How Virtual Call Centers have disrupted the CX Environment

Imagine a call center. You’re probably picturing the stereotypical image of agents crammed into a room answering calls, right?

That’s no longer the case. With the evolution of cloud technology, contact centers can take many forms; whether that be a dedicated setup within an organization’s central office, or a network of agents spread across the world ready to support customers 24/7.

In this blog, we discuss the possibilities that virtual call centers offer. We expand on how they operate, the benefits of using them over a traditional contact center setup, and the key to implementing the approach with success.

What is a Virtual Call Center?

In a post-pandemic world, flexibility has become increasingly important to employees and employers alike. The advantages of remote operations are clear, helping organizations retain high-performing employees, and reducing their operating costs. 

In the world of customer experience, this development has led to the popularization of virtual call centers. These consist of customer service operations no longer hosted in a single location. Instead, agents are spread out geographically and capitalize on cloud-based software to perform their role, no matter where they’re stationed. 

What Issues do Traditional Contact Centers Present?

Running a contact center isn’t easy. From managing thousands of inbound calls, to facilitating customer engagement in an omni-channel environment, organizations have their work cut out for them. A traditional, in person contact center has its own difficulties:

  • Running an office can quickly become expensive. In a post-COVID world where many organizations have adapted their practices to facilitate working from home, it makes sense to capitalize on the opportunity to cut back on office expenditure.

The Benefits of a Virtual Approach

That’s where virtual contact centers come in. Organizations already have the tools available to facilitate a virtual shift, so why not capitalize on the trend?

  • A key benefit of a virtual contact center is the ability to operate across multiple time zones. For globalized organizations, having agents stationed across the world would enable support coverage for larger quantities.

  • By running on a cloud-based system, the call center is much less vulnerable to outages than an on-premise solution. Consequently, if one location experiences disruption, agents elsewhere are still able to provide support to customers.

  • With less office space required, and no requirements to maintain an on-premise call center system, organizations are able to allocate resources to other areas of the business.

  • Efficient and transparent monitoring. Utilizing cloud-based call center software, managers can easily monitor both current and past calls. This enables managers to understand how their employees are performing, without any invasive physical monitoring. 

  • Alongside the benefit of covering further time zones, virtual contact centers also allow organizations to access a wider pool of talent. Without the need to commute to a central office, a company can invest in recruiting the best agents across the globe.

Sounds great, right? Before making the shift, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of:

  • Without a centralized location, it can be difficult for teams to build relationships. The lack of in-person meetings and contact can make it more difficult to overcome problems together.

  • Managing employee technical needs can become challenging, particularly when they don’t have access to IT services if there are any issues affecting their performance.

  • Onboarding new staff and getting them up to speed becomes a challenge. Without the ability to check-in in-person, it can be difficult to ensure a new employee is receiving adequate training.

The Key to a Successful Virtual Call Center

As with traditional contact centers, the key to success when transitioning to a virtual approach is mastering communication. With the gap in direct oversight, managers must ensure agents fully understand their responsibilities, and have visibility over lines of escalation when necessary.

Aside from this, it’s vital that managers are able to build strong relationships with their employees. Without physical interactions, it can often be difficult to create a sense of team camaraderie. Frequent communication through video meetings and efforts to create social connections can help employees build relationships with their co-workers.

Considering these points, managers of virtual call centers can focus on:

  • Creating a sustainable structure - Aid employees in feeling as though they’re part of a team, and that they have colleagues they can go to for help.

  • Promoting a secure working environment - Adopting a virtual contact center approach can leave organizations vulnerable to cyber security threats, as they’re more reliant on employee setups. Implementing policies such as requiring a VPN when working remotely can help mitigate these issues.

  • Establishing a healthy work culture – Working remotely can be isolating. Ensuring that employee’s mental well-being is taken care of can boost performance, and prevent burnout.

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