By implementing a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-based call center, businesses can slash their operating costs and increase sales. VoIP allows for delivery of voice information over the Internet. Untethered from costly infrastructure investments, companies that have VoIP dial tones or hosted systems can concentrate not on managing the call center but on serving the needs of their customers.
As an added benefit, there’s no need to spend money to train IT administrators on the nuances of the system.
“The training for a VoIP system is very similar to the training you receive when you get a new traditional phone system,” says Alex Desberg. “VoIP is another tool, similar to features such call transfer or conferencing. The technology is not hard to grasp.”
Smart Business spoke with Desberg about VoIP, the benefits of call queuing and what types of businesses are likely to reap the biggest rewards.
How do VoIP call center services differ from traditional services?
A traditional call center is equipped with a large, private branch exchange (PBX) phone system designed to manage the network. This requires a hefty financial investment in the system, as well as software to manage reporting. In the hosted realm with VoIP, there is just 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.
Also, in the traditional telephone world, you need a phone line for each inbound call in order to stack up callers. This requires a significant volume of phone lines and is accompanied by cash outlays month in, month out, whether you use them or not.
In the VoIP world, 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.
How can a company benefit from call queuing?
Call queuing allows an unlimited number of callers to wait for an available customer service representative while they are on hold. The primary benefit of call queuing ties into the economy of scale aspect.
Businesses have a limited number of customer service representatives who can schedule appointments. 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. Call queuing helps minimize the number of personnel needed to service the same number of customers.
What kinds of companies can benefit from VoIP call center services?
Clients such as plumbers, electricians and glass replacement companies can benefit. They service a large area and operate out of one centralized location, and it’s important for them to have a local number in every market that they service. Businesses that utilize VoIP call center services are able to provide a local number even though the calls are handled remotely. This works particularly well with franchises that are supporting a large geographic area.
Car dealerships also benefit from VoIP call center services. Typically, they have different call volumes throughout the day. In the mornings, car dealerships receive a lot of calls into their service departments but might only have two service managers, and the influx of calls can be overwhelming.
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 relatively quickly. By utilizing VoIP, dealerships don’t have to invest in a huge call center-type phone system.
Are there disadvantages to using VoIP call center services?
VoIP call center services aren’t designed for megacorporations. Companies with huge call center capacities can’t achieve all of the statistics and reporting they need. However, for small and medium-sized businesses that have never done call center services — but that would like to — VoIP is a great starting point. VoIP can make companies look bigger than they really are and can help them handle a larger customer base.
How can a call center make a smooth transition from traditional phone services to a VoIP model?
There are two ways to employ VoIP. It can be hosted, or it can provide dial tones to an existing phone system. 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.
Alex Desberg is a 20-year veteran of launching and marketing Internet technology. Most of his technology tenure has been with regional and national providers. At Ohio.net, a wholly owned subsidiary of Doylestown Communications, Desberg has been the development spearhead of a mature VoIP product line designed for business application and brings his support and knowledge to the B2B environment.
Insights Telecommunications is brought to you by Ohio.net