6 reasons why virtual call centers are deemed to be the future
We are inching closer to a future where virtual call centers powered by distributed customer support teams will be the norm.
Remote work and work from home has become the new normal. Almost every industry which relies on virtual communication and collaboration has jumped onto the remote work bandwagon.
In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. remote workers increased by 115% between the years of 2005 and 2015. About 16% of the total U.S. workforce now works from home, equating to over 26 million people.
One of the fields rapidly employing remote workers is call centers. Traditionally, call centers were made up of physical offices. These offices had telephony infrastructure which agents used to handle inbound and outbound calls. The telephony infrastructure largely consisted of desk phones, cables and a whole lot of other telephony hardware.
But, all that is set to change. Virtual call centers signal a new future where physical telephony hardware may never be required at all.
But are virtual call centers really the future of business?
Here are a few reasons that businesses are starting to build virtual teams for their call centers. From improved efficiency to lower costs, we’ll cover it all. We’ll even mention a few helpful tools for businesses to get the most from a virtual call center.
Remote workers are more productive
One common myth about remote work is that if you let your employees work from home, they’re going to slack off. But is it actually true that remote workers will waste their time on social media and binge-watching Netflix? In fact, remote working statistics show the exact opposite.
66% of remote workers felt like their productivity was better at home than in an office.
According to a study by Flexjobs, 66% of remote workers felt like their productivity was better at home than in an office. But that’s just their opinion, right? Surely they’re secretly spending their time posting memes. Not exactly. According to a 9-month study by Stanford University, remote workers are actually 13% more productive than office workers. By letting your employees work remotely, you can actually improve their performance.
Cloud-based software allows for easier management
In years past, it was difficult to manage employees while they were working from home. For call centers in particular, this posed significant challenges. Were employees supposed to interact with customers from their own personal cell phone or landline? If it was a customer support center, how were customers supposed to reach them?
Virtual call centers help solve that problem. It enables sales as well as support teams to handle customer calls from wherever they are.
Also, they equip call center managers to manage dozens of remote employees from a single admin dashboard. Customer service teams can work from a centralized queue. And sales team metrics are easy to track.
In addition to remote workforce management, there are several benefits to a virtual call center as well:
- Bird’s eye view on call center metrics,
- Agent-wise performance monitoring,
- Advanced call routing,
- Call conferencing,
- Call barging, and much more.
Virtual call centers save on office space
Depending on your industry and location, your business may spend anywhere from half a percent to 13.55% of revenue on office leases. Some of that expenditure is unavoidable. For example, if you’re shipping physical goods, you need a warehouse to ship from.
One easy way to reduce real estate expenditures is to operate a virtual call center. Why rent multiple floors of an office building when your employees can work from home? In these times of economic stress, any way to save money might make the difference between success and failure.
You can assemble a virtual team
When you’re operating a physical facility, you’re limited to employees from the local workforce. This poses a couple of problems. First, you may not have enough qualified individuals in your area. Secondly, local wages might cost more than you’re willing to pay. But, with a virtual call center, you can build virtual teams of highly talented professionals from anywhere in the world.
In the past, these disadvantages were offset by other problems. For example, it was hard to manage remote workers. But nowadays, remote productivity tools have made remote workforce management as easy as managing an on-site workforce.
For call centers in particular, there was always the concern of at-home workers sounding unprofessional. A barking dog or a screaming baby could make customers think twice about continuing to work with your business. But modern noise-cancelling apps like Krisp have made this a non-issue. Employees can work from home, and they’ll sound like they’re working from a professional office.
Virtual call centers offer more flexibility
For businesses, remote workers offer significantly more flexibility than an office-based staff. This is especially true if you’re running a 24-hour call center. In an office-based environment, you’d either need to operate multiple call centers in different time zones, or you’d need to run multiple shifts. This means either renting multiple office building, or paying some employees a premium to work overnight.
By running a virtual call center, you can get around all of these issues. You can hire employees from throughout the world, or you can hire people who are comfortable working an off-hours schedule. This kind of flexibility can save businesses a significant amount of money.
For employees, this same flexibility provides a host of benefits. For example, suppose you’re a night owl. In that case, coming in to work at 8 AM every day can be brutal. These types of workers can simply sign up to work afternoons or nights. Even if employees need to work specific hours, a work-at-home environment is more congenial for a healthy and convenient work style.
It is no surprise that remote workers report higher job satisfaction than workers with equivalent office-based jobs. (American Psychological Association).
Virtual call centers are good for the environment
In addition to helping businesses and workers, remote work is helpful for the environment. Here are just a few ways that running a virtual call center can help you run a more sustainable business.
It leads to a significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption. According to studies, millennials are going to spend more than $8.8 trillion over their lifetimes due to the costs imposed by climate change. When people work from home, they don’t have to drive an hour or more each day. This leads to significant reductions in fossil fuel consumption as well as lowers Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
There are countless benefits to running a virtual call center. They give businesses more flexibility in managing a call center . No longer are you limited to a single geographical region. Instead, you can hire the most qualified – and most compatible – employees from all over the globe. Businesses can also save money on office space, and reduce their carbon footprint. And with modern technology, there are no obstacles to remote management.
Illustrations by Mahalakshmi Anantaraman
Freshcaller is a modern-day reimagining of our everyday phone system for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s cloud-based architecture, you can set up a virtual call center that brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.
If you want to find out more about what we do, check out the Freshcaller website.
Virtual or on-premise — if you are running a call center, you must constantly tend to optimize its efficiency. Our eBook lists several ways how you can do that.
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