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What is a Virtual Call Center? A Complete Guide
Remote work is now widespread, and many businesses are following the trend by switching their on-site call center to a virtual call center. Others are building it right from the start. You also may be wondering how to start a virtual call center. This article looks at what a virtual call center is, how it works and why you might consider one.
What is a Virtual Call Center?
A virtual call center is a type of call center where the organization’s call agents are not physically present in the office workstation. They may be located in groups in remote offices or working from home.
A virtual call center is possible through cloud technology. With cloud phone systems, call center representatives can serve customers anywhere in the world regardless of their time zone.
How Does a Virtual Call Center Work?
A virtual call center software is cloud-based and can be integrated with video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It is set up to handle inbound and outbound calls between agents and customers.
Inbound calls come from current and potential customers with product or service-related queries ranging from complaints to account support issues. Outbound calls are made by the agents to potential or current customers. This ranges from cold calls to feedback inquiries.
A Virtual call center is less expensive than an on-site call center and can be set up for remote employees.
What are the Benefits of a Virtual Call Center?
Here are the benefits of a virtual call center:
Less Space Requirements
With some employees working remotely, you do not need a large physical office space. It also gives more room for those working in the office space. A mere 20-25% of companies are offering to fund the cost of furnishings and home office equipment. Reduced cost
First, the cost is reduced from renting only small office space. Secondly, virtual call centers eliminate the need for physical installations thereby reducing the costs for equipment and maintenance.
Leverage talent anywhere in the world
Having employees across different time zones enables virtual call centers to provide support whenever customers need it, thus increasing customer satisfaction. This allows for a larger pool of talent in the company’s workforce as employees can be recruited solely based on skills and not limited by location.
Virtual contact centers enable employees to work and take calls from anywhere. Alongside having the right tools and features, this mobility and flexibility boost productivity. The ease this creates accommodates on-field agents that have to be mobile while working. It closes any communication gap that could be expected.
Call monitoring gives real-time insight into call activities between customers and agents. Managers can glean these insights to make quick adjustments and sound business decisions. The features allow for accountability and ensure that quality is retained all through It can serve as future learning materials when training new employees.
How Do I Start a Virtual Call Center?
First, to kick your virtual call center off on the right track, you have to know the purpose. Will it be a sales call center or a customer support call center or both? Next is having the right software integrations. One of the things that will immensely benefit your virtual contact center is to leverage other applications to manage and improve sales and support activities.
Workflows are also crucial and should be built according to the purpose of your call center. You also want to leverage all the software features available to you. Consider features such as interactive voice response, voicemail-to-email or text, skills-based routing feature, etc.
Decide and plan for the necessary equipment your call agents will need to work remotely. Are you supplying the computer and headset, or do they have to do that? You also need to leverage the best talents from all across. You are no longer limited to people close to your physical location.
Have a well-thought-out onboarding process for new call center representatives. Set up KPIs to track performance and establish a program to assess and reward your representatives’ performance.
Top Virtual Call Center Software Providers
Below are the top virtual call center software providers:
ULTATEL’s cloud contact center solution aids CRM and more collaborative efforts for audio meetings, phone calls, and third-party integrations. It works seamlessly by collaborating with existing company offices, and remote locations. ULTATEL also provides a remarkable cost-value ratio in the cloud industry.
- Hosted PBX system
- CRM integration
- Comprehensive call features
- Unlimited Calling for US & Canada
- Video conferencing, Auto Attendant
- IVR, & Music on Hold
- Voicemail to Email with Transcription
- Unlimited Inbound Faxing
- Call Flow & Unlimited Ring Groups
- Advanced Call Analytics & Reporting
- Call Queuing
- Call Recording
- 24/7 live customer support, etc.
Zendesk Talk offers companies, both personal, productive phone support as a cloud-based call center software. The design is developed into the Zendesk multi-channel support ticketing solution. Zendesk Talk integrates with Surveypal, GDPR Search Destroy, and Proactive Campaigns.
Features include Integrated Voice Software, Group Conversations, Text, Warm Transfer, Callback From Queue, Interactive Voice Response, Call Management Features, voicemail, call recording, reporting, etc.
CloudTalk virtual call center software collaborates in providing support sorting calling, inbound calls into custom call queues. Users can update a customer’s information during a call if needed, and set up voicemails and automatic callbacks. CloudTalk integrates with HubSpot, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Zendesk.
Features include Unlimited inbound calls, Call Monitoring, Mobile app, Advanced analytics, Real-time client dashboard, Integrations to other systems, Skill-based routing, Smart queueing, Workflow Automation, Custom onboarding, and reporting, Enterprise-level security, Customer support, Help center access, etc.
Five9 allows for both inbound and outbound calls as it is a cloud contact center platform. Users can record calls, monitor remote employees, and predict when employees will become available. The Five9 platform integrates with Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, ServiceNow, and Zendesk.
Features include Agent Call Scripting, Call Center Data Importing, Call Center Statistics, Call Recording, Call Quality Monitoring, Call Conferencing Software, Do Not Call Compliance, Speech Recognition, Text to Speech, Web Callback Service, VoIP Customer Service, etc.
Best Practices When Managing Virtual Call Centers
Here are some of the best practices that would virtual call centers:
- Ensure workers have a secure work environment. Your employees should ensure they adhere to call center compliance, security policies and desist from public WiFi connections.
- Have a strong structure. Ensure to also have good internal work structure in your company for those that prefer on-site work.
- Have a system that boosts collaboration. This should help employees foster sociability and build stronger team bonds.
- Use video calls more. This brings a more authentic personality into the conversation either with co-workers or customers.
- Do not micromanage. Trying to track every little step of the employee since you are not with them physically can turn out counterproductive.
- Work over different time zones. Leveraging talents across different time zones ensures your virtual call center can attend to customer calls and queries at all times of the day.
- Explore training options. Since physical meetings are out of the scope, you can explore video conferencing and training videos to train a remote employee.
What are the Drawbacks of a Virtual Call Center?
Here are the drawbacks of having a virtual call center:
Lack of direct supervision
Organizations cannot directly see and supervise their agents since they are not in the same physical location. This poses a possible problem when dealing with employees that require constant supervision while on the job. Thus, it requires an improved level of accountability from the agents.
Difficult to Train
It can be more difficult to train remote staff. Before now, staff could be trained physically to ensure that they are well equipped for the job. The virtual center offers a limited option for training staff as it has to be done over the phone or other virtual means.
Weak team bonding
It may be difficult for remote colleagues to have a strong team bonding since the physical presence is missing. Team bonding has been easier to achieve when members of the teams have been physically present with each other. Now, some of them have never met and would not because the virtual call center doesn’t require such.
If an agent has issues with their device and IT services cannot be provided remotely, it can be an issue if they are far from the office. Noting that the virtual call center allows agents working in different locations, when there is an issue, it could be hard to handle. The distance may not be feasible to send an IT team to fix it immediately.
Is a Virtual Contact Center Right for Your Business?
With a virtual call center, you get all the great features of a virtual phone system. The entire system is set up for agents to handle inbound and outbound calls wherever they are.
If you are considering building a virtual contact center for your business, ULTATEL can help you set up the right tools, training, and processes for a virtual call center that is geared towards actualizing your business goals.
Greg is the product marketer for ULTATEL. He develops and markets products that help people do their best work, and enables the businesses they work for grow their revenue.