What Do You Mean By A VoIP Hosted Contact Center?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can allow you to have a contact center of your very own. For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it means having access to your very own advanced communications center that you can use to communicate with customers, employees, vendors, the public, and others. A contact center can have a variety of different applications and integrations that can allow you to optimize your operations around specific goals for your organization.
- Contact Center: A call center that also handles other forms of communication, such as SMS text messaging, online chat, etc. These communication systems can be integrated into software and established to connect directly with visitors to websites and customers listed within software systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) databases.
Contact centers can help your organization communicate better and become more productive. Since these centers are also excellent ways to direct communications and make phone communications more efficient. If your organization has high call volumes, it makes sense to have a contact center to structure your communications.
In this article, we’ll review some of the benefits of contact centers and share information about how you can start your own. By the end, you should have more information about how to begin using VoIP and how to evaluate its features for your organization.
- What’s a Contact Center and How Does It Work?
- How VoIP Can Benefit Your Business
- Creating Your Contact Center
What do you need in a contact center? As you read, think carefully about how you can apply these technologies to benefit your business.
1. What’s a Contact Center and How Does It Work?
Contact centers allow businesses that depend heavily on the use of phone systems to benefit from more efficient operations. These centers are easy to scale to different needs, adding and subtracting phone users and telephone lines as needed. Contact centers have a variety of benefits, such as:
- Queuing: Create queues to manage incoming and outgoing calls. Send the right calls to each agent according to the placement of calls inside the queue, the skill level required to handle the conversation, and the ranking of each agent within an order or hierarchy. Send specific calls to different departments or label calls and send them where they need to go–to voicemail, to a live agent, etc.
- Auto Attendant: You can use an auto attendant to manage incoming calls and direct them to where to places within the queue.
- Prioritization: Give specific priorities to calls with internal or management calls going directly to the front of the line. Or assign different service levels for customers.
- Remote Work: Work remotely as if you’re still inside the office. A VoIP-based contact center makes it easy to connect with the rest of your company’s phone system. You can join-in from anywhere or hire employees who can then work remotely but still maintain consistent branding by joining into the call management system.
2. How VoIP Can Benefit Your Business
Having a VoIP-based contact center has many advantages. VoIP is an improvement over traditional phone service, or plain old telephone service (POTS) that uses landlines to transmit voice audio. Instead, VoIP relies on Internet access to communicate voice data via packets. This service functions differently from POTS, so it can save your organization money and resources. VoIP is easier to maintain than other types of phone service, plus you can access new and improved features at a lower cost. For small businesses in particular, this can provide distinct advantages.
You can outsource a big part of your VoIP system’s management by subscribing to a cloud-hosted VoIP service. With help from your VoIP vendor, you have a reliable and effective service that empowers a variety of different features.
3. Creating Your Contact Center
Getting started is fairly easy. You’ll want to research VoIP and learn about your options for service. There is a great variety of different vendors and service plans on the market, making it easy to find a service that fits your organization’s needs. Start with a thorough assessment of the phone service needs of your organization. From there, enlist help from your employees and team members to learn more about what benefits and advantages they prioritize. With their help, you can find the right kind of phone system.
From there, you may want to follow these other tips:
- Vendors: Compare vendor prices, specialties, and features. Ask each vendor on your list about their experiences with other businesses like yours. See if they can provide references or case studies for you to review.
- Plans: Different plans offer different per-minute rates, minimum usage levels, features, or other characteristics.
- Features: You may need a complex contact center designed for a large number of users, or your business may need a plan designed for a small number of people to use. Do you simply need the basics, or more advanced features?
- Volume: Look for a plan that fits the amount of volume you expect your contact center to have.
- Integrations: If the right integrations aren’t available with a particular vendor, find out if they will customize a plan for you. If not, you might need to keep shopping for a different plan.
- Equipment: Are you going to rely on soft phones or hardware phones? Soft phones are great for remote work, but hardware phones are usually more reliable, for instance. So the types of equipment you need depend largely on how you plan to use your phone system.
Other preferences may factor-in, too. This is why you need to take full stock of your organization’s telephone needs and communicate with different vendors. Create a list of vendors to review and begin comparing them based on the contact center needs that are most important to you. From this point on, start narrowing down your list and planning for implementation.
To implement a new contact center:
- Choose a plan and create a step-by-step strategy for implementing it with help from your vendor.
- Find out how much technical help your vendor can offer. Some vendors don’t provide technical support for every type of phone that is compatible with their technology, so you may not want to choose equipment until you’ve asked your vendor for suggestions.
- Determine how much training will be required to begin using the contact center effectively. Training can also include having the right scripts and phone etiquette, too, but it also includes how to use the equipment and integrations that are important to your organization and contact center operations.
- Observe calls and track metrics. One of the benefits of contact centers is the ability to carefully monitor data analytics and develop conclusions based on how well the contact center is meeting goals. You can provide additional training and resources to employees on an as-needed basis to help your organization grow or accomplish what it needs to.
- In time, you may find that the contact center makes a noticeable difference to your productivity. Learn what you can from your victories and mistakes and make adjustments as necessary to continue to improve important metrics. Don’t lose sight of quality and be sure to maintain standards, even if some of these are harder to quantify than other forms of data.