Virtual call centers have become a very affordable and reliable call center option to replace off-shore alternatives. Many consumers are not happy being forwarded to an off-shore call center for assistance. And that dissatisfaction quickly became evident in the number of complaints and the low satisfaction scores on surveys. But before you opt for a virtual call center solution, there are some critical pieces of information that you need to know to find the success you are looking for from this option.
Choose The Right Office Setting
Virtual call centers can be run from small satellite offices or the agents can work right from the comfort of their own homes. But you need to know the pros and cons of each option before you make a selection.
Home-based agents have the benefit of never leaving home to go to work. And that can add to their job satisfaction. And this set up also lowers your overhead as you are not renting office space. But there can also be issues that arise if the agent does not have a quiet and professional place to use as home office space.
Leasing a satellite office will increase your cost. But it can also go a long way to providing that professional atmosphere that agents want and need. For agents who need structure and want to be able to interact face to face with coworkers, a satellite office is a good option.
The Nuts And Bolts
Regardless of where your agents are working, you will still need to have some hardware and software to bring the call center to life. And you will also need to have a reliable Internet connection for the work to get done.
The hardware is limited to a desktop computer and a USB headset. Laptops can work in some cases, but the computing power of the desktop is a much better option for call center work. And a high-quality Internet connection is the next critical piece of the puzzle. Home-based agents will need to have a speed test performed to ensure that they will be able to handle the workload of a call center connection. For a satellite office, you will need to make sure that the service provider can ensure high-speed broadband service.
Finally, software that allows you to communicate with your remote agents is a must. Email is not going to provide the fast communication that you will need to help an agent work through an issue or answer a customer’s questions. And anytime you have a business that is relying on computers, you need to budget for quality anti-virus software. This expense is just part of doing business on the Internet.
The calling software that you select is going to determine all of the capabilities that your call center has or lacks. Cloud-based software as a Service, SaaS, is a great option to have access to high-quality call center software at a very affordable monthly rate. And even better is the fact that most SaaS agreements include start-up assistance, troubleshooting, and regular updates and maintenance. So you will not need to hire an IT person to provide these services.
When you begin to evaluate your options for software be sure to investigate the following key areas:
- Live Agent Monitoring
- Spy Mode
- Whisper Mode
- Barge in Mode
- Call Recording
Once your virtual call center is in operation, you will need to have a plan and process in place to manage it. Managing at-home agents is often a task that you can do on your own with the assistance of your software suite. However, when you are operating out of a satellite office, it is customary to have a manager on site.
Virtual call centers are an ideal solution to all of the issues and concerns that have been raised by off-shore call centers. And with some research and careful planning, you can customize your virtual call center to meet your needs for a fraction of the cost of other options. And with far greater success.