Many businesses rely on call centers to ensure better sales and services. However, managing a call center isn’t all that straightforward, and it’s costly in many ways.
From renting a dedicated quiet space to setting up the network, phone system, and computers, call centers require a hefty investment that only burdens businesses.
Likewise, arranging for telemarketers and call center agents and providing them with certain in-job benefits can further wear you down as a business owner.
So, is there an alternative to such a costly option? Thanks to virtual call centers, you can ensure a similar high-quality service for a lesser cost. It’s easy to set up and requires fewer resources while helping you get a better investment return.
In this post, find out how to run a virtual call center and what are some of the best cost-saving options.
Why Go for a Virtual Call Center
In any business, the labor cost is a considerable concern and proves a major managerial challenge for business owners. That’s why it requires a more innovative workforce management system to ensure productivity for a business.
With a virtual call center, you can ensure better control over customer service and sales. And it’s a growing trend too, so it’s worth the investment.
Compared to five years ago, remote call centers have increased by 45%. By the end of next year, almost half of the customer service will be via virtual call centers. Hence, it’s safe to say that on-premise call centers will become obsolete in the next few years.
On top of that, a virtual call center offers several benefits to businesses, such as:
- Employee turnover has reduced considerably because remote agents have more flexible working hours. So they don’t feel burdened with the job and are less likely to leave the company.
- Since companies can hire remote agents from anywhere, they can reach a global audience more effectively. It also helps businesses understand the local demands of a specific region.
- Flexible working hours are a crucial benefit of a virtual call center. With remote agents from different locations, you can ensure a 24/7 service for your customers without forcing employees to work in tough-to-manage work shifts.
- Remote agents have their own telephone sets and computer hardware so that you can cut down a massive chunk of overhead costs. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about renting office space and its maintenance either.
Saving Cost with Virtual Remote Teams
Virtual call centers automatically reduce your business operation cost, but there are some innovative ways to ensure better cost efficiency, such as:
Hiring Part-Time Remote Agents
Call volumes can be a fluctuating parameter in the call center business. So, if you have hired a full-time agent, it won’t help you save any cost. So, even when the call center goes through a quiet spell, you must pay your employees if they are hired full-time.
Hence, to save cost, it’s better to hire remote call center agents for specific times of the month when you expect a higher call influx. And it suits remote workers too because they can easily manage their work hours according to their convenience.
Likewise, you can hire more part-time workers and pay them for hourly work. So in the long term, it’s a cost-efficient option for call center owners.
Use Chatbots for Automated Interactions
This may sound counter-intuitive, but chatbots can be an excellent cost-saving option. In addition, chatbots are great for answering generic customer queries and providing support without a call center representative.
You can also ensure 24/7 service without hiring full-time service agents.
Use Machine Learning
Machine learning is a vital tool for modern businesses. Some of the top virtual call center software has machine learning tools that allow business owners to view valuable business insights.
As a result, it can improve the operational efficiency of a business and help understand the nature of customer queries. For example, machine learning algorithms can help you understand the following:
- How does the drop or rise in customer satisfaction affect your business revenue?
- How can technical issues affect your business during a high call influx?
Running a Virtual Team for a Call Center
There are several aspects to running a virtual call center. Here are some essential things to know for setting up an advanced virtual call center.
Clarify Your Purpose
Firstly, you must clearly understand why you want to build a virtual call center. At times, having a clear vision can prove to be beneficial to a business. On the other hand, it can also help you figure out whether you need a virtual call center. So, here are a few critical questions that you must answer:
- Do you have any competitors that run a virtual call center?
- What primary concerns are you addressing with a remote call center?
- Do your customers interact via phone?
- What’s your business size, and how much do you expect yourself to grow in the next five years?
- Do you need inbound or outbound calls for your business? For instance, inbound calls are best for providing technical assistance and general customer support. On the other hand, outbound calls are used to generate more leads, conduct surveys, and retain existing customers.
Fix a Budget that Suits Your Operations
Adhering to budget limits will give you more control over your business expenses. So, setting a budget is essential for running a virtual call center. While fixing a budget, you must answer questions such as:
- How much do you want to invest in remote hiring and agents?
- Do you want your agents to set up a high-speed internet connection?
- How much money can you afford for a virtual calling system
- Do you want to include insurance plans for your remote employees?
- Will you provide essential equipment like laptops, phones, etc., to your remote agents?
While these are some of the basic expenses, you may need to invest more in the future, if you want to build a robust remote team for your call center.
Ensuring Flexible Working Hours to Cover Different Time Zones
By intelligent planning and time allocation, you can cover a larger area with limited employees. So, you can allocate job timings by setting virtual meetings and ensuring that your service is available for customers throughout the day.
This is a key ingredient in ensuring flawless customer service for your audience.
Can Chatbots Completely Replace Human Operators?
Chatbots can perform reasonably well with regular queries. However, human operators can provide a more personalized response and service for customers who have unique queries. That’s why it’s important to engage human operators along with chatbots to improve virtual call center efficiency.
Do Virtual Call Centers have a Minimum Calls Per Day Figure?
The number of calls per day can vary from business to business. However, since a virtual call center closely mimics a physical call center operationally, there is no significant difference between the two when it comes to handling the number of calls every day.
Remote virtual call centers are the way forward for businesses. Hence, it’s a good time to invest in remote hiring and building robust teams for your business. Now that you know how to cut cost and run such call centers, it can make things smoother for business managers to ensure better productivity and scaling for their business.