articles by Konstantinos I. Stouras

Konstantinos I. Stouras

UCD, Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Karan Girotra

Cornell Tech; Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Serguei Netessine

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 1, 2014


The case is about a new type of contact center – the virtual contact center – that employs a geographically dispersed workforce in the cloud. Founded in 2000, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, LiveOps’ ‘home-shore’ business model combines a dual innovation: (1) it allows agents to work when they want and pays them only for the time they are serving customers, (2) it rewards its top-performing agents who handle the most calls with higher earnings. While originating as a cost-saving approach, the flexibility of the virtual contact center also responds to the challenges of matching demand for calls with the employee supply, which is typically impossible to predict.

After Hurricane Katrina, the COO of the American Red Cross (ARC), Harley Jones, has to set up a contact center within hours to help storm evacuees connect with their relatives. He needs to evaluate three alternative types of contact center: the traditional brick-and-mortar operation, the offshore model, and the virtual service provider (LiveOps), taking into account the following dimensions: 1. Promised service level. Providing a superior level of service is the first priority and key to successfully handing the Katrina crisis. What type of contact center offers the necessary capacity to cover an unprecedentedly high spike in call volume? 2. Fast scalability. Given the emergency and the time constraints of the situation, which service provider can most reliably “answer the call”? 3. Cost of the whole operation. What is the most financially viable option for a charity-based organization like the ARC? 4. Agents’ average profile. Given that different types of contact centers attract agents of various ages, educational, professional and cultural backgrounds, should the ARC utilize the workforce of a B&M, offshore or virtual contact center?

Learning Objective: To compare and contrast traditional and work-from-home (virtual) contact centers. Investigate the impact of a traditional contact center using a home-shoring business model.

Keywords: work-from-home contact centers, virtual contact centers, on-demand service platforms, online communities

Suggested Citation

Stouras, Konstantinos I. and Girotra, Karan and Netessine, Serguei, Liveops Inc.: The Contact Centre Reinvented (October 1, 2014). INSEAD Working Paper No. 6097. Available at SSRN:

Konstantinos I. Stouras (Contact Author)

UCD, Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School ( email )

Carysfort Ave

Karan Girotra

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States


Cornell SC Johnson College of Business ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14850
United States


Serguei Netessine

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6367
United States
(215) 573 3571 (Phone)


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