The Benefits of a Virtual Call Center

When you’re the owner of a small and growing business, quality customer service is one of the key elements to your success. However, when you run a smaller-scale operation, finding the time to respond to every customer personally can be difficult. When your phone goes unanswered or to voicemail, potential customers can get frustrated and simply decide to contact your competitor. When you can’t get to the phone as often as you’d like, having dedicated customer relations staff on hand can improve consumer trust in your brand, but many find it difficult in terms of space and finances to employ operators. How does a business owner find balance?

Creating a World of Customer Care

When the phone is ringing off the hook and the business demands aren’t allowing you to answer every call, many smaller operations look towards virtual call centers to fill the gap. These call centers can be based anywhere in the world and use the internet to transfer prospects to dedicated operators who can take orders, answer questions or even help deal with customer concerns. Although these operators are trained to your specifications, some owners find it difficult to allow someone they’ve never met to “handle their baby,” as it were. While it may seem more sensible to have a staff member on hand to handle these interactions, installation and staffing costs, equipment and personnel space requirements may prevent some small businesses from taking this on. So, what’s the best course of action?

What You Should Know

1. Your Phone is Answered 24/7

If customer service is important to you, then a virtual call center, such as an IP-based cloud PBX, can insure that your phone is always answered no matter what time of day it is. This can be particularly important if you have a lot of overseas business, where the time zones may not be in line with your scheduled working hours. Calls can be switched to your office when you or your in-house staff are available to answer them, otherwise they can be routed directly to your virtual operators after a certain amount of rings, or when you switch off for the day.

2. Virtual Call Centers are Cost Efficient

When you’re a small company, keeping costs low is one of your primary concerns. Virtual call centers take away the need for costly multi-line installations, dedicated in-house staff, and down time as you learn to use and train people on your new system. Most can be hired for as little as $20 per month and offer a range of staff to ensure your phones are always answered. Additionally, as you expand, adding new lines is as easy as clicking a mouse, rather than having a technician install them.

3. Virtual Call Centers require Little Space

Most small business owners, particularly for those who are home-based, find space to be at a premium. Though you might like the idea of having dedicated in-house operators, having a place for them to sit and work may not be realistic. Additionally, phone box exchange systems (PBX) are generally large and cumbersome, making it tough to bring into a small room or home business. Using a VOIP service instead is ideal for limited space.

4. You May Never Meet the Virtual Staff Member

Your business and brand are your lifeblood, and the thought of handing your customers over to someone you’ve never met or trained may feel slightly daunting. Though these operators are vigorously trained to your specs by the companies they work for, you won’t be on hand to handle things if the going gets rough with a customer. If you’re someone who puts a lot of stock in knowing and training your employees personally, then use a VOIP company that focuses on a personal touch and allows you to have more control in the day to day communications process.

Showing your customers that you care about their needs can help foster great relationships, as well as and faith in your brand. Weigh out the costs and benefits of an in-house system versus a virtual call center. While both options offer a wealth of positive points, ultimately it comes down to a matter of your own personal choice for your business.

Small business owner Domonique Powell is intrigued by the ease and convenience of an IP-based cloud PBX. She believes that her customers should be able to speak to her, but appreciates the fact that outsourcing to a live operator will keep her customers happy and help her business to grow.


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