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What is a virtual call center?

Imagine a call center – a hub of inbound and outbound calls, staffed by a team of agents and managers – but the agents and managers are located off-site, whether in small groups in other offices or individually at their own homes. This is the concept of the virtual call center.

The virtual call center has become a hot topic, as the coronavirus pandemic has moved call center teams from centralized offices to individual homes. A virtual contact center is designed to support distributed workforces. It does not require a physical location, but only requires an internet connection and telecommunication service. Many virtual call centers use a hosted contact center design (also known as a cloud contact center) to power their activities.

Advantages of using a virtual contact center solution versus a traditional call center

Virtual call centers offer many benefits for both businesses and their employees.

• Reduce upfront and operational costs

One of the biggest benefits to a virtual call center platform is the cost savings – even compared to outsourcing. The virtual call center means reduced expenses for rent and operating costs. Companies no longer need to provide a large space with desks, chairs, equipment, etc.

Virtual contact center software also eliminates the need for almost all hardware — servers, a PBX, phone terminals, etc. – as well as a place to house it. Typically, cloud-based software is billed as a recurring fee per user, per month, rather than one large upfront all-inclusive price. This can be advantageous for businesses with seasonal needs. They no longer need to have large systems and extra space to support more agents for their peak periods. Instead, they only pay for what they are using, when they are using it, and can quickly add remote agents for those high volume periods.

• More options and happier employees

A virtual call center model also gives companies access to a much larger pool of potential employees by removing geographical constraints. They can now hire the best people, regardless of where they are located – and more qualified employees leads to higher quality.

Likewise, the virtual option offers benefits for employees. It reduces commute time and transportation costs and often offers a better work-life balance with more flexible hours. The call center industry especially is known for high employee attrition rates. Without the noise and distractions of being surrounded by other agents and calls, agents can focus more on their own calls. And the ability to just log in and start working without a long commute helps eliminate lateness and can increase schedule adherence.

Happier employees translates to reduced turnover and lower hiring costs. You can spend more time developing your existing employees’ skills and less time trying to find new people to fill empty spots. With better training and better morale, virtual call center employees can even be more productive than in a bricks-and-mortar site, leading to improved customer service.

Choosing the best virtual contact center platform for your needs

Cloud technology is typically used to provide the flexibility and accessibility that is needed for virtual call center software. The virtual call center solution lets agents work from almost anywhere with a reliable internet connection.

Here are some more features to look for in the virtual call center solution.

  • Fast Setup and Ease of Use – Compared to on-premise installations, virtual call center software is often easier and faster to setup. Virtual calling platforms are also easy to scale, with the flexibility to add or remove users and make changes quickly.
  • A Total Package – Working with divergent applications wastes time. First, it takes more time to setup each individual system. Then, it prolongs handle times during calls as agents switch back and forth. A single, unified omnichannel solution encompasses inbound calls and outbound contacts, as well as non-voice channels and quick access to critical customer information. The enterprise-level virtual call center solution will deliver the same level of service and features as a traditional model – such as IVR and intelligent routing, recording and QA, workflow designer, compliance tools, and more – rather than stripping out functionality.
  • Reporting and Monitoring – Managing remote agents offers additional challenges to ensure productivity and performance. Real-time dashboards that show the status of agents and queues are essential. Agent monitoring with listen, coach and barge modes help ensure quality and provide opportunities for training and the ability to provide assistance during a call. Reporting gives managers the critical information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Collaboration and Engagement – When employees work remotely, the way they interact with the rest of the team and their managers changes drastically. An effective workforce management and scheduling tool helps manage flexible shifts and reduces administration time. Gamification tools help agents easily see their goals and their progress towards achieving them, while transforming daily routines into rewarding competitions that get your employees engaged and motivated.
  • Integration Support – In addition to the above tools, virtual call platforms should support integration with third-party systems. Rather than siloing information and data in separate areas, the unified virtual call center solution lets your systems work together. You can share information across resources to streamline processes, improve service, and create a better customer journey.

5 Best Practices for Managing Employees in the Virtual Call Center

Many companies have transitioned to a virtual call center environment, thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic. The success with which they were able to do so may impact whether organizations continue to support work-from-anywhere, or return to the ore traditional models. Here are five best practices to help achieve the best outcomes while maintaining an at-home contact center workforce.

  1.  Communicate often and clearly to employees and customers.
  2.  Provide a secure at-home work station so agents can effectively work remotely.
  3.  A cloud-based contact center makes the transition to a remote workforce, quick and easy.
  4.  Training and coaching to deliver the highest level of customer service
  5.  A collaborative environment is crucial for supporting remote workers

 


Additional Resources:

Whitepaper: Rise of the Cloud Contact Center
Early cloud contact center services were primarily tailored for Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMBs), offering scaled-down features in exchange for convenience and low cost-of-entry. A new breed of cloud-based offerings designed for enterprises are emerging that have redefined the value proposition and changed the game.

Webinar-on-Demand: Work From Anywhere – The New Employee Experience
With more and more employees working remotely, the way they interact with the rest of the team and their managers has changed drastically. Keeping them motivated and engaged can be challenging. Success is not solely dependent on having good managerial skills. Being able to tap into your employee’s mindset is also key to building a successful remote workforce.

Noble Systems Named a “2021 Remote Work Pioneer” for Cloud Contact Center and Work From Home Solutions
The Noble Cloud Contact Center offers a quick work-from-home transition and allows companies to support remote agents while providing business continuity. With the Noble Cloud CC, the entire agent team can be setup to work from home in a matter of days.