Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
August 01, 2012
How to Manage and Schedule Your Call Center through VoIP
By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor
Today, the call center is an essential part of a business in order for it to run efficiently. Over the years, call center agent duties have evolved from fielding phone calls to handling email and online communications. So, customers now rely on call centers to submit email inquiries, request Web chats, and transmit text messages from cell phones. A call center must be equipped with the right tools to sell products, respond to customer questions, resolve technical-support issues, and handle inquiries in a timely and efficient manner, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) could be the answer.
By implementing a VoIP-based call center, businesses reap a lot of benefits including lowering operating costs and increasing sales. Without the need for expensive infrastructure investments, companies can completely focus on the needs of their customers.
Moreover, VoIP eliminates high up-front costs and ongoing operational expenses. A VoIP model also offers flexibility so that companies can affordable add and subtract functionality with low risk. With VoIP, businesses can also quickly change operational size to meet their fluctuating needs. VoIP solutions additionally enable companies to better manage agents and their activities, regardless of location.
“The training for a VoIP system is very similar to the training you receive when you get a new traditional phone system. VoIP is another tool, similar to features such call transfer or conferencing. The technology is not hard to grasp,” Alex Desberg of Ohio.net told Smart Business.
Desberg, a 20-year veteran of launching and marketing Internet technology, went on to discuss VoIP, the benefits of call queuing and what types of businesses are likely to benefit significantly from a VoIP-based call center.
A traditional call center is equipped with a large, private branch exchange (PBX (News - Alert)) phone system designed to manage the network, which requires a large financial investment in the system as well as reporting software. But, he explained, with VoIP there is just a data service.
“For example, if a company has 100 people, but only 20 are in the call center, services can be added for just those 20 people, which keeps the economy of scale down,” said Desberg.
With a traditional telephone you need a phone line for each inbound call to stack up callers, which requires a high volume of phone lines. With VoIP, on the other hand, the features aren’t line by line, they are phone by phone, so you never run out of calling lines.
“VoIP call center services are ideal for small to medium-sized organizations that want to provide call center-type services without making a huge investment,” he said.
Call queuing allows an unlimited number of callers to wait for a customer service agent while they are on hold. The main benefit of call queuing ties into the economy of scale aspect, according to Desberg, because businesses have a limited number of customer service agents, so call queuing minimizes the amount of employees needed.
“Companies don’t want to staff 20 people to manage 20 call-ins; they want two or three customer service people taking calls in the order they were received so customers receive personal interaction and information while they are on hold,” he said.
VoIP call center services can benefit companies including plumbers, electricians and glass replacement companies because they service a large geographical area and operate out of one central location. Businesses that utilize VoIP call center services can provide a local number even though the calls are handled remotely. Specifically, car dealerships benefit from VoIP because they usually have a variety of call volumes throughout the day.
“With call queuing, the service managers can handle calls in the order they were received and customers don’t feel like they are getting the run-around or being routed to voicemail. The calls can be stacked and everyone can be tended to quickly. By utilizing VoIP, dealerships don’t have to invest in a huge call center-type phone system,” said Desberg.
However, VoIP call center services aren’t designed for megacorporations. Companies with huge call center capacities can’t achieve the statistics and reporting they need. For small and medium-sized businesses that have never leveraged call center services, VoIP is a good starting point because it makes companies look bigger than they are and handle a larger customer base.
There are two ways to employ VoIP: hosted, or through dial tones being implemented into an existing phone system. Desberg advised, “You can take baby steps away from the traditional phone services by first transitioning to a VoIP dial tone. Then the next step would be to release yourself from your existing phone system and transition to a hosted system.”
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
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