Cloud-based Call Centers Offer New Freedom and Innovation for Businesses With Low-Cost VoIP
Owning or managing a business often attracts people who want independence—especially from increasingly irrelevant constraints such as location or the availability of office space. That’s why some of these entrepreneurs are exploring cloud-based VoIP technology, which gives owners and workers alike the freedom to work from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection.
This telecommuting trend is spreading in a variety of different kinds of businesses, and in particular, it’s transforming call centers across North America. Approximately 80% of contact centers now have some work-from-home agents on the payroll, and their owners are increasingly finding that VoIP-based virtual call centers give them the freedom to keep or expand their workforces.
Call centers are the ideal type of business for work-from-home or mobile workforce innovations, since so much of the work is done via phone. Perhaps that’s why call centers are increasingly going virtual, as relatively low-cost business VoIP systems allow providers to offer all of the features of a traditional PBX system, with additional high-tech features. Virtual call centers make this possible because the PBX equipment and call center software is hosted in the cloud by the provider. The most fully featured, such as 8x8’s Virtual Contact Center, offer automatic call routing and interactive voice response (IVR), as well as great telecom rates.
New Freedom to Roam, Thanks to VoIP-based Management Features
Some companies have already given hosted VoIP call centers the acid test. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, for instance, James Mackie, Director of Customer Service at The Clearing House, says that 8x8’s Virtual Contact Center passed the work-from-anywhere test. And when he says “anywhere,” he means it.
“The entire NYC Center team was able to work remotely as long as they had an Internet connection,” says Mackie. “They provided service to customers by simply using their cell phones and laptops. Even when employees’ homes were without power, they could go to a nearby Starbucks or Barnes & Noble and take customer calls. We even had an employee on vacation stuck in an airport because of canceled flights, taking live customer calls.”
While some firms turn to offshoring to trim costs, others are finding that 8x8 VoIP technology saves them so much compared to outdated PBX systems, that they can find technology-based economies of scale in the United States that make it economical to hire or keep US workers. The key? The huge worker productivity gains, combined with a dramatic cost savings over traditional PBX systems, cutting the cost to about a quarter of a comparable non-VoIP PBX.
“Virtual Call Center has improved the productivity of my workers 50 percent,” says Linh Tran, Manager of Technical Operations at Sharevault.
Freedom to Grow the Business
For others, freedom to grow their business is paramount, and means the realization of years of entrepreneurial aspirations.
“Acumen Brands has grown substantially in the last three months,” says Kelli Strachan, Customer Service Manager for the company. “We own and operate a few large online retail stores. When we launched 8x8 this summer, we had five agents. Currently, we have 29! Throughout the five months we have had 8x8 Virtual Contact Center, it has enabled our company to make crucial decisions based off of the information gathered from the reports it generates,” says Strachan.
The key to such rapid growth was being able to exploit the advantage that most well-organized, data-driven small businesses have, given the proper technology: With the right information, they can turn on a dime.
“We have been able to increase our efficiency and take more calls per agent (and more quickly) by using different groups and channels,” says Strachan. “We are very thankful for the 8x8 system which has allowed our customer service department to be taken to the next level as our company has grown.”
Some call center managers say their size and growth have made them fully appreciate the scalability of a virtual contact center. “We use 8x8 to provide phone service to over 125 employees in multiple locations and have a simple, centralized management interface for everything,” says Jeff Braswell, Director at Leland Management.
For Braswell and others who are putting call center technology to the test, this scalability payoff usually comes in the form of increased flexibility, a win for businesses and workers alike. Whether the objective is greater options to travel or work from any location, or the ability to grow as fast as new opportunities arise, VoIP-based call center software is an all-round win.
To see how VoIP-based technology can transform your business, check out this helpful resource on virtual call center solutions.