Communications Articles

Why a Virtual Call Center Might Be the Answer

by Suzie Blaszkiewicz
Published on 10 February 2015

Home office desk as a virtual call center

Like many other business processes, call centers aren't tethered to a physical location. In-house call centers are generally for businesses with a low volume of calls that want centralized control over the customer service experience, while outsourced call centers are considered the cost-saving option for handling a large volume of customers.

Neither of these options, however, may be suited for your business. Although the idea of the traditional call center has changed- Airbnb's Portland offices are an unique, albeit aspirational take- some things haven't. In-house or local call centers can still be expensive with high overhead costs, while outsourced call centers bring problems such as a lack of control and language barriers. Luckily, the choice is no longer limited to insourcing or outsourcing; a third, more appealing option enters the mix when you consider virtual call centers.

A virtual call center means that your call center agents aren't located in one physical location, but are operated by your company via a third-party vendor such as Zendesk, Five9, or 8×8 Virtual Contact Center, that has the room to host the equipment and manage the data. Aside from not needing the physical space to operate, a virtual call center offers a lot of the benefits of both an outsourced and in-house call center while eliminating some of the issues associated with the two.

Low cost

The traditionally low cost of call center outsourcing becomes less appealing when factoring in virtual call centers. Where outsourcing was once the answer to expensive in-house or local facilities housing call center agents, virtual call centers offer some of the same low-cost benefits of outsourcing by letting employees work from home. Technologies like VoIP make it even easier to open and operate a virtual call center.

Centralized control

Outsourcing, by definition, means entrusting an external third-party to handle an aspect of your business- in this case, it's customer calls. As a result, outsourcing a call center means that you'll lose peripheral control over that aspect of the business. Even though employees in a virtual call-center aren't in-house, you can still manage them internally from your organization. Many virtual call center applications let you communicate, monitor, and track calls to make sure that employees are sticking closely to your core customer service values.

Better customer service

Customers are a lot more savvy when it comes to technology, and picking up the phone is no longer the knee-jerk reaction for simple problems- making a call is usually the last thing a customer wants to do. Outsourcing calls to a country like the Philippines is OK for basic problems, but when customers have more complex issues, they expect a deeper knowledge of the product or service without having to deal with language barriers. Virtual call centers allow for a more tailored workforce that caters directly to the needs of the customer, including local agents with extensive knowledge of the product or service.

Going virtual

The popularity of outsourced call centers is dwindling, and where a local or in-house call center may not be the best solution, a virtual call center can offer the best of both worlds, giving your customers exactly what they need while keeping your costs at a minimum.

If you're looking to open your own virtual call center, check out some call center apps.


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Apps mentioned in this article