A virtual call center enhances a business’s ability to communicate with international or long-distance domestic customers. An efficient and properly designed call center can improve an enterprise’s customer service and help to generate new sales. This article gives 5 tips to help to help you build a virtual call center.
Get a Dedicated Phone Line and a High Speed Internet Connection
A dedicated phone line will reduce bad connections and prevent dropped calls. Furthermore, a landline or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is more reliable than a mobile phone. A high-speed internet connection will enhance your ability to respond to customer questions and responses. If you use staff for the call center, they may also need a dedicated phone line and high-speed internet connection.
Virtual Phone Numbers
A virtual call center depends upon your having virtual phone numbers in both international and domestic locations. Call forwarding firms like Global Call Forwarding sell virtual phone numbers. For example, Global Call Forwarding sells these numbers in over 140 countries, giving its clients a virtual office in those localities. Global Call Forwarding also sells toll free 800 and vanity numbers, but they cost more than virtual numbers and do not associate your business with an international area or city.
When a caller dials a virtual phone number, the call forwarding company routes the calls to previously specified phone numbers or VoIP phones or computers. Many free features accompany Global Call Forwarding’s virtual numbers. These include voicemail, call transfer, customized greetings, and fax forwarding to emails. Other free features to help you build a virtual call center are:
- Time-of-Day Routing – This feature changes the call destination based upon the time of the call. It also supports Day-of-Week Routing.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – The customized greeting queries the caller and routes calls based on verbal or keypad responses. It also works with a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) feature to reach extensions in your office.
- Sequential Forwarding – This features forwards busy or unanswered calls to a maximum of four additional numbers.
- Select Country Forwarding – This feature routes calls based on the country of origin. For example, if a person calls from Spain, it is possible to forward the call to a Spanish-speaking agent.
- Customizable Application Programming Interface (API) – This feature allows a company to integrate the virtual number application with its operating environment.
Install Call Center Equipment
Your virtual call center will need professional quality telephone equipment. You may have to recycle your $20 phones and invest in $100 phones. A professional quality phone will prevent static and background noise to assure effective communications between clients and the call center.
You may also want to invest in a hands-free headset for your telephone. This will allow you to multitask while talking to customers. Your hands will be free to write or type on a computer keyboard. You will also be able to move around the office while talking on the phone.
If you are working on an older computer, you may have to upgrade your computer equipment, especially if installing call center software, cloud-based VoIP software, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Older computers are often sluggish when running modern graphic-heavy software.
If you choose to work with a cloud-based VoIP application, you may need:
- VoIP softphones and associated hardware – soft phones plug into computer Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports.
- Hard phones (IP phones) – A hard phone plugs into the ethernet port of a router, and it communicates with the VoIP server.
- Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs) – ATAs convert the analog signals from standard phones into the digital signals needed for VoIP communications.
- Digital Telephone Adapters (DTAs) – DTAs permit the use of legacy handsets with IP PBXs.
- VoIP Interface Cards – This is a computer expansion card to add phones to the VoIP network.
- VoIP Gateways – These gateways connect VoIP networks to Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs).
- VoIP PBX – This is a cloud-based software replacement to traditional PBX hardware.
Invest in Call Center Software
When you start your call center, the features that accompany the virtual phone number may be sufficient to manage the operations. However, as the call center operations increase, it may be advisable to invest in call center software. Indications that it is time to consider this software are:
- You begin paying too much money for add-on features on your virtual phone numbers.
- You cannot get the features that you need. For example, call abandonment rates are too high and a “callback from queue” feature is not available.
- Your customer information is not comprehensive. Call center software can compile this. data automatically from multiple sources.
- The business tools used in the call center are not integrated.
- You sense that customer satisfaction is dropping.
Some Benefits of Cloud-Based Call Center Software
The software reduces maintenance, management, and IT costs. It has an easy startup and is scalable to business size. It helps the management of multi-site call centers. There is no capital investment and no technology learning curve.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Call Center Software
- There are four types of call center software: on-premise, hosted, cloud-based, and browser-based. Choose one that meets your business model.
- Consider the specific features that you require.
- Consider the integrations that you will need like helpdesk, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), chat, networking, and marketing.
- Make sure the software gives your business flexibility.
- Will the software be scalable enough to meet planned business increases?
- Is it easy to use?
- How long will deployment take?
- Make sure the software has appropriate training material.
- Will there be 24/7 technical support?
- What are the software vendor’s customer service ratings?
- Will the software be cost-effective?
- Can you get a free trial?
Attract International Business via Your Website
Your website should have a simple design that is easy to use. Use content that is readable on mobile phones since many visitors use them to search the web. Banners should be clickable, and links to information about the business should be prominent and instructive. Display important information at the upper portions of the page. Scroll to lesser important content. Make it easy for customers and other website visitors to contact your company. Include thoughtful articles and blogs to help attract repeat visitors. Minimize the use of stock photos, memory-grabbing videos, and popups. Consider the benefits of social media feeds because they send visitors away from the website. Finally, frequently review website content to keep it current.