Given their popularity, starting a virtual call center can’t be that difficult. Or can it? Here’s how to start your virtual call center from scratch.
With the global cloud-based contact center market expected to grow to 20.93 billion USD by 2022, there’s no doubt that virtual call centers are a popular solution. No wonder: they operate beyond physical offices and bring multiple benefits to any contact center.
Given their popularity, getting virtual call centers off the ground can’t be that difficult. Contrary to “physical” call centers, their deployment is not as challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. After all, virtual call centers don’t require much equipment to start things off.
Essentially, virtual call centers leverage VoIP and cloud-based software to facilitate making & receiving calls online, from pretty much any device and location. As long as there’s a stable Internet connection, a virtual call center stays fully-functional.
Starting a virtual call center
The truth is: Since virtual call centers don't need much to operate, setting them up is a fairly straightforward process. And the best part? Once you get through starting a virtual call center, the actual software will be maintained and upgraded by a third-party provider that also offers support throughout the whole process. Here’s how to start a virtual call center in a nutshell.
Before starting a virtual call center, you have to figure out a few things first:
#1 Specify the focus of your virtual call center
First of all, it’s important to decide on the type of the call center you’re going to set up. This will automatically determine the features you should look for in a virtual call center software, as well as the services you’re actually going to provide and the skills needed from your team to do so.
Since call centers can serve multiple purposes, there are different types of virtual call centers. The easiest way to make the choice is to figure out whether you want to focus entirely on outbound call services or only respond to incoming calls. Here’s the difference between inbound & outbound call centers, in case you need more details.
We put together downloadable step-by-step buyer's guide on how to choose the best call center software in 2020.
#2 Determine the organizational structure
Once you decide what type of a call center you’re going to run, it’s time to give the organizational structure (as well as the budget) some thought. Normally, you would have to make substantial investments in office equipment, rent, and high-speed Internet. With virtual call centers, however, there’s no need to spend money on all that.
The only thing you need is a good headset with a microphone and a reliable Internet connection.
Of course, your budget might vary, depending on the preferred setup and focus of your call center. No matter the exact choice, though, you should definitely put some budget aside for salaries and proper call center software. Speaking of:
#3 Choose & implement the right software
With the wide offer available on the market, it’s good to keep some points in mind to make the right choice. We’ve already covered choosing call center software in our step-by-step buyer’s guide, which is bound to help you pick the best tool for your needs:
Once you pick your software, keep in mind that the deployment shouldn’t take too long in order not to impede the work of your virtual call center.
Luckily, when implemented right, many cloud-based call center solutions can take just a moment to go live. In many cases, you will only need to create an account, get a virtual phone number (or a few of them, for that matter), change a few settings, and prepare for making & answering calls right away.
It’s worth mentioning that many call center software providers offer support throughout the implementation process (and after that), so there’s no need to worry if you encounter any difficulties.
Keep in mind, however, that choosing & implementing the right software doesn’t end with a call center tool. To make the most of it, you might want to integrate it with other tools (such as CRM or helpdesk systems, depending on the need of your call center). Here’s exactly why tool integration matters in a call center.
#4 Hire a team of call center agents
By now, you should already have the organizational structure covered. It’s high time to reevaluate how many call center agents you really need.
Here’s the thing: Ultimately, your call center is only as good as your call center agents are. But, if you hire too many, you’ll have to face additional costs. On the other hand, hiring too few means being understaffed and having problems with managing all calls flowing through your call center.
Start small, though, with an experienced team. It will be easier to manage in the long run. Once you scale, your call center software is likely to scale alongside you. Simply add more users or change a pricing plan to accommodate your needs. The good thing with virtual call centers is that your agents can work from anywhere - which gives you access to a truly global talent pool.
#5 Focus on growing your business
Getting a virtual call center off the ground is not only about setting up the software and hiring a few agents. What’s important is not resting on your laurels and keep growing your call center.
First things first, though: building and maintaining a good culture in your brand new call center. This takes commitment, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Working in a call center, even as flexible as a virtual one, is more difficult than you might think.
It’s important to keep the spirits high and facilitate teamwork as much as possible. In order to do so, you need strong call center management and customer-focused metrics to get your team on-board and start meeting the performance targets as soon as possible.
Call center start-up: Checklist
Now that you know the details of the virtual call center start-up, you might want to have the whole process handy for future reference. Here’s a call center start-up checklist to make it easier for you.
Start a call center business right away
As can be seen, with good organization and a little help from a call center software provider, you can start a call center business in just a few steps. Make sure you follow the checklist and choose dedicated call center tools that can meet your needs all the way.
Actually, if you’re ready to take your virtual call center off the ground - you should definitely check what CloudTalk has to offer in that department.