Choosing the Best Call Center for Your Business

Jan 28, 2013

When the phrase “call center” comes to mind, it may automatically conjures up images of rows of employees hooked up to headsets and telephones in a telemarketing environment. While yes, this mental image is an accurate example of a business using call centers, there are countless other shapes and sizes available in call centers, regardless of the business’s industry or size.

Whether it is a startup company or an established enterprise, if your business receives a high number of calls from customers with questions, a call center with business VoIP could greatly improve your company’s customer service.

A VoIP call center is valuable to any business with high phone traffic in that it provides ways to efficiently manage, answer, direct, and forward calls to better serve inbound callers. VoIP call centers offer a variety of calling features, such as call conferencing, auto greeting, and call forwarding, all of which can facilitate your attendants in answering and directing your business’s inbound calls quickly and efficiently

In the past, setting up a call center with traditional phone service for a business was a daunting task with a hefty associated price tag. With a traditional call center, each employee needs their own phone line or extension, which can be expensive to add or remove.

VoIP call centers, on the other hand, are much easier and cheaper to install and maintain. They are also more favorable in that they offer scalable service, so you add or subtract to your services without disrupting the infrastructure of your call center.

There are three kinds of VoIP call centers that could benefit your business: on-premise, hosted, and virtual.

On-Premise Call Centers

These call centers include hardware or VoIP software on-site at your business location. On-premise call centers are ideal for large businesses, especially those that have a competent IT team, because your internal staff, instead of a service provider, is responsible for handling the inbound and outbound calls.

On-premise call centers are especially fitting for health care companies or similar kinds of businesses that handle private customer information. Oftentimes these businesses need their own on-site call center to maintain confidentiality and meet regulatory standards.

While confidentially reasons do offer a valuable reason for on-premise call centers, this type of call center is less widely used due to the increasing popularity of hosted and virtual call centers. However, there are still on-premise VoIP call center solutions available that allow bigger businesses with higher call volumes to benefit from low-cost VoIP service.

Hosted Call Centers

Your business’s service provider maintains and operates your call center off-site with a hosted call center. Unlike the on-premise call center, this option eliminates the need for you to staff an IT department to handle your business’s calls. Generally, a hosted VoIP call center is the same or similar system as your on-premise call solution, but the equipment is simply stored and handled elsewhere. Hosted call centers may also be based on cloud technology systems, which handle data through cloud systems via the Internet.

As previously mentioned, because VoIP call centers are scalable, your business can adapt its phone system to best suit the needs of your employees and callers. Hosted call centers are great for growing businesses that are experiencing a spike in call volume, but also enterprise-sized businesses in the market for a hosted solution to handle their high calling traffic.

Additionally, hosted call centers save you big bucks when compared to an on-premise solution, because you don’t have to pay for the upfront costs of the hardware and installation, nor do you have to pay for the maintenance and upkeep down the road.

Many VoIP providers offer multiple plans to help accommodate your business based on its size and function. VoIP company AVAD Technologies, for example offers a hosted Call Center Pro plan, which is a prime option for small to medium sized businesses, while its Call Center Enterprise plan provides greater flexibility for larger companies.

Virtual call centers are sometimes lumped in under the title of hosted call centers, but they differ from hosted call centers (in the strictest definition) in that they operate over Internet cloud technology. However, virtual technology is very popular and any company that advertises a hosted system is likely referring to a virtual system.

These cloud-based call centers are popular options because they are much cheaper to install, and you don’t need to worry about maintenance of the hardware or infrastructure. Because this system runs on an Internet infrastructure, it also gives your business the flexibility to integrate all of your business locations into one virtual call center.

This type of call center is perfect for businesses that have multiple outsourced locations or employees who work remotely. With a virtual call center, all of your dispersed locations and employees can operate under the same call center.

In the case of setting up virtual call center, your business only needs Internet connection, a web browser, and of course phones.

Chloe Mulliner contributes to various tech and telecom websites in San Diego, California.

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