Back in the day, running a call center was extremely expensive. That’s why businesses outsourced their customer support to more competitive countries, such as India and the Philippines. However, the evolution of contact center software allowed companies to begin homeshoring their call centers. By enabling agents to work from home or in separate offices, virtual call centers come as a more competitive solution that lets you provide better customer support. Like everything in life, virtual call centers come with advantages and disadvantages, and you need to know about both before deciding on this solution.
Advantages of Virtual Call Centers
Running a virtual call center is far more affordable than deploying one in-house. Since this solution works in the cloud, you don’t need to invest in servers or a specialized IT team to maintain the system. Additionally, if your agents work from home, you’ll save a lot on renting office space.
Virtual call center software lets you run all types of call centers. You can choose the features that are necessary for your business’s goals, and both sales and support agents are able to use the same platform. Moreover, providers usually offer monthly plans that depend on the number of users. This way, you can easily tweak your subscription depending on your needs. This is far more flexible than running an in-house call center where you always have to invest a high amount, whether you have 10 or 100 agents
Ability To Hire Remote Agents
Agents only need a computer connected to the internet to use call center software. This means that you can easily hire remote agents to help you during customer support peaks, such as the holiday season. Not only that, but by having the possibility to hire anyone regardless of their geographical location, your talent pool grows exponentially. This also makes it easier to have agents in different time zones, allowing you to provide global customer support.
By providing a wide array of features – such as a power dialer, real-time monitoring, and call routing – virtual call centers boost agent productivity tremendously. They even come with intuitive analytics dashboards that enable you to get a helicopter view of your call center and go into detail about each agent's performance. The best part is that most virtual call center platforms are straightforward to use and easy to set up.
Improved Customer Journey
Finally, since contact center software either offers a unified platform or allows you to integrate with other apps, such as CRM, your agents can offer seamless customer support. These omnichannel or multichannel capabilities allow agents to check a customer’s complete history before interacting with them. This is not only beneficial for sales, but also for support agents who will be able to know the issue at hand without asking the customer to repeat themselves.
Disadvantages of Virtual Call Centers
Harder To Monitor Agents
When you’re all working in the same space, it’s easier to check whether your agents are actually working or just browsing Facebook. It’s also easier to listen to their conversations to make sure they’re following protocols and doing a good job. Fortunately, there’s software that can make your life easier. While virtual contact software lets you overhear conversations and go through call recordings, platforms like Hubstaff enable you to keep tabs on what your employees are doing during work hours.
Lack of Sense of Belonging
When people work at the same office, it’s natural to create bonds. When they work separately, this is far more challenging. Working from home can be quite lonely, and unless you create incentives that encourage interaction, employees may spend all day without speaking to a coworker. To solve this issue, you can either host regular meetings or have a team group chat where employees can share funny gifs and cute puppy photos. Since unity is essential to have a low employee churn rate, it’s important to make sure everyone feels part of something bigger, even if they’re not working side by side.
More Security Issues
Regardless of your business, data security is always vital – especially when it comes to handling customers’ personal information. It's easier to manage security when running an in-house call center since everyone is connected to the same network. This doesn't happen when it comes to virtual call centers. Everyone is at their computer, using their own internet connection, and the possibility of your company being hacked increases. The only way to fight this is by training your employees on how important online security is and, more importantly, make sure they use a VPN for added protection.
There's no doubt that virtual call centers have drawbacks, but the advantages more than make up for them. It's the only way for you to start homesourcing your call center without incurring steep costs. Moreover, all problems have a solution, and that's the case for virtual call center disadvantages as well.
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