When customers call your business premises and reach a courteous and helpful customer service representative, it can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction, and your bottom line. Customers generally feel like they are dealing with a trustworthy, more established company.
However, deploying a call center in your business is expensive. Many small businesses don’t have the capital and human resources to run such an operation. But, that does not mean small businesses cannot offer similar telephone customer service because they can always set up a virtual call center (VCC).
What is a Virtual Call Center?
A virtual call center is a phone support solution that offers businesses a virtual representation of their organization’s offices. It is a call center in which the business’s representatives are geographically dispersed, rather than being situated at work stations in the business premises.
For small businesses, the virtual call center model saves equipment and housing costs, and can lead to lower employee turnover that tends to be high for physical call centers. The model includes the required software, hardware and networking infrastructure used to set up and manage a VCC.
Virtual call center employees may be situated in groups in a number of smaller centers, but most often are freelancers who work from their own homes.
How Virtual Call Centers Work
The customer, dialing a customer service support number, is given the impression that their call reaches a physical department within the business when, in fact, it reaches a virtual call center.
Because virtual call center employees most often work from their own homes, the call is quite possibly answered by a stay-at-home parent or other freelancer from his or her home office on behalf of the business.
If you run a small retail store, for example, and customers constantly call to check the status of their orders, then you should have a system in place for keeping track of placed orders. With that system in place, you can easily make it available via the internet so that remote VCC workers can access it.
The VCC workers will now be able to perform simple call answering tasks for you that you would ordinarily have had to do in your office, freeing you time and saving significant overhead costs. Moreover, with a system in place, your VCC can do its job while keeping in line with the rest of your business processes and culture.
Refine your systems and you’re on your way to providing professional customer service just like the big boys.
Companies Providing VCC Services for Small Businesses
There are companies that recruit remote workers to provide this call answering service for small businesses. These companies outsource support solely to provide a tailored solution for your business.
The key word here is your; the outsourcing companies are performing your customer service process, which means you need to make sure they can address the issues faced by your customers. So, before you can use the companies effectively, find out what customer service process they offer beforehand.
Depending on your business’s particular needs, you can choose companies that provide dedicated agents who will be focused solely on your business, or shared agents who serve multiple businesses.
With VCC companies, you can choose from a large number of features, including inbound sales, return management, customer service, after-hours support and live chat.
If your small business doesn’t field a lot of calls, it can be difficult to find a VCC company that will be truly cost-effective. In this case, you may want to choose low-volume call center services like those offered by Xact Telesolutions. Xact Telesolution has no monthly call minimums or invoice requirement, which means you can pay only for the services you use.
Other VCC services for small businesses such as TeleDirect offer a complete selection of both inbound and outbound services, including some of the harder-to-find features like cold-calling services. Solid Cactus, on the other hand, offers a customizable call center service that allows you to create a plan based on your business’s exact needs and budget. Companies like Nextiva also provide options for remote mobile agents and much more.
Business Uses and Benefits of Virtual Call Centers
Apart from being cost-effective, a virtual call center offers a way to engage with customers and provide support without interrupting the day-to-day operations of your business.
For small businesses whose operations are highly seasonal, the virtual model also means that they don’t have to maintain large facilities year-round.
Other benefits of VCCs include helping you appear professional, and increasing customer confidence in your business.
VCC services are also often available 24 hours a day seven days a week and 365 days a year meaning your customers will always have someone to speak with, even on weekends and holidays.
Aside from that, a virtual call center business is a good business idea you may want to explore. Startup costs are low because it can be operated from home, and there is the potential for high profits.