What is a virtual call center?

A virtual call center is a call center that is not bound by physical office space. It is made up of agents who are often located in scattered geographical locations and collaborate together with virtual call center software. The agents could be working from home or from other regional offices. Since all the agents handling calls may not be located in a single location, a virtual call center may or may not have a physical office. Owing to its cost benefits and minimal IT infrastructure requirements, a virtual call center is considered to be an ideal fit for small businesses.

What do virtual call centers do?

All virtual call centers are set up for the purpose of handling inbound and outbound calls. 

Inbound calls take care of answering incoming phone calls from callers who are enquiring about a product, want support setting up or using the product, or need some other form of assistance. 

Outbound calls are primarily made for cold calling prospects and telemarketing. Sometimes, the calls could also be to verify information provided by an individual. Like a bank calling a loan applicant. 

virtual call center

How is a virtual call center different from a traditional call center?

A traditional and virtual call center performs the same task of handling inbound or outbound calls. What differentiates one from another is how the call handling is done. The IT infrastructure used for the purpose is also starkly different. The major points of difference between a traditional call center and virtual call center are tabled below:

Factor Traditional call center Virtual call center
Physical infrastructure PBX boxes, analog circuitry, telephone cables, telephone devices
are required. 
Zero telephony hardware requirements. A laptop, tablet or
smartphone can be used for handling calls.
Hardware Requires desk phones, PBX systems and a whole lot of other hardware
to orchestrate incoming and outgoing calls. 
Requires no telephony hardware like traditional phones. Can be
accessed via a browser using a laptop, mobile, tablet or a VoIP phone.
Integrations It takes the form of a siloed telephony infrastructure that is hard to integrate with other software systems. Easily integrates with other systems like CRM, helpdesk, billing software, analytics and much more.
Call quality Average call quality due to distortions created by analog circuits. The use of IP networks, both at the LAN and WAN scale ensures high-quality voice data.

Benefits of virtual call centers

Take calls anywhere

Allow employees flexibility to take calls from anywhere be it their desk, anywhere in their office or even from their home.

Contextual conversations

Call notes and recordings always available at your disposal to ensure your agents have the full context of your customer needs.

Live call monitoring

Monitor calls real-time even if your agents are working from a different office location or from their home.

Set up immediately

You can set up and get started with your call center in minutes by using a good virtual phone system and engage your callers.

Limitless scalability

Your phone system is not trailing behind your growth and never slows you down. Enjoy limitless scalability using a virtual phone system.

Compact office spaces

You can accommodate more employees in the same office space because of work from home options for your call center agents.


Transforming your phone teams into a

virtual call center


Vital capabilities of virtual phone systems for agents

Your agents can answer calls from anywhere

Choose the right channels for communicating with your customers and then research on the best practices of setting up a call center knowledge base or a contact center. No matter the size of your business, you will reap benefits by investing in a call center during your initial days to have personal conversations with your customers. If phones are one of the primary channels of communication for your intended target audience, you will definitely need to set up a virtual call center.

Your agents can view call notes and recordings anytime

A key capability of any virtual phone system is to allow access to previous call notes and call recordings at will. Your agents can listen to their previous conversations and improve their conversational skills. The recordings and call notes also serve to keep your agents updated.

Your agents can attend calls on mobile or laptop

Your prospects and customers are not going to wait while your team is in transit. Phone conversations are usually initiated for urgent gratification and hence your virtual phone system should be capable of routing phone calls to agent’s mobile or landline number.


Monitoring your virtual call center real-time


Vital capabilities of virtual phone systems for supervisors

Your supervisors can monitor your virtual call center real-time

A call center cannot truly function as a virtual unless your supervisors are able to monitor all your virtual agents in real-time. This means that your supervisors can listen to every single conversation and step in if needed. Call barging is a key capability of a true virtual phone system.

Your supervisors can check real-time agent availability status

While dealing with virtual agents, it is vital for supervisors be able to check the availability status of agents. Agents can be busy talking to your customers/prospects, finishing up with their after-call-work, or available to make or answer phone calls, or unavailable by virtue of being offline. Your supervisors need a virtual phone system that can show the agent availability data in real-time.

Your supervisors can view all the callers waiting in your queue

Supervisors have the unenviable task of staying on top of periodic surges in the number of phone conversations. They need to handle this in collaboration with your virtual call center administrators. Your supervisors require a real-time call waiting for status as well as the number of conversations that are on hold.


Setting up your virtual call center immediately


Vital capabilities of virtual phone systems for administrators

Virtual administrators

Administrators, along with your supervisors need to regularly inspect the performance of your virtual call center and tweak your virtual phone system accordingly. Administrators require phone systems that allow easy editing of IVR (phone trees), call flows, welcome messages, and voicemail settings. Administrators need to be able to do this virtually without having to personally travel to every premise of yours to upgrade your phone rules.

Scale your virtual call center in real-time

Virtual call center administrators require phone systems to help them add or remove agents, teams, business hours, greeting texts, IVR’s, and escalation queues. These changes need to be effective immediately. Gone are the days of bloated virtual phone systems that cannot scale according to your business needs.

Enable call center agents to converse effectively

Administrators require a virtual phone system that provides for collaboration between the agents, builds relevant context for the conversations with customers/prospects, and removes needless hardware/software requirements. Anything that slows down your business is a concern for your call center agents. Provide a virtual phone system that can help your administrators improve your call center operations.


How to start a virtual call center?

Starting a virtual call center requires to make some prior checks. Ensuring that everything is in place for smooth operations will save you from call disruptions, sub-par service levels or even downtimes. 

Calculate agent requirement

Having the right number of agents has a say on your call center achieving its service levels. Calculating the number of agents you need to run the call center should not be based on guesswork. A scientific approach like the ERLANG calculator can help you calculate the right number of agents you will need to manage the call flow.

Create adequate network bandwidth

Before you start a virtual call center, you need to ensure that you have adequate network bandwidth to run everyday operations smoothly. Make it a point to run an end-to-end network audit to ensure network reliability. Poor network connectivity or insufficient network bandwidth can result in poor call audio quality.

Setup call flows

Call flows determine how each inbound call to your virtual call center will be directed to an IVR system or to a virtual call center agent who can talk to the caller. An ACD system (automatic call distributor) takes care of diverting the calls to the right call flow. From directing calls to language experts to connecting the callers to voicemail, you can an ACD for several purposes.

Decide working hours

Although customers would want your call center to be working round the clock, it is not practical nor possible. You have to set clear working hours. Calls that come in after working hours can be redirected to a voicemail or to a remote team that takes after working hour calls.

Setup IVR menus

An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system helps segment calls based on keypad responses that users input on their phone devices. Users will be directed to a menu that provides the information they requested or connected to agents who can provide resolutions.

Configure voicemails

Voicemails can come in handy when your agents are unavailable to take calls. It enables the caller to leave a recorded voice message which the agent can act upon when they resume work. 

Create wait queues

Ever wondered what happens when your agents are available but are already engaged in another call? In such a scenario, your callers should be directed to wait queues. The call wait queues can be further customized with waiting wait hold music to keep the caller engaged.

Invest in a virtual phone system

A virtual phone system is what powers the functioning of a virtual call center. It orchestrates the entire inbound and outbound call flow in the virtual call center. It also acts as the control center of the call center enabling the admins to set up call flows, assign teams, set up call waiting queues, and so on.


Freshdesk Contact Center (formerly Freshcaller) : The preferred virtual phone system for your business

Freshdesk Contact Center is a virtual phone system that can be set up with zero hardware. Using Freshdesk Contact Center, you can purchase local and toll-free phone numbers in 50+ countries. You do not have to personally travel or send your administrators to set up your virtual call center in every country in which you wish to have a phone number. Freshdesk Contact Center offers several key capabilities for virtual admins, supervisors, and agents. Freshdesk Contact Center was also recognized as one of the best virtual call centers by popular software review and marketplace websites. 

Capabilities for virtual agents

Shared Lines

Share one phone number across multiple users, and answer incoming phone calls from any phone, anywhere.

Read more about Shared Lines 

Customer Interaction History

See oldest to the most recent conversations that your agents have had with your customers, to pass a faster resolution.

Read more about Customer Interaction History 

Answer In Browser

A fully modern PBX system where you can easily receive and make calls using your web browser without any hassles.

Capabilities for virtual supervisors

Service level monitoring

Be in the know of your call center performance with service level monitoring that gives a real-time view of key metrics like Average Handling Time (AHT), Longest Wait Time, Short abandons, etc.

Read more about Service level monitoring

Call Monitoring & Barging

Monitor how your agents fare in delivering quality service to callers with a range of call monitoring options. Barge into live calls if necessary to increase your First Call Resolutions rate.Read more about Monitoring and Barging 

Agent Presence Status

Have a quick glance of agents who are available to take calls. Transfer calls swiftly to available offices, agents, and remote teams based on their availability - thereby reducing call hold times.

Read more about Agent Status

Capabilities for virtual administrators

Multi-Level IVR

A fully flexible PBX system with capabilities to easily route calls to your agents or teams, along with the ability to include self service options.

Read more about IVR 

Call Conferencing

Prevent escalations and call transfers by adding agents to your ongoing call and assist the caller better.

Read more about making Conference Calls 

Inbound Caller ID

See detailed information about every incoming call based on caller details and previous interactions with your business.

Read more about Inbound Caller ID 

Freshdesk Contact Center (formerly Freshcaller): The preferred call center software