Tips for Starting a Virtual Call Center

Businesses today often look out to outsource the work of handling incoming calls to an external call center. This is because they do not want to invest in having an in-house call center. These businesses also understand that a call center is essential for their existence because customers need a place where they can reach out and have their queries and issues resolved. 

Thus, having a call center is another way of making your customers feel valued. Setting up a virtual call center is one of the trends that are fast catching up with the commercial business sector. 

Advantages of Virtual Call Centers

  • The start-up costs are substantially less than having a conventional call center setup. It is a computer system that you need along with a telephony software system.
  • Virtual call centers can be deployed easily since there is no involvement of physical hardware on the business’s end. If you are deciding to utilize any of the existing virtual call center service providers, all it takes to get started is a few computers equipped with fast internet connectivity. 
  • With a virtual call center, you are not restricted to a particular geographical location or region. You can work with local, as well as national and international clients seamlessly.
  • Virtual call centers are easily scalable. Adding additional team members and getting them started with the call center operation is easy as creating another user account in the cloud-based call center software. 
  • When you appoint and hire staff members, they can also now work in the remote ecosystem. You can also appoint agents who are spread across the globe where they can work as per their time zones.

How To Start A Virtual Call Center?

Keen to start a home-based virtual call center? Here are a few tips to start your virtual call center.

Deciding the Call center software. 

The choice of the right call center software is critical for the success of your business. The call center software has to be cost-effective, scalable, and easy to use. Features such as advanced reports, the ability to monitor calls, and review performances of support agents will improve the overall quality of the service provided. 

Look for a trained workforce

Even if it is a home-based virtual call center, you will need staff members as your business catches up and you find new clients. Ensure that you choose people who have excellent communication skills, confidence, and also have domain expertise. Also, do make sure that the hardware and the software requirements are met accurately for the work to happen seamlessly.

Technology choice

Virtual call centers leverage the power of cloud-based software systems. Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP enables remote working for home-based agents a seamless experience! Some of the advanced technology expected for running a virtual call center is IVR or Interactive Voice Response, customized voicemail greeting, automatic call distributor, opening and closing hours that can be programmed, and so on.

When you choose and decide the right technology, you need to consider the following parameters:

  • The software used for call center operation should be scalable and flexible. Since there will be a need to scale up the number of employees depending upon the growth of the company, adding or removing users should be an easy process.
  • How fast can the setup be done? Setting up the virtual call center is a much faster process because there is no need for a local configuration of hardware, or setting up workstations or miles of wiring to be done. The technology should be easy to set up – as easy as installing an app on your device. 
  • How easy or complex is it to operate the technology? Make sure it has a seamless user interface, one that is intuitive and helps users spontaneously do their work in an efficient manner.
  • The virtual call center software you are choosing should be able to easily integrate with your existing suite of software such as a CRM for better improving the overall service provided to your customer. 

How Does Computer Telephony Integration Helps Call Centers Perform Better

Computer Telephony Integration, also sometimes referred to as Computer-Telephone Integration is this modern-day technology that enables the coupling of computers and telephones so that they interact together. 

This technology is majorly adopted to facilitate a desktop-based interaction to help users in enhancing efficiency. In simpler terms, computer telephony integration can be described as the use of computers to manage and distribute phone calls. The term CTI is very broad in its ambit & applications and can be used for various kinds of functions. Call centers are one place where the adoption of CTI technology is rapidly picking up pace in the past few years. 

This article explores the usage and benefits of computer telephony integration in the context of call centers. All of the benefits listed below are proven to be monumental in improving the essential metrics of a call center, hence facilitating better performance.

Enhanced professionalism and associated customer perception

Using advanced technology such as CTI eases the overall process for the customers and gives a professional look to your brand thereby leaving a very strong first impression. The very initial phase of customer engagement, if handled right, makes all the difference for a brand. The integration of computer and telephone technologies helps to initiate a smooth service flow for the customer and also makes the work of the operator easy by many folds.

Automatic authentication and recognition of callers

Computer telephony integration in call centers helps in authenticating and recognizing callers through scanning databases quickly. This proves to be helpful to create priority-based lists and to know the names or previous queries (if any) of the caller when he reaches out to the call center. It goes without saying that if the operator can identify a previous customer without having to ask them all of the details again, that gives a sense of belongingness with the brand. This increased sense of belongingness brings peace to a customer’s mind and the call center’s performance improves substantially.

Better and smooth collaboration between different departments

Smart technologies such as the Computer Telephony Integration offer multiple features involving call transfers, teleconferencing, listening, and whispering, etc. These features enable operators to be prepared as to what kind of query is being put up by the customer. In this manner, the customer can be directed to the appropriate department without any confusion or unnecessary hassle. This substantially reduces the average wait time and call dropping rates when a customer reaches out to the call center.

Integration of all software for better performance

CTI is not merely about routing calls to appropriate departments; rather it also helps to integrate various technologies like conferencing, interactive voice response, automated number identification, etc. in order to improve the performance and efficiency of the venture. This integration helps in locating the problem quickly and in providing an adequate solution to it quickly by means of the available support.

Easy calling without the use of phones

With CTI, operators are empowered to send or receive all the required calls at the touch of a button, or even through voice commands, without having to pick up their phones every time. The computer takes care of all that for them. The various control options during calls like transferring, holding, muting, hanging up, etc. are also available in front of the operators right on their computer screens. This enables the operators to work faster towards disposing of the queries of the customer in an appropriate manner and minimizes any unnecessary waste of time in that process.

Reduced losses in operation

One of the major factors that lead to piling up unnecessary costs for a call center is the wait time and the subsequent dropping of calls. This not only leads to loss of business but also tarnishes the image of the brand and makes it a laughing stock in the industry. The main reason that this happens is that humans alone might not be as quick in finding a solution when you compare them to computers. With the help of Computer Telephony Integration, the abilities of a computer are put to use in combination with those of a human operator. This results in better performance and a smooth flow of work even if the call center is handling a high call volume at any given time. This helps in avoiding losses during operation by a substantial margin.

Is Cloud-Hosted Call Centers the Right Choice in 2020?

A cloud-hosted call center is a modernized alternative to the traditional option of an on-premise call center. This means that the call center would be entirely based online and not in the form of a physical office anywhere. In this case, every instance of communication is taken up via the internet by the integration of voice- video call solutions, emails, and social media. These new digital channels have sprung up in usage in recent times and are picking up pace rapidly. All that is required for a fully functional cloud-based call center setup is access to the internet with enough bandwidth so as to accommodate a cloud server platform.

The arrival of new technology does not necessarily mean that the utility of the old scheme of things is completely decimated. Both setups have their own advantages and disadvantages. This article is going to help you understand the basic advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-hosted call center with respect to the on-premise call centers so that you can make an informed decision for yourself while choosing one of the two.

Does On-Premise Call Centers Make Sense Anymore?

Innovation in any field tries to solve an existing problem to give a better experience to us. Obviously, cloud-hosted call centers offer a lot in terms of ease and functionality and are better than traditional setups in many ways, but still, there are some things that one can get only with these traditional on-premise setups.

Good old reliable management from ground zero

An industry veteran might argue that the authenticity of work can be better overseen by a manager if he is on the spot. On-premise systems enable you to closely oversee all the workforce and equipment so that you know exactly where and how to spend the resources. This way all the costs and the decisions therein can be upfront.

Sense of peace and camaraderie

An on-premise call center offers a certain sense of reliability that all of the data and documents are stored in one particular place without any chance of confusion. Apart from this, the working professionals experience enhanced motivation when they are physically present with their peers and are working with them in an office environment.

Why Cloud Hosted Call Centers Could Be a Better Choice in 2020 and in Future

The first and foremost reason why cloud-hosted call centers can be a better choice in 2020 is the fact that the world is going through the COVID 19 pandemic right now. It is no news that the only way to fight this global virus is to break the transmission chains by following social distancing as much as possible. Cloud-hosted call centers do not require executives and operators to be physically present at a common space. This scheme of operation proves to be monumental to achieve social distancing as everyone would follow a work- from- home pattern. Apart from this, there are other benefits of switching from traditional on-premise setups to modern cloud-based setups.

A faster way to implement initiatives and deploy personnel

When you move the call center service to the cloud, every decision and initiative can be implemented at the touch of a button uniformly for every employee of yours. Hiring and deploying new personnel is also very easy as there have to be no physical hassles of accommodation when one is on a cloud-based workspace. 

Easy upgrades result in new features every now and then

The cloud-based setups and software keep updating and improving themselves from time to time. This results in new features that make the work of operators easy, and also in enhancing the overall experience of the customers.   

Enhanced flexibility and scalability of services

When you are not confined within 4 physical walls of an office, there is no limit to the scalability of any venture. There is increased flexibility where you do not have to be worried about physical assets and you can easily optimize your venture as per your needs without physical constraints.

Monumental reduction in costs

Now one of the most important factors that play in favor of cloud-hosted call center ventures is that there is a huge reduction in costs for the management because the use of physical resources here is next to nothing as everything is online and everyone can be working from their homes.