A virtual call center is one where agents don’t have to go to a single physical location (the “center”) to support customers on the phone.
These are growing in popularity. With everyone working remotely, it was a matter of time before the phone itself became a software application.
The National Association of Contact Centers estimates that close to 53% of contact centers in the United States exhibit some virtual DNA. They probably outsource to online call center companies off-shore, or just hire directly and have agents work from home.
Advantages of hiring remote call center agents
There’s two sides to hiring remote agents. Some leaders used to the micromanagement style of work might fear of losing power over employees. You could also propose that because they’re working from home, agents might behave unprofessionally. At the very worse, sensitive company data could fall into unsafe hands.
Reasonable as some of these worries are, the fact that many companies are still going remote makes them inconsequential. Even still, you could choose to look at the bright side of things.
Here’s a short list of some advantages you’ll reap from hiring remote contact center agents.
- A remote staff wage bill is smaller than you’d spend on on-site agents
- You can hire across time zones and create an actual 24/7/365 contact center
- A diversified staff brings more languages to your contact center
- Real-time call center reporting and analytics provide valuable data
- VoIP is cheaper than physical line phone calls
We could go on. The point is, if the beneficiary of moving your contact center to the cloud is the customer, then it’s all worth the challenges.
Challenges for the virtual call center
While your mind is still brewing over the challenges you’ll likely face when running a virtual call center, here’s a comprehensive outline of the biggest two.
1Can remote agents have access to your systems?
This challenge used to be the main issue stopping virtual call centers from getting a universal green light. These days, it’s not even a problem. The physical location of your contact center is not important anymore. Not even when you’re using on-premise equipment.
SIP trunking and SBC solve the concern.
In fact, once your call center goes virtual, in the cloud, it implies a wider access for your agents. More important than how your agents gain access to your systems is who gets it.
2How do you keep sensitive data secure?
Virtual contact center security is worth investing in. It’s not uncommon for agents working in virtual call centers to get asked about customer personal information. One study found that this happened to at least 4% of them. Consider how some of these requests go unreported, and we have a worrying case on our hands.
Top priority would then be to guard against attacks on the virtual call center. This is where SIP encryption comes in handy. It’s an encryption technology you must make sure your call tools have. Encryption jumbles call center communications from the outside world such that they cannot use any data they may run into.
Data storage for virtual call centers is best stored in the cloud. It becomes imperative to invest in layers of security to shield it from prying eyes.
What if my call center is “too big”
The state of being virtual removes size constraints from any call center set up. This applies for both storage space and processing power. With the advent of self-healing containerized environments, you can stop worrying about downtime when you move your call center into the cloud.
Another advantage of moving even the biggest cloud centers into the cloud is the ability to deploy in different regions. This means your agents working remotely will not experience any lag when accessing your systems. The same goes for customers planted across the globe. It would be like your HQ is in their backyard (assuming a consistently high connection speed).
Among all this perks that come with turning your call center into a virtual outfit is improved scalability. If you had to expand your call center into new offices out of the cloud, it would mean purchasing new equipment among a long list of expensive investments.
In the cloud, you still use the same systems to manage VoIP calls, space and compute power are elastic to your needs. This means you’ll never run out of space – it’d be a matter of changing your subscription tier and hiring new staff to train.
In summary, virtual call centers are the future of customer support. They break the barriers of locational boundaries. Companies using virtual call centers enjoy wider access with remote agents, although that comes with security threats. Like every other threat, you can increase your security through technologies like encryption. There is no need to delay your contact center’s move to the cloud.
babelforce is a global cloud communications platform focused on No-Code integration and automation. It allows non-technical people to build even the most complex integrated processes for customer-facing teams, particularly in the call center.