Are you considering a cloud-based call center solution? You might hear it called a virtual call center, a hosted call center or a cloud call center. No matter what you call it, it’s a way to better handle customer interactions while cutting costs.

A cloud-based call center cuts down on telephone connection charges. It does this by handling calls in the cloud instead of through your local phone lines. This allows you to have fewer phone lines. You can also reduce costly overseas or long-distance charges. 

A cloud call center provides nearly unlimited ability to handle peak demand. In a typical on-premise call center, you might wait weeks or months to add phone lines. A cloud-based call center eliminates the cost of adding phone lines and equipment. This means you can scale up immediately. Also, with a cloud call center, you will know exactly what you will pay each month, making it easier to budget.

Cloud call centers can ignore geography and location. Because calls queue in the cloud, they can be routed to the right individual regardless of where they are. This can cut the need for specialists in every location and improve your average call resolution times. Calls can even get handled from home.

Advantages of Cloud-Based Call Center Solutions

Moving call center operations to the cloud means there’s no hardware to buy or software to install. This means faster return on investment (ROI) for your business while providing superior customer service.

There are big benefits to using a cloud call center for your business communications. Here are just a few:

  • Cheaper for both local and international calls
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Automatically answers and directs calls to extensions
  • Many features available, including text, voicemail, call forwarding and conferencing
  • Can expand as your business grows
  • Supports remote, mobile and virtual staff

What to Look for in Cloud-Based Call Center Solutions

Most companies deal with a large number of different communications vendors. You want a vendor that can get rid of the patchwork and bring everything together. The solution should provide workforce optimization and advanced business phone collaboration services. It should also integrate with a unified communications system.

When comparing global call center solutions, choose the one that can work across any communication channel your customers prefer. It also has to integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This makes information available across channels, agents and locations.

Also, you want a call center solution that provides the following features:

  • Intuitive consoles to empower agents to manage customer interactions
  • Contact center analysis for agent performance and contact center operations
  • Quality management tools to provide targeted training and coaching
  • Workforce management tools that allow for scheduling, forecasting and reporting
  • Agent supervisor tools to track metrics and goals
  • Many locations throughout the world with automatic routing to decrease wait time and call lag
  • High levels of security and compliance standards across industries
  • Redundancy and disaster recovery solutions

Your global call center solution should also include other essential features. Some of these are queued callback, post-call surveys and internal chat for agents. It should also include an FAQ knowledgebase and an interactive voice response (IVR) system. All these together improve efficiency, which saves you money.

In any call center, your biggest cost will be for personnel. Recruiting, hiring, staffing and training can eat up the bulk of your budget. Efficient cloud-based call center solutions make information accessible to all agents. This cuts down on the time it takes to handle calls.

You can use training tools as well to speed up learning and tracking against key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help your staff become more efficient and knowledgeable while allowing managers to recognize performance problems for agents. The right call center tool can also help diagnose bottlenecks or places where teams need more training.

Most call centers use popular CRM software such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Zendesk or Microsoft Dynamics. A virtual call center integrates with your CRM to simplify access and sharing of information. This allows agents to see customer histories before they begin the interaction. Doing so leads to a more satisfying exchange and builds customer loyalty. Information in one place also gives your agents the ability to cross-sell and upsell.

Types of Cloud-Based Call Center Solutions

There are several kinds of cloud call centers. To choose the right one for your business, you have to understand their features. Once you know what each one does, you can figure out which to incorporate into your business model.

Outbound Call Center

Let’s say you have a sales team, retention specialists or contract renewal agents. If these reach out to customers and prospects on an ongoing basis, you have an outbound call center. These professionals understand your company’s unique selling proposition.

You want to drive results and engagement. Your agents want an application that helps them feel confident and capable. The right outbound call center software will deliver on both these expectations.

You may already have a cloud-based CRM application in place. But call centers and omnichannel contact centers need more functionality. They should be able to support, track and analyze high volumes of calls. They should also track emails or interactions via web chat or social media.

Global Call Center

With a global call center, you can ease communication between international locations. You may have a business that has offices overseas or has an international customer base. If so, you need a way to connect your employees and serve your wide customer base.

If you’re using a traditional call center, you might run into difficulties. This may involve inter-office communication or expensive international calling. A global call center is a solution that can make it easy to manage your international business. It can also help you provide stellar service to your customers, regardless of where they are.

Benefits of a Global Call Center

A global call center can empower your organization. When your business spans the globe, you'll need a call center that meets your unique needs. Here are some of the biggest ways global call centers can improve your business:

1. Reduced Costs

With a third-party cloud call center, you can reduce costs. This includes infrastructure, maintenance, hardware and more. If you’re using a traditional call center, all these will be company expenses. Plus, if your call center operates over phone lines, you’ll have to factor in the cost of long-distance calls as well.

Cloud call centers receive and place calls over a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) connection. There won’t be extra fees associated with long-distance calls. It’s also much easier to route calls between many business locations without added costs.

2. Multilingual Capabilities

If you have a diverse customer base, you might need to offer multilingual support. With an in-house call center, this will be difficult and quite costly. With a cloud call center behind you, you have access to a global network of agents to draw upon. This can help you meet the needs of different language markets right away. You can also break into new markets and rapidly bring on new agents.

3. Around-the-Clock Support

When you’re serving customers all over the globe, you need support staff that meets their needs. And you don't have the luxury of worrying about what time it is. Maintaining a 24/7 support staff is almost impossible to do in-house. But with a cloud call center provider, you can manage and deploy an around-the-clock support staff.

FEMA Call Center

The goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is to help during disasters. For FEMA to respond to a disaster, the governor of the state must declare a state of emergency. The governor then has to request that FEMA responds to the disaster.

The FEMA call center is at the front lines of handling emergency requests. As you can expect, when a disaster occurs, the call center can get overloaded with phone calls. In some cases, FEMA will even outsource call center capacity to a third party. This is what happened during Hurricane Florence.

When an emergency response is ongoing, FEMA will handle calls through their call center. Common reasons to call FEMA include:

  • Questions relating to disaster help
  • To get information about disaster recovery centers
  • Questions about National Flood insurance or other disaster-related insurance
  • To get grants for repairs not covered by insurance

As you can expect, it’s very difficult to get through to an agent during an emergency. When an area undergoes a natural disaster, the FEMA call lines get hit hard. Since disasters strike at random, it can be difficult to scale up the call center at a moment’s notice. There often isn’t time to train extra staff. In this situation, scaling up will usually involve bringing on a third-party contractor.

VoIP Call Center

Traditionally, call centers use line-based communication to make and receive calls. It is an aging technology and does not meet the requirements of modern call centers.

VoIP cloud telephony is the latest standard in high-performance cloud call center solutions. VoIP enables the transmission of voice and multimedia data. This happens over the internet. So it is the number one choice for cloud communications. Since the internet is carrying the data, there are no call carriers that come between. This lowers the costs.

VoIP call centers provide the following advantages:

  • Inbound and outbound call tracking: The calls from your company provide useful data for lead generation. Tracking this data provides more engagement and business opportunities
  • IVR systems: IVR is a method through which you can automate calls. Customers will be talking with an automated system. The system will take in their queries and create tickets. This helps an agent arrange to call them back later
  • Call recording: Call recording helps you test call quality and pinpoint issues. This tool can help better train new agents
  • Broadcast call: A company may want to send out an urgent announcement and has no time for calling people one by one. A broadcast call feature can help agents call many customers at the same time
  • CRM integration: Cloud-based VoIP call center software also helps integrate CRM systems. A CRM system is a useful tool to access customer data. This facility enhances the capability of the call center software. It also allows agents to get more details about the customers they are talking to
  • Communication on multiple channels: With a VoIP call center, agents can boost customer satisfaction. To do this, they use the communication channels your customers prefer. It is possible to connect with customers on popular platforms. You can also use email and chat through a single interface

Virtual Call Center

A virtual call center is like a traditional one except that it's cloud-based. Here, your agents do not need to stay in a central geographical location. They work remotely and can be sent throughout the world. They may also work in an office or from home to save on infrastructural resources and expenses. You also won't need to invest in much hardware.

The center operates via hosted software. You can access this in the cloud. In fact, your agents may only need limited hardware. They could operate with a headset, computer and internet connection.

Virtual call center software helps with customer service and sales-related inbound calls. It is also useful for outbound calls when your agents need to conduct market research surveys, advertise or sell your products. In fact, one of the best ways to boost your sales is via your virtual center's predictive dialer.

Virtual centers are cheaper. You may not need to set up physical offices or buy expensive hardware. It's more secure because all your data gets saved in the cloud and not stored on agents' computers. Plus, you could source more agents from any location if there are none available in your area.

8x8's contact center solution provides rich analytics and quality management. Also, it has omnichannel capabilities for the ultimate customer service experience. The 8x8 solution provides skills-based routing for improved call resolution times.

A virtual call center is an evolved form of the traditional call center. It has a range of benefits that traditional or on-premise call centers do not have. You'll spend less on infrastructural expenses. This means you could save on hardware and office equipment. Also, you can expand your customer service globally. Your agents can work remotely via virtual call center software. They don't have to actually work from any specific location.

Do You Need a Cloud Call Center?

You need a cloud call center if you want to simplify your communications and maintain a suite of essential features. Also, if you need to unify all your communications, this could be your answer. With a cloud call center, you can optimize your organization's workforce and strengthen collaboration.

When you’re able to integrate your CRM solution with your communications system, information becomes available across channels, agents and locations.

Ready for the Next Step?

Contact a solutions expert to learn more about how 8x8 cloud communications and collaboration solutions can help increase productivity and lower costs at your business. Call 1.866.879.8647 or visit 8x8.com.

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