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.
Virtual Call Center Workflow
|Initial Customer Call||Customer dials the service support number, thinking they are contacting the business's physical department.|
|Call Routing||The call is directed to a virtual call center, often without the customer realizing.|
|Responder's Location||Typically, the call is received by remote employees or freelancers, such as stay-at-home parents, answering from their home offices.|
|Business Scenario: Retail Store||A small retail store may get frequent queries about order statuses. If they have an online order tracking system, VCC agents can access this to provide instant answers to customers.|
|Benefits to Businesses||Using VCCs, tasks that traditionally would be done in-office can be handled remotely, offering time savings and reduced overhead costs.|
|Integration & Professionalism||With the right systems in place, VCCs can seamlessly integrate with a business's processes, providing a professional customer service experience akin to larger corporations.|
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
Virtual call centers have emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to enhance their customer service. They combine the efficiency of technology with the human touch of customer service representatives. Here are some top benefits of employing virtual call centers:
- Cost-Effective Operations: Unlike traditional call centers that require physical space and infrastructure, virtual call centers can operate remotely, reducing overhead costs.
- Flexibility for Seasonal Demands: For businesses with fluctuating customer support needs, virtual call centers can scale up or down easily, eliminating the need for maintaining large facilities throughout the year.
- Professional Appearance: A well-managed virtual call center can bolster your company’s professional image, ensuring customers are always met with prompt and efficient support.
- 24/7 Availability: Most virtual call centers offer round-the-clock support, ensuring your customers receive assistance any time they need, be it weekends, holidays, or late nights.
- Potential for Profit: As a business model, virtual call centers can be lucrative. With minimal startup costs and the flexibility to operate from home, entrepreneurs can tap into the growing demand for remote customer service solutions.
Incorporating a virtual call center can lead to enhanced customer satisfaction, streamlined operations, and increased profitability for businesses.
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