When I think about virtual call centres, I think about DVDs.
Do you remember the long-ago times before streaming video? If you wanted to watch a movie, you needed a disc. We had row upon row of movies, taking up space, rarely watched. If you started watching in the bedroom and wanted to move to the living room, you had to take the disc with you, put it in the player, and manually fast forward to where you left off.
That sounds exhausting now, right? How did any of us survive?
Now we have thousands of movies available on demand. You can watch on dozens of different devices, seamlessly. The virtualisation of movies added a ton of convenience and flexibility.
Let’s apply that logic to call centres. Without virtualisation, you have a big building full of people placing and receiving calls. People have to be in that one building in order to work, and what’s more, they each have to use a single, specific desk phone.
It’s easy to see how virtualisation could add convenience, agility, and flexibility. So what is a virtual call centre, what does it look like, and why should you care? Let’s dig in.
What is a virtual call centre?
A virtual call centre is a call centre that is defined by software, not by physical location. Agents in a virtual call centre work in their own homes, shared workspaces, or regional offices, but are all able to collaborate virtually without regard to traditional physical limitations.
What are the advantages of going virtual?
The pandemic forced many businesses to go from physical office space to a remote, virtual workforce. Over time, we’ve discovered that remote work is a lot more feasible now than it was even a decade ago and that virtual call centres offer benefits to workers, customers, and business owners alike.
Reduced infrastructure overhead
A virtual call centre saves on the cost of leasing office space, heating and cooling, internet connectivity, and more.
Higher call quality
Calls use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology instead of landlines, helping eliminate distortion, echo, and static from old copper wiring.
Increased opportunities for integration and customisation
Since virtual call centres don’t rely on specific telephone models or private branch exchange (PBX) systems, it’s easy to integrate them with CRM software, analytics, and more.
Businesses can hire the best people for the job—not just the best people who happen to live within commuting distance of the office. Offering remote work can also help your company stand out and attract top talent.
Improved employee experience
Eliminating commutes, traffic jams, and dress codes can go a long way to boosting employee morale, which can boost productivity and reduce agent turnover.
Improved customer experience
When you can hire the best agents for the job, and offer flexible employment that improves morale, employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service. Virtual call centres also make it easier for employees to share customer data internally and provide a seamless experience for the customer. Plus, you can more easily track call center metrics so you can quickly evaluate and improve your customers’ experiences.
What’s the downside of a virtual call centre?
While there are plenty of advantages to going virtual, there are a few unique challenges as well. Most of them can be addressed with the right virtual call centre platform and a culture of communication and collaboration. Here are a few to be aware of.
Employees feeling isolated and a lack of communication
Working from home can be a major adjustment for those used to the social ebb and flow of an office environment. Employees can feel disconnected from their coworkers and the organisation as a whole.
It’s important to encourage a culture of communication and collaboration. Hold a quick, daily video call to check in, making sure your employees know each other, feel like part of the team, and feel comfortable raising concerns.
You can also encourage asynchronous communication through apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or a proprietary internal chat solution. Whichever platform you choose, it’s important to give coworkers the option to talk to each other without having to both be present at the same time.
There’s no denying that virtual call centres potentially have more exposure to cyberthreats than a physical office building. It’s simply easier to protect an on-premise network than one with dozens or hundreds of access points.
Make sure your call centre solution includes robust security to protect your customer data, employees, and business.
Rigid software and a steep learning curve
Some virtual call centre solutions lack programmability and configurability options, which can lead to longer onboarding time, endless workflow adjustments, and efficiency loss. Look for a call centre solution that you can tailor to suit your unique needs, not one that tries to force you into a single way of doing things.
How do I get started?
Whether you’re looking for a brand new solution, or a replacement for your current virtual call centre software, Twilio can help. Twilio Flex is the world’s most flexible contact centre platform, designed to integrate with and augment your existing workflow.
Request a demo to see what you can build with Twilio Flex.