4 Features You Need for Your Virtual Call Center Software
It seems as if everything is going virtual these days, and call centers aren’t being left behind. Because so much business is still conducted over the phone, call centers (and the software they employ) had to up their game to stay relevant. Enter: virtual call centers. A virtual call center is a contact center where the majority of agents work remotely. Rather than working in the typical cubicle setting of a call center office, the agents operate from a separate third party location, a co-working space, or even from their own homes. The software programs used by virtual call centers allow a team to work from different locations while remaining a cohesive unit.
The VoIP Era
Virtual call centers work through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). With VoIP, you use data or a web network to place a phone call, rather than a land phone line. This means that the only things an agent needs to get to work are a solid internet connection, a computer and, of course, the right virtual call center software. With the advent of VoIP technology, more and more companies are employing a remote work protocol, allowing their employees more flexibility, and giving them the opportunity to work in a location that will serve them well. This change will hopefully lead to more satisfied employees, and, in turn, a more successful business.
Virtual call centers have become increasingly prevalent, but they obviously represent a very different work environment than traditional call centers. Given their rising popularity, many businesses may find themselves on a learning curve when trying to incorporate a virtual element to their telebusiness. However, having the right virtual call center software can alleviate some of the pitfalls of making this change.
What Features Do YOU Need?
The main problem with any call center software is the number of features available. New features are being created and implemented all the time. Some software companies are able to balance their platform well, regardless of the number feature changes. But some companies end up blowing their software budget with unnecessary features. No matter which features companies include in their pricing, there are certain ones you must have in order to get ahead in the virtual call center world. Without the basics, it doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a company can cram into their platform. So which features do YOU need? What will help your virtual call center succeed? Here are a few of the best features out there:
1. Inbound and Outbound Capability
- Choosing software with combined inbound and outbound capabilities can save you money and simplify every job in your contact center. While many call center software programs specialize in one or the other, they should at least provide each option. Instead of purchasing two different software solutions, you should consolidate your dialing into one.
- Having both capabilities also keeps agents focused on one dashboard, rather than having to switch between programs depending on their assignments or daily workload. A simplified approach equals higher productivity.
- Unifying inbound and outbound calls also centralizes monitoring and reporting. Managers don’t need to change locations in order to check the performance of each of their inbound and outbound departments.
2. Customizable Options
- A virtual call center software should come with basic functionality such as the ability to set up employee extensions and voicemail boxes, record calls, set call queues, place customers on hold, and forward or transfer calls as needed.
- If your business is going to be solely virtual, you need an option that doesn’t require clunky, expensive VoIP hardware. The main requirements should be a computer with speakers, a headset or microphone, and a winning personality.
- Some of the better software solutions out there have coded their own virtual office tools within the software program. These office tools may include things like an email server, employee chat functionality, task and project management options, calendars, and file sharing. Office tools like these can help you consolidate the tools you use on a regular basis into one program. In contrast, you can find a program that will seamlessly integrate with the programs you currently use.
- If you’re working in the virtual call center world, you’re already familiar with the Cloud. However, some software solutions still haven’t integrated their programs with the Cloud, so you would still need a “home base” to run everything from.
- By using the Cloud, you can literally maintain a dispersed workforce from anywhere, at any time, without losing any data or functionality. This is extremely important for companies wanting to be solely virtual.
- Also, if everything you need is stored in the Cloud, as long as you have a decent internet connection, you can be up and running within minutes. This alleviates the extra time it takes for training a new hire because you can do it all online! The virtually constant connection also helps managers and agents address problems quickly and efficiently, even if they’re away from the office.
4. Built for Management AND Agents
- While the majority of features listed thus far are for the agents, the right virtual call center software will also be built with management in mind. There needs to be a good balance between what an agent can do versus what a manager can do with the same software program.
- Many software solutions out there offer a tool called “Whisper Coaching” or “Call Whisper.” This was specifically designed so managers could help with the continual training of their employees. Managers can be on a call with an agent if needed and give tips or advice without the customer hearing them. This can put out a lot of fires before they really start burning.
- If you’re looking to handle agent management from beginning to end, you need a software solution that can support your goals and offer the tools you need to do everything for your agents, from introductory training to performance evaluations.