Tech 101: What Is a Virtual Call Center?

what is a virtual call center
Written by T.E. Wing

Here’s the skinny on how virtual centers work and what they can do for you and your business.

The future is virtual. For that matter, the present is virtual as well. We’ve all heard of virtual reality simulators that can be used to play video games. But virtual reality headsets can also be used for , say, for treating depression.

Virtualization shows up all over the place these days. A great example of the trend is — you guessed it — virtual call center tech.

Here’s what virtual call centers can do for your and your business.

A closer look

When you think of a call center, you probably think of a bunch of employees sitting in a row of cubicles and answering phones in an office setting. That’s still the case for some people. But virtual contact centers can look like a studio apartment in Brooklyn, a cabin in Montana, or just about anywhere else. Some companies require you live in certain statesor cities, but aside from that, there’s no rule that says call center agents must clock into a remote office at a specific time every day.

The big advantage here is clear enough: Employees get more freedom. If there’s snow outside, they don’t have to clean off their car and navigate through the snow-covered roads to get to work. It also gives companies more freedom to employ people in non-traditional ways. The company isn’t paying the rent for the office. Rather, the employee is. His or her home is now part of the office.

Virtual contact centers let employees connect to a network from home and start answering calls or taking questions via online chat. In most cases, all they need is a laptop, a secure internet connection, and the right credentials to log into the system. They may work a set number of hours and shifts, or their schedule might change a lot from week to week. It all depends on the needs of both the company and the person working for the virtual contact center.

What’s inside

Virtual contact centers comprise sophisticated technology. They’re not usually going to require an employee to sit there all day and dial numbers by hand, for instance.

Instead, they’ll use a contact dialer. You might also hear a contact dialer referred to as an auto dialer or a predictive dialer, by the way. It’s all the same thing.

Now, these devices don’t just help customer service representatives make more calls. It helps them make to better calls and, also, to use their time as efficiently as possible.

As an example, when most people call someone, they have to wait a few rings to see if there’s an answer, then wait again to see if they can leave a message via voicemail.

A contact dialer, though, can save time by not connecting an agent with the call until a live person picks up. If voicemail picks up, then the agent won’t be connected to the call at all. Instead, the system will move onto the next number to dial.

Call center agents are measured on a lot of different variables.

The average call time is one of the most important of these. Makes sense, right? If you have to wait for the phone to ring four or five times, it’s going to waste customer time and maybe even sour them on your business altogether.

Those precious seconds can mean the difference between getting a bonus or getting put on a performance improvement plan.

They also make inbound calls easier by accurately predicting when an agent will be available to take a call, then routing that call to the agent.

There’s no more need for a call center phone to ring and ring and ring because someone is either unable or unwilling to pick it up.

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