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Virtual call centers vs. on-site: Which should you choose?

Virtual call centers vs. on-site: Which should you choose?

If you’re planning to launch a call marketing campaign, one of your first decisions will be whether to deploy a virtual call center or an on-premise call center to handle your incoming inquiries.

Virtual call centers (VCCs) optimize technology so their agents can field calls while working from their homes or from satellite offices away from primary facilities. The more traditional on-premise facilities typically operate from a central location.

On-premise centers are more widespread in the U.S.; a 2014 survey found 77.5 percent of all call centers are premise-based. Of those that do employ at-home agents, 44 percent have less than 26 percent of their staffs working out of their homes, and only 2 percent are staffed primarily by telecommuting agents.

Still, many industry analysts say virtual call centers are becoming more prominent, partly because of their ability to attract more employees. Research by Mercer shows employee turnover remains the No. 1 greatest operational challenge for such centers, with rates ranking at 27 percent for entry-level agents, 20 percent for intermediate staff and 12 percent for senior agents.

Before you decide how your inbound marketing calls will be handled, you may wish to consider the pros and cons of both kinds of facilities.

Advantages of virtual call centers

  • The job can be attractive to agents across the world who want flexible hours and would rather work from the comfort of their homes, avoiding commutes, close adherence to company culture and office mandates such as dress codes. Often, such employees can take on other jobs or tasks to supplement that income. All that means viable employees may be easier to find.
  • Agents can place orders, communicate with other personnel and otherwise work efficiently via highly targeted software, advanced phone systems, and the internet.
  • The performance of VCC agents can be easily monitored via call tracking and recording software.
  • VCC employees can often be available 24-7.
  • Employers can forgo certain capital costs associated with housing, utilities, equipment and employee amenities.
  • Through technology and agent training, callers can still be given the impression they’re working with a designated, well-established company department.
  • Agent recruitment can be handled through firms that specialize in finding remote workers.
  • Local agents familiar with local languages and customs can be hired to work in given regions or countries.
  • Your use of a VCC can easily scale with your business fluctuations.
  • Small businesses might better control costs by working with a VCC that imposes no monthly call minimums, offers seasonal options or offers other plans customized to your needs and budget.

Advantages of brick-and-mortar centers

  • Ongoing agent training and performance monitoring can sometimes be more efficient when agents are all in one location.
  • Changes related to new technology and devices can be easier when implemented on-site instead of at multiple locations.
  • Offshore VCCs aren’t always viewed favorably by callers who perceive that American jobs are being taken by foreigners, especially when language barriers are an issue.

Whether you opt for an on-call facility or a virtual call center for your inbound marketing needs, Dial800 will provide you with a complementary Call Management audits to give you in-depth recommendation for your call marketing campaign.

 

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