Call Center: Is It Time to Go Virtual?

Remote work is becoming a reality for an increasing number of businesses. Many contact centers have also followed this trend. Do you also need to choose a virtual call center? If yes, what are the advantages? Let’s try to find out.

Why Is Virtual Call Center an Optimal Choice Now?

A virtual call center is a call center where agents don’t have to handle calls from a single office. They can take and make calls, process live chats and emails from anywhere, even from different geographical locations and time zones. Cloud-based call center software is what makes such call centers possible. 

Why is it an optimal choice now? Virtual call centers give you competitive advantages we will outline below. Moreover, they are extremely relevant in the age of remote work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made homeworking popular both among call centers and employees. The recent Buffer’s survey makes it clear: 97 % of respondents said that they would recommend remote work to others. Also, 96 % of those who work remotely due to COVID-19 said that they’d like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career. As for contact centers, the ContactBabel report The US Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide 2021 shows that on average 75% of the US contact centers use some homeworking. Therefore, it’s definitely time to go virtual.

Maintaining the Business Continuity

It’s one of the main reasons why businesses have switched to remote work across the globe. With lockdowns being introduced here and there, it’s hard to maintain a stable workflow working at the office. The same goes for call centers. Virtual call center software is operated in the cloud so you can get rid of hardware headaches and IT bureaucracy. All that your virtual call center agent needs is a headset and PC or laptop with a stable Internet connection. Then they will handle calls from every place with a fast network.

Cost-effectiveness

When running an on-premise call center, you have to invest in software, hardware, and infrastructure; spend money on office rental and pay utility bills; hire IT specialists to maintain your equipment. Virtual call center solution offers you a cost-saving alternative. As your agents can work from everywhere, you don’t need to think about renting the office space as well as premises for bulky servers. As to software, you pay only for a monthly subscription per user. You don’t need to keep an IT department because your virtual call center vendor is fully responsible for server and network equipment, its trouble-free functioning, updating, and support. Therefore, the upfront cost is significantly lower than in an on-premise call center.

Larger Talent Pool

Virtual call centers allow you to expand your pool of candidates. You aren’t limited to your city or region as in the case of an on-premise solution. Moreover, cloud-based software allows you to expand your business hours since you can hire employees from different time zones.

To learn more about hiring, onboarding, and engagement of remote agents, read our article.

Deployment Time

Typically, it takes 2-4 weeks to launch an on-premise call center (with cloud-based solutions, this time may be shortened to several days). A virtual call center can be deployed in a much shorter time. For example, the Voiptime Cloud call center solution requires 48 hours of deployment time.

Scalability and Flexibility

Suppose you run an outsourcing contact center and need more agents for a particular project. Or your e-commerce business is growing and you need to expand your call center. What would you do? With an on-premise solution, it means spending more money on hardware and software as well as searching for new office space. A virtual call center software requires much less investment. All you need is to buy additional user licenses for new agents. It’s a good option for seasonal businesses and outsourcers who don’t have a stable number of employees.

Increased Productivity

As virtual call center software is cloud-based it allows the deployment of various features that help to increase productivity. Let’s outline some of them.

1) Dialers (Predictive, Power, and Preview)

These three dialing modes can be of great help during outbound calls. For example, a predictive dialer collects call statistics and dials the next number from the list when an agent is about to finish the conversation. It connects agents only with live calls so they don’t have to waste their time listening to busy signals and voicemail. This software is a good option for big sales and telemarketing teams (10+ agents). The more agents you have in the team, the more precise the predictive dialer’s calculations can be. A power dialer places the next call only when a previous conversation is finished. This feature is good for small teams as well as for work with existing customers. A preview dialer displays the client’s card before the call and keeps it visible during the conversation. 

2) CRM Integrations

It is a real time-saving feature for your agents. They can see a customer’s data right in the call center solution’s interface so there’s no need to switch between different windows during the call.

3) Intelligent Call Routing

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system ensures efficient call routing based on different criteria (agent’s skills, agent’s availability, customer’s location, etc). It makes your customer service more personalized and guarantees that nobody will wait in the queue for ages.

To learn more about the ACD system and how it can help you, check out our article.

4) IVR

The Interactive Voice Response menu is a good self-service tool. Your customers can find answers to simple questions without involving your agents.

5) Webchat

Webchat module will help you to reduce call volume in the call center and improve your customer service. One agent can easily handle several chats that means to answer customer questions quickly.

Data Security

As we’ve already mentioned, virtual call center solutions are cloud-based. It also means that this software is hosted at certified data centers that really care about data security.

Global Reach

Virtual call centers give you global connectivity in terms of calls as well. You can purchase local numbers and contact customers all over the world for affordable rates. For example, the Voiptime Cloud call center solution allows you to enter new markets with local phone numbers for more than 100 countries.

How to Start a Virtual Call Center?

  • Learn more about data protection regulations regarding your industry. In some cases, you are obliged to store customer data on-premise so a cloud-based solution is not an option. Also, local regulations may require storing customer data within the border of their country. Learning all these details in advance will help you to make more informed decisions.
  • Describe your business tasks. Write down what tasks need you to perform via the virtual call center solution. It will allow you to decide on what features you need.
  • Prepare your remote agents’ workplaces. As we’ve already said, all your remote agents need is a PC or laptop with a stable internet connection, a phone and/or headset.
  • . We recommend using wired Ethernet connections because Wi-Fi is unstable and may cause interruptions during calls.
  • Choose the right software vendor. Search for the one who can provide you with the best performing solution for your virtual call center.

Choose the Right Software Vendor. Here’s Our Checklist 

Search for the one who can provide you with the best-performing solution for your virtual call center. Here is the list of questions you should ask when searching for virtual call center technology:

  1. How quickly will your solution be deployed?
  2. Does the solution provide chat, email, and call capabilities?
  3. Is there a single interface to handle different types of requests and transfer calls?
  4. What supervisor tools (like call recording, call barging, quality assurance, real-time dashboards, historical reporting) are present?
  5. Are technical skills required for configuring the inbound line or call campaign settings, creating a call script, creating quality assessment scorecards?
  6. What Workforce management tools are included?
  7.  Does the solution include open APIs to easily integrate with other core business systems?
  8. How technical support is organized and what SLA you guarantee?
  9. How does disaster recovery work?
  10. What is the contract duration? Do you allow flexibility to change the number of licenses during this period?
  11. Do you provide SIP lines? Can I bring my own carrier?

Why Choose Voiptime Contact Center for Your Virtual Call Center?

  • It’s easy to implement. You can get our software up and running within 2 business days.
  • It’s easy to use. Our simple and intuitive interface doesn’t require complicated training.
  • It’s scalable. You can seamlessly adjust your contact center to seasonal demands. Run new locations and change the number of agents whenever you need it.  
  • It’s fully cloud-based so you can reduce costs on servers and on-premise phone system purchase and maintenance. 
  • It provides you with the highest VoIP quality. Our partners are top-class VoIP carriers.
  • All-in-one virtual call center solution - You get a fully customized call center solution from the start, with ACD, intelligent call routing, blended queues, Power & Predictive dialers, call center monitoring tools, workforce management tools, etc. Your manager can perform daily tasks on their own, without the IT staff’s involvement.

Conclusion

In the age of remote work, a virtual call center is an optimal solution for those who strive for more flexibility in this unpredictable world. Not only it allows companies to maintain business continuity but it also gives them new opportunities. Our experts will be more than happy to help you.

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