It is said that loyal customers can help your business grow more than a heavy advertisement campaign. How? Because when customers are satisfied, they help spread the good word about your brand. Thus, there is a greater chance they share their positive experience with their friends and family who may become interested in trying your solution.
One of the factors that plays a significant role in retaining your customers and creating your brand image is customer service. Due to its importance, companies are making huge investments in establishing call centers and hiring the best Customer Service Representatives (CSRs).
Virtual businesses, where almost all the employees are working remotely, rely on virtual call center agents. For example, it’s not unusual that an American company has some call center agents sitting in Pakistan, others in South America, the Philippines, etc. Apart from this, the COVID-19 pandemic also increased the demand for virtual contact center services.
But, how important is a virtual call center really? Is it something that could benefit an entrepreneur? And how can you start your own virtual call center business?
Let’s dive into the subject and explore everything about this topic.
Why Start a Virtual Call Center Business?
The virtual call center business trend is skyrocketing. These centers operate just like traditional customer service call centers, with the difference that agents answering calls aren’t present in one single location. These agents might be sitting in their homes, in certain offices, or on the road with only a virtual call center software connecting them.
Many companies have customers who are in different time zones, and having a virtual or cloud contact center helps accomplish many company goals. Therefore, if you’re looking for a great startup idea, a virtual call center business can be one of the great options. Let’s see three common reasons why you should start a virtual call center business:
- It helps companies reduce operation, infrastructure and maintenance costs
- It gives you the opportunity to provide employment for people from all over the world
- According to firstresearch.com, US call centers bring in a total of approximately $21 billion annually, with an average revenue of $4 million
- It doesn’t require a very big investment to start and run, unlike a traditional call center.
How to Start a Virtual Call Center Business
The best part of starting your own Virtual call center business is that you can do it from the comfort of your home. You won’t need any huge rooms to store expensive computing servers, you won’t need any cubicles full of agents talking over each other, you won’t need an IT support team available at all times, and the benefits don’t stop here.
Let’s take a look at some of the initial steps needed to get hands-on on this business venture:
1. Arrange a Dedicated Workspace
Once you start working remotely, you’ll need to adequate a workspace, separated from your own bedroom. It needs to be a comfortable, distraction-free room with no background noise.
Use this space as your own office and place a big calendar for project management, have your scripts handy, post something visible to motivate yourself like a picture of your family, the car you want to buy or motivational quotes. Get all your call center agents to have a similar dedicated workspace.
2. Essential Hardware and Software
You need to have a strong and stable internet connection, a desktop or laptop, and a high quality headset with noise-cancelling mic. It’s recommendable that your computer has at least 6GB of RAM and a good CPU, since you’ll need to execute many processes at the same time. For some cases you might need a physical phone, but it’s not mandatory.
Now, regarding software you will need a VoIP phone system, a time-tracker for your agents, a project management tool and a team communications app such as Skype or Microsoft Teams SBC. The good news is that most of this software can be integrated with each other for streamlined operations.
A VPN connection is also something to consider in order to secure your communications. This is a must if you’re planning to deal with delicate information such as Credit Card numbers over the phone.
3. Determine Your Focus
You have some flexibility when deciding what the purpose of your Call Center will be, but you need to set a clear direction and develop your project accordingly. What is your niche? Do you want to sell or offer customer support or both? Will you do business with a single client or several to handle their calls?
If you are more experienced in cold calling or appointment setting you’ll probably get better results from a sales call center. On the other hand, if you’ve worked in customer care for several years and you know how to make a customer happy after a bad experience, then a Customer Service orientation might be a better fit. You can do both but you’ll need a bigger team and higher investment.
You can also specialize your services according to the type of industry you want to do business with. For example, a healthcare institution will need very specific features and legal prompts, whereas an ecommerce business will be happy if you’re able to offer order processing and secure payment collection.
4. Do Your Own Prospecting
Some professionals are fortunate enough to establish contacts with some companies who are ready to outsource their customer care services. You can grab these opportunities and then you won’t have much to do with research.
But in case you have no project in hand or want even more, dedicate some business hours to research national or international business outsourcing their customer care service and then offer your services to them. This also depends on the number of languages you and your team are experts in.
5. Advertise Your Services
You need to make your business visible to your potential customers. Google ads is an excellent tool to start with, but you can also do it organically by promoting your service in Freelance Marketplaces, creating Social Media pages and posting valuable content, having a website with a well nurtured blog, etc.
Ask for other websites to review and rate your offer, develop an Influencer Marketing campaign, or alternatively hire an advertising agency to help you fulfill all these tasks. You just need one customer, because from then on your job is to scale up.
6. Hire and Train Your Center Agents
As soon as you start getting your first clients, you’ll need to start thinking about the positions you’ll need to cover, according to your client’s requirements and the contract you both sign.
If you’re starting small you’ll need at least someone in charge of onboarding and training, 2 or 3 agents on the phone and a quality assurance supervisor, which could be yourself. Hire remote freelancers to lower your spendings as much as possible, but be mindful of their qualifications and professionalism. Your employees will be valuable assets for your call center, so it’s good to invest in good training and educational upgrading.
The world has observed a great transition in the way businesses were managed after Covid 19. There is a rising trend in outsourcing services such as customer communications. This presents an amazing opportunity for virtual call center startups because they’re services are on demand and it doesn’t require a big investment.
With patience, a clear strategy, and persistence, you can start a highly profitable virtual call center from your home. Hopefully this article is what will give you the final impulse to start now.