We all know how crucial top-notch customer service is for enterprises in today’s highly-competitive environment. This relevance is highlighted by the fact that 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience.
No wonder then that 88% of companies have prioritized customer experience in their contact centers.
Businesses require their call centers to adapt to evolving customer needs, provide round-the-clock support, and offer business continuity during unexpected disasters such as the recent COVID lockdowns.
Virtual call centers are both enabling this business continuity and also offering agents the flexibility to work remotely, from any place they choose.
As per Grand View Research’s report, the virtual call center market should be worth close to $45.7 billion in 2025, which marks a CAGR of 23.6% between 2019 and 2025. Such impressive growth is attributable to the array of benefits that virtual call centers have over conventional ones, like flexibility, affordability, and disaster recovery protocols.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of virtual call centers, including how they differ from traditional call centers, the benefits of using a virtual call center, and how to start one. We will also provide a useful link to the Virtual Call Center Software Selection Guide to help you choose the right software for your business needs. So, let’s dive in and discover how virtual call centers can revolutionize your customer service operations.
What is a Virtual Call Center?
A virtual call center, or virtual contact center, is a call center where the contact center representatives are not located at a single physical location, but are geographically dispersed.
The agents may be working from home or satellite offices scattered within a single city, multiple cities, or even multiple countries.
Unlike a traditional call center, where agents are required to be physically present in the office, agents in a virtual call center can work from any site as long as they have access to a dependable internet connection. These virtual call centers can process both inbound and outbound communications – emails, chats, and social media interactions – from anywhere.
How is a Virtual Call Center Different from a Traditional Call Center?
|Attributes||Traditional call center||Virtual call center|
|Accessibility||Limited to specific geographical location||No Geographical limitations|
|Cost||higher operational cost||lower operational cost|
|Disaster Management||Susceptible to outages and disruptions||Buffer businesses from disasters|
|Installation||Complicated installation with high maintenance requirement||Easy to set up with minimal maintenance requirement|
|Call distribution||Call distribution challenge during peak hour||Automatic call routing|
|Integration||Difficult to integrate due to legacy system challenges||Quick integration with cloud support|
|Data analysis||Data Silos resulting in lack of collaboration||Comprehensive view of customer data with deepened analytics|
1. LocationTraditional call centers require agents to work from a centralized physical location, whereas in virtual call centers, agents typically work from home. This enables businesses to virtual access a wider talent pool since they are not limited to a specific geographic area. Many agents prefer virtual call centers as it allow them to save on commute, and enable better work-life balance.
2. TimingsIn traditional contact centers, some agents often have to work ‘graveyard shifts’ to ensure that a business can offer 24 hour support. Virtual contact centers, in contrast, can engage teams from different time zones to offer extended working hours without inconveniencing their agents.
3. TechnologyWhile traditional call centers may use premise –based call center software, virtual call centers depend upon cloud-based technology such as pure cloud, hybrid cloud and private cloud deployments.
4. InfrastructureWhen it comes to virtual call centers, since employees mostly work from home, businesses save significantly on office rentals, administration, and maintenance. Moreover, while traditional call centers may use premise-based solutions that require businesses to install and maintain complex physical hardware and infrastructure on-site, virtual call centers use cloud-based solutions that require minimal infrastructure and maintenance when compared to
5. MonitoringIn traditional contact centers the physical presence of a supervisor or floor manager is critical in ensuring discipline and in helping to monitor performance. Virtual call centers depend upon automation and intelligent call monitoring tools to manage their teams. While this does involve a paradigm shift in how supervisors work with their teams, these tools can offer better monitoring than what floor managers can achieve when having to physically be available to large teams.
6. Disaster recoveryA traditional call center is susceptible to outages and disruptions during power failures, physical disasters such as floods, or even unexpected traffic congestion. Case in point is the recent COVID disaster with hurried lockdowns being announced, forcing scores of contact centers to move to a virtual setup almost overnight. While traditional contact center needs to keep disaster recovery plans in place, Virtual call centers intrinsically buffer businesses from these disasters, ensuring higher uptimes and business continuity. Overall, virtual call centers offer several advantages over traditional call centers, including lower costs, greater flexibility, and more advanced technology. While traditional call centers may still be suitable for some businesses, virtual call centers are increasingly becoming the preferred choice for companies that want to improve their customer service while reducing costs.
Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Call Center
There are several reasons why businesses should consider implementing a virtual call center as part of their customer service strategy. Here are some of the key benefits
1. Cost savings
Virtual call centers bring with them numerous cost benefits, such as eliminating the need for office space, hardware and other infrastructure-related expenses. Moreover, businesses can access a greater range of remote workers at more competitive rates of pay that traditional call centers just don’t offer and save money down the line.
2. Access to a larger talent pool
By using a virtual call center, companies are no longer limited to recruiting agents who live close to the physical office location. They can now source talent from a much wider area, resulting in a larger pool of applicants and higher-quality agents, thus leading to improved customer service.
3. Improved agent satisfaction and retention
Working from home saves employees’ commute time and offers them a better work-life balance. Also, many can continue to work in their home towns instead of shifting to cities where rents may be higher. With 87% of employees stating a preference for work-from-home jobs, a virtual call center has a definite advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent.
By leveraging the benefits of virtual call centers not only can businesses reduce costs and create better business continuity, a flexible work policy also lead to happier agents which directly improves customer satisfaction.
How to Start a Virtual Call Center
1. Choose the Right Virtual Call Center Software
Choosing the right virtual call center software is a crucial step in establishing your virtual call center. This decision will determine how your staff interacts with customers, how calls are sent, and how you track performance.
The Virtual Call Center Software Selection Guide can help you decide on the perfect software for your business’ needs; take into account factors such as scalability, integrations, cost, and customer service before confirming your choice.
2. Define Your Goals and Objectives
Before launching your virtual call center, it’s important to define your goals and objectives. Ask yourself what types of interactions you will handle and what service-level objectives you aim to achieve.
Set measurable goals and objectives to track progress and make improvements where necessary. Use analytics tools to measure key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, first call resolution rate, average handle time, and abandoned call rates.
3. Hire and Train Your Agents
Hiring and training your agents is a critical part of getting your virtual call center up and running. Look for employees with strong communication skills and excellent customer service who are comfortable working remotely. Give comprehensive training to guarantee they have the info and equipment needed for excellent customer service. Training should include details about product information, communication tactics, call handling approaches, and tech use.
4. Set Up Your Infrastructure
Setting up the right infrastructure is essential for the success of your virtual call center. Make sure that your agents have access to the necessary hardware and software; computers, headsets, and high-speed internet connections.
Thoroughly test your technology and equipment before launching, to identify and overcome any potential problems. Cloud-based infrastructure may be a great option for ease of use, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
5. Build Better Monitoring
Monitoring remote teams can be tricky. Supervisors often need to unlearn their traditional ways of monitoring and learn to create a culture of trust. In-built automation to detect and alert supervisors about ‘rogue agents’, call listening, screen recording software, and AI-based analytics are some ways in which supervisors can ensure compliance.
Conduct regular quality assurance assessments to ensure agents are adhering to best practices and providing excellent customer service. Use customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to processes and procedures.
Virtual Call Center: Embracing the Future of Contact Centers with Ozonetel
The virtual call center is a real game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their customer experience, improve agent experience, and reduce costs. By embracing this innovative solution, companies can reap the benefits of increased flexibility, scalability, and efficiency.
Ozonetel offers an array of intelligent contact center features to boost operational efficiency and improve customer experience. Ozonetel’s CCaaS (Contact Center as a Solution) is a robust solution that has been proven to handle thousands of daily customer calls without any outages. It offers advanced call routing, call monitoring, and AI-based solutions to enhance customer experience, ensure efficiency and enable easy call monitoring and supervision.
In a Nutshell
Setting up a virtual call center requires careful planning, implementation, and monitoring. By choosing the right virtual call center software, defining your goals and objectives, hiring and training your agents, setting up your infrastructure, and monitoring performance, you can create a successful virtual call center that delivers exceptional customer service and improves your bottom line.
So, why not schedule a demo today and let us show you how our advanced solutions can reshape your customer service operations and take your business to the next level.
Frequently Asked Questions
A virtual operates remotely, allowing agents to work from any location with internet access. It is cost-efficient and requires minimal hardware and infrastructure investment. A virtual call center also offers flexibility and scalability to an organization increase or decrease the number of agents as per demand. A cloud contact center is hosted on cloud infrastructure, accessible via the internet and provides a wide range of features, including call routing, IVR, analytics, and CRM integration. It also offers scalability to handle fluctuations in call volumes and requires minimal upfront investment and offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model. A hosted call center takes uses the service of a third-party provider to host the call center infrastructure. This model offers a customizable solution tailored to specific business needs and comes with advanced features and integrations, including CRM and workforce management.
Virtual call center software enhances agent productivity by providing them with easy access to all necessary tools and resources from any location. Features like call routing, CRM integration, and real-time analytics enable agents to efficiently handle calls, streamline workflows, and deliver personalized customer experiences, resulting in improved productivity and performance.
A virtual call center can comprise of a customer support team spread across different geographical locations, where agents work remotely from their own homes or co-working spaces. They use virtual call center software to handle incoming customer calls, access customer information, and collaborate with team members, all without the need for a centralized physical call center.
While choosing a virtual call center software, factors like scalability, integration capabilities, reporting and analytics features, ease of use, and customer support must be considered. An organization should evaluate its options based on its specific business needs, budget, and desired features that aligns with its requirements and goals.