Virtual Call Center Guide

Virtual Call Center Guide
Article by Zarah AriolaZarah Ariola
Last Updated: May 04, 2023

Virtual call centers (VCC) have become the modern way to receive telephone calls from customers and leads.

This type of service enables businesses to enjoy the benefit of an in-house call center without the overhead and hassle of hiring and training employees, installing the technology, and keeping track of hours.

By operating a virtual call center, your company saves time and money in many ways. It can also perform more efficiently than if it hired employees locally.

Receive proposals from top call center agencies. It’s free.
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

What Is a Virtual Call Center?

A virtual call center is an outsourced call center that offers an array of telemarketing, customer service, and sales assistance services remotely.

Third-party businesses operate VCCs that contract with other firms to handle inbound customer calls.

The VCC will allow employees to handle your company's phones and provide phone service.

Ultimately, this setup enables employees to respond to calls without being physically present in the call center — hence the term "virtual call center."

You can implement virtual contact center services for inbound or outbound customer service calls, sales calls, telemarketing calls, and more.

4 Types of Virtual Call Centers 

1. Inbound Virtual Call Centers   

Inbound call center companies focus on receiving calls from clients. Their goal is to respond to customer concerns and inquiries. This type of VCC typically offers product or service support, addresses questions, processes orders, and administers call transfers. 

2. Outbound Virtual Call Centers   

Outbound VCCs focus primarily on reaching out to and attracting potential customers. Their main services include market research, marketing outreach, making outflow sales and follow-up calls, acquiring qualified leads, and welcoming new clients and educating them on business information.   

3. Blended Virtual Call Centers   

Blended VCCs combine inbound and outbound call center services. They cover everything outlined in the previous two points—from support to sales.  

4. Omnichannel and Multichannel Virtual Call Centers   

Multichannel and omnichannel VCCs facilitate agent-customer conversations on different platforms, including phone, email, chat, social media, and SMS. These are united all in one place, enabling agents for easy outreach and follow-ups where agents can get in touch with customers most conveniently.  

10 Best Virtual Call Center Software Solutions in 2023

1. Dialpad Ai   

Dialpad has built-in AI-powered features that function in real-time. They are:   

  • Agent Coaching 
  • Chatbot 
  • Self-service 
  • Hyper-accurate voice transcription 
  • Sentiment analysis   

These enable you to access all agent-caller interactions—no matter the channel—using a single application that is retrievable on any device in any location. In addition, Dialpad can allow integration with Zendesk, Salesforce, and HubSpot, tying them all together in one place.   

An excellent choice for small and medium-sized businesses as well as mid-market enterprises, Dialpad is best for:   

  • CRM integrations 
  • Outgoing calls 
  • Call rerouting 
  • Workforce engagement   

Pricing: $15 per month (Standard); $25 per month (Pro); Enterprise plan available upon request  

2. Aircall   

This virtual call center software can help you evaluate agent performance, both as a team and as individuals. The top features of Aircall include:   

  • Interactive voice response (IVR) in various languages 
  • Call routing and skill-based rerouting 
  • Cloud-based calling 
  • Call queuing and queue callback 
  • Call whispering 
  • Live call monitoring 
  • Reporting and analytics   

Moreover, this virtual call center software can help you evaluate agent performance, both as a team and as individuals.   

Pricing: $25/user per month (Starter); $30/user per month (Essential); $50/user per month (Expert); tailor-made offer available upon request  

3. Avaya   

Avaya is a heavyweight, enterprise-level omnichannel virtual call center software product. It is available as a cloud-based and on-premise solution.   

Avaya comes with these functionalities:   

  • Omnichannel support 
  • Call rerouting 
  • AI digital automation 
  • Sentiment analysis 
  • Desktop and mobile compatibility 
  • Facial and voice biometrics 
  • Toll-free support 
  • Call monitoring 
  • Reports and analytics   

Pricing: Available on demand  

4. Nextiva   

Nextiva is an easy-to-use voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) virtual call center software solution that enables you to communicate with more customers with fewer agents in less time.   

Boasting of zero downtime, it can help optimize the call flow and automate interactions through virtual agents to streamline client experience.   

Get these features with Nextiva:   

  • Call recording 
  • Call forwarding, routing and queuing 
  • IVR 
  • Automatic call distribution (ACD) 
  • Cloud-based calling 
  • Reporting and analytics dashboard   

Pricing: $18.95/user per month (Essential); $22.95/user per month (Professional); $32.95/user per month (Enterprise)  

5. Bitrix24   

Bitrix24 provides several customer care channels, such as live chat, email queues and rentable telephone lines. All these can be integrated into customer relationship management (CRM) tools and task management software products.   

Furthermore, it offers an on-site solution for companies that are capable of hosting and managing their own data storage.   

These are the top features of Bitrix24:   

  • Internal team collaboration 
  • IVR 
  • HD video conference calls 
  • Task automation 
  • Call rerouting 
  • CRM support 
  • On-cloud and on-site options 
  • Omnichannel availability   

Pricing: $49 per month for five users (Basic); $99 per month for 50 users (Standard); $199 per month for 100 users (Professional); $2,990 per month for 50 users on-premise (Business); $24,990 per month for 1,000 users on-premise (Enterprise)  

6. Dixa   

Dixa runs entirely on a web browser-based cloud. This makes it a simple-to-set-up virtual call center software program. With caller recognition functionality and advanced call distribution algorithms, Dixa is a modern solution designed to enhance customer and call center administrator experiences.   

It is best known for these features:   

  • Skill-based and priority-based call routing and call barging 
  • Call monitoring 
  • Customized quality assurance (QA) 
  • Internal team collaboration 
  • Application programming interface (API) 
  • CRM and other software integration  

Pricing: $39/agent per month (Essential); $89/agent per month (Growth); $139/agent per month (Ultimate); customized services available upon request 

7. LiveAgent   

LiveAgent is designed for multichannel helpdesks. This means that your agents can assist clients via any platform. Because the software does not charge on a per-minute usage basis, LiveAgent is cost-efficient for startups, small operations and medium-sized enterprises that constantly rely on customer support.   

LiveAgent is used for:   

  • 24/7 client support 
  • Outgoing calls 
  • Automated callbacks 
  • Advanced reporting and analytics 
  • APIs and integrations with numerous other web-based business tools   

Pricing: $15/agent per month (email ticketing); $29/agent per month (email ticketing + chat support); $49/agent per month (omnichannel helpdesk)  

8. 8×8   

8x8 provides collaboration and cloud-based communication solutions, including:   

  • Inbound and outbound calls 
  • Multi-channel support 
  • Call distribution and routing 
  • Agent performance tracking 
  • CRM integration 
  • Integration with sales and marketing automation   

Pricing: $500 per month (Basic); Enterprise available upon request  

9. VoxDesk   

VoxDesk helps organizations manage and optimize inbound and outbound call center operations through its wide-ranging features and tools, like:   

  • Advanced algorithms 
  • Machine learning technology 
  • Call recording 
  • Soundboards 
  • Call logging 
  • Call disposition 
  • Reports and analytics   

Pricing: $14.99 per month (Cloud); $74.95 per month (Enterprise); locally hosted on your own server available upon request 

10. Five9   

The AI-powered and cloud-based Five9 system offers inbound and outbound call functionalities, plus an administrative platform, helping customize the user experience. It can also provide hundreds of varying reports.   

Other features of Five9 are:   

  • Call routing, queuing and recording 
  • Omnichannel support 
  • Reports and analytics 
  • Agent management 
  • Quality management   

Pricing: $149 per month (Core); $169 per month (Premium); $199 per month (Optimum); $299 per month (Ultimate)  

How Does a Virtual Call Center Work?

At its core, a virtual contact center is an outsourced call center. The company you hire to handle your inbound customer calls employs agents.

The person who owns the company sets up a network of computers and telephone lines to route the calls to your business or another business.

They use technology to manage the call flow and provide call stats to the business owners.

The agents work in a call center environment, using a computer and headset to access your business's contact information and customer data.

They can also transfer calls to other employees or departments, or even to customers, based on the particulars of the conversation.

The call center software has built-in features that allow the agents to handle various calls — including sales calls, inbound customer service calls, and outbound marketing calls. Many virtual call centers are now leveraging advanced technologies developed by enterprise software development companies to enhance their customer service capabilities.

For example, if you're a company that sells products and has an online store, your call center might receive customer service calls related to items that customers want to return.

7 Reasons Why VCC Services Are Better than Answering Services

Answering services and virtual contact center services are both services that allow you to receive calls when your business is closed. However, some critical differences between the two make one of them better than the other.

Virtual call center services are the best option for businesses looking to outsource their call center services.

Here are seven other reasons why you may want to consider a virtual call center over an answering services provider:

  1. More Opportunities for Growth - A VCC can offer additional services, such as customer service and web chat, whereas an answering service can only answer the phone.
  2. Personalized Services - A virtual contact center provides a more personalized customer experience that allows agents to handle multiple inquiries and close questions quickly. It's imperative as 86% of customers prefer agents with whom they can share a positive connection.
  3. Cost-Effective Pricing - Answering services often charge by the minute, which can be expensive for clients with large volumes of calls per day or week. Agents at a VCC work on salary, which means their hourly cost never changes regardless of how many calls they take in an hour or day.
  4. High-Quality Telemarketing Services - Call center agents can answer questions, provide support, and handle customer service issues. They can also take on a variety of situations, including offering product information and solving problems. They usually undergo ongoing training, so they continue to hone their skills as needed.
  5. Scalability - Answering services often limit how many calls they can take each day, which can be problematic for companies that receive high volumes of calls during peak times. A virtual contact center has no limitations and will automatically scale with you.
  6. Resiliency - If your answering service experiences any issues with its service, it can mean disaster for your business. Answering services rely on landlines and voicemail, which aren’t always reliable or are sometimes down altogether. With a VCC, you know that calls will be routed to agents so your customers can still get their questions answered and inquiries resolved. Research shows companies with contact centers experience 35% less downtime.
  7. 24/7 Services - Unlike an answering service, virtual contact center agents can take calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you’re always available to your customers no matter what time they contact you. It gives you a more professional image and shows your customers that you’re ready to handle their needs anytime.

5 Ways a Virtual Call Center Service Can Help Your Business

Getting a call center in a virtual capacity has many advantages for your business, mainly:

  • You can save money by not paying each employee for office space and equipment costs (such as computers).
  • The cost of hiring employees will be lower because fewer benefits are associated with being employed by an outside company rather than by yourself directly.
  • You can choose your call center location based on rates, labor cost (language and skill set), and available technology.
  • If you have a business with a global customer base, you can select a call center in a different part of the world based on the language spoken by your customers.
  • You can also select a call center based on the technology they use.

However, keep in mind that low rates may indicate a lower level of service or quality.

Choosing a Virtual Contact Center

Virtual contact center providers offer many benefits to companies, but they also come with some drawbacks, and it's essential to understand both before making your choice.

The first step in choosing a VCC is evaluating your current situation.

  • Are you currently outsourcing your call center needs?
  • Are you looking for a new provider?
  • Is this just a part-time venture or a full-time move?

Once you've evaluated your current situation, take some time to research different providers so that you can find one that meets all of your needs and exceeds them. In your research, don't overlook nearshore outsourcing companies; they can offer a balance of cost-effectiveness and time zone compatibility,

  • Which services does the VCC provide?
  • What is the virtual call center’s reputation?
  • Do you need a 24/7 call center, or can your business operate with an evening/weekend support team?
  • Are there any regulatory requirements that will affect your choice?

Third, look for companies that have worked with small businesses like yours—they know how important it is to get things right from day one.

  • What technology do they use?
  • Does the virtual contact center provide customer satisfaction guarantees?
  • What do customers say about them?
  • Is the company willing to work with your unique needs?

Finally, consider the costs associated with each option.

  • What does each provider charge for their services?
  • Are there any hidden fees or extra charges?
  • How do these prices compare to other providers in the industry?

Once you’ve identified the best virtual contact center for your business, contact them to set up a consultation.

During the consultation, ask the following questions:

  • What is your customer satisfaction rate?
  • How will my business benefit from using your services?
  • What will it cost to use your services?
  • What do you offer in terms of warranties and guarantees?
  • What is your technology setup?
  • How do you handle data security?
  • What is your implementation process?

How to Start a Virtual Call Center Business

1. Choose Your Specialization

Find the industry and niche you will be using use your virtual call center for. Figure out whether you will be providing inbound or outbound call services or both. Then, set your goal for long-term communication with the customers you plan to cater to.   

When you have a vivid picture of these, you will find it easier to obtain the resources you need and achieve the objectives you envision. Also, it will make your business more enjoyable, fruitful and productive.  

2. Invest in Call Center Equipment and Software

Call center companies should utilize reliable equipment and exceptional software solutions for seamless operations.   

These will help the agents manage calls, emails, and chat messages more efficiently, improving their overall performance in the process.   

Get the software and tool integrations that are best fitting for best fit your business requirements and up-to-date equipment and operating systems to ensure the quality of services. You will also need fast broadband internet, firewall, anti-virus, and malware protection for cybersecurity.  

3. Create a Call Workflow

Use planning tools to organize and manage workflows. They can be task management software, flow charts or mind maps.   

Plotting a definitive call workflow is vital for the next steps when you are putting up a virtual call center business. It can be simple or complex, depending on your client's needs and the calls you will be receiving or making.  

Realistically, a call or email will require branching options for the upcoming interactions based on how it is received or handled by the first agent.  

4. Find Your Clients

It is imperative to target the right markets and audiences if you want to make your business a thriving investment.    

Determine the key players in your niche and identify the products and services they offer. This will help you assess their needs. This is where your virtual call center services can step in to help.   

Get the word about your company out there. List your enterprise on online databases and directories, leverage social media, and use other marketing channels.  

5. Onboard a Team of Agents

Build a team of skilled and trustworthy agents. This will also build a good reputation for your brand among clients.   

Since you are starting a virtual business, it is recommended to find employees who are willing to work from home in the long term. It is essential to ensure that you onboard people who are highly motivated and disciplined.   

Recruiting and hiring a remote workforce can help reduce the costs that on-site devices and physical office spaces may require. 

Which Virtual Call Center Outsourcing Strategy to Choose

One of the factors to consider when deciding how to outsource your virtual call center provider is whether you want an onshore, nearshore, or offshore provider.

  • Onshore refers to outsourcing providers based in the same country as you. In most cases, this will be your own country, but it could also be another European country or North America. The advantage of onshore outsourcing is that it's often cheaper than offshore outsourcing, and there are fewer time zone differences to worry about when communicating with your provider. Onshore outsourcing is suitable for businesses that have lower budget limits.
  • Nearshore outsourcing providers are in a nearby country but not your own. It's often cheaper than offshore outsourcing but still offers many of the benefits of outsourcing, such as access to local talent and lower communication problems because of the time zone difference. Nearshore outsourcing is best for companies that wish to be closer to their providers and develop longer-lasting relationships with them.
  • Offshore outsourcing is getting tasks done remotely by a company or an individual in another country. The concept is simple: one can get work done at a location where labor costs are much cheaper than in the native place.

Virtual Call Center: Final Thoughts

Virtual call centers allow local businesses to grow and expand operations more efficiently.

Rather than having to recruit, hire, and train new employees, you can outsource your call center functions to a virtual contact center company.

It frees up time and money so you can focus on other areas, such as marketing or expansion.

With the help of virtual contact centers, you can also feel confident that your customers or clients will receive prompt service from well-trained agents. After all, 86% of customers pay more for an excellent customer experience.

Professional answering service companies can also help you with this process, so we advise looking for the right agency to partner with for your project.

We’ll find qualified call center agencies for your project, for free.
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news