When a small business gets busier, it may be time to engage some assistance. That help may include help in handling calls and customer communications. If adding to your team isn’t in your company’s budget, outsourcing your calls to a call center may be the next best thing.
Call centers have flourished because they can take care of answering calls and helping customers exclusively. You and your team don’t have to stop what you’re doing to answer the phone and find information. If your company relies on cold-calling, a call center can also take over that function to let your team focus on higher-value tasks.
Even though email, chatbots, and social media messaging are common ways for customers to communicate, most prefer to pick up the phone. Call centers handle a large volume of calls every day. Calls range from simple billing questions to angry customers.
So, can a small business benefit from enlisting help from having a call center?
You may not realize that there are three distinct types of call centers created to suit different business customers’ needs:
- Inbound. Used for incoming calls, such as customer service, help desks, appointment desks, billing, and other calls from customers. Calls get routed to the right person easily with interactive voice response, or IVR. First-tier agents offer initial help to callers before moving them to second-tier help or passing the calls to your team for specific assistance.
- Outbound. These are the calls made from the center to leads, prospects, and customers based on the individual business need. For instance, charities and political candidates use outbound call centers to market to their audience. Outbound calls are for appointment setting or follow-up calls after a customer makes a purchase. The call center agents can gather feedback and discuss the product or service they bought. Customers have additional opportunities to ask more questions.
- The hybrid or “blended”. This call center engages in both inbound and outbound call center functions.
Whichever type of call center you choose, they answer your company’s phone and offer customers immediate help from a live person.
Call center vs. contact center
While reading up on outsourcing your calls, you may have heard the term contact center. While it sounds the same, there is a distinct difference.
A call center is just that—taking calls. But a contact center does so much more. A contact center also incorporates other methods of communication. Known as “omnichannel communications,” contact centers interact with customers however they connect with your company.
For instance, if you have social media accounts, such as Instagram or Facebook, the contact center will also answer messages from prospects and customers there. If you are also texting with your clients, the contact center will also respond by text. Emails and live chats on your website receive the same attention as phone calls and other interactions.
How a contact center can help your small business
Small businesses, by their nature, always have fewer people doing a little more work. Answering calls is a significant time constraint for everyone in a small business, including the owner. Hiring another employee to handle calls and customer service may be an expense your business can’t handle right now.
But customers are interested in getting immediate help and answers. They don’t want to wait for a callback in a day—or more. In many cases, they’ll contact competitors, who may already have a call or contact center that handles their calls more efficiently. You’ll also likely see bad reviews and complaints on social media (including your accounts) and sites like Yelp.
Many small businesses want to scale up but don’t have the resources. However, outsourcing call and customer service tasks to a call or contact center free up your team from:
- Help tickets
- Requesting or taking customer feedback
- General inquiries
Employees who spend more time on the phone than their regular jobs aren’t helping run the business and bring in revenue. Outsourcing to a call or contact center gives your business a primary point of contact that makes engaging with your business easy, convenient, and effective. Sales and revenue can increase when your employees are focused on running the business and doing their regular jobs.
Small businesses can see distinct advantages from outsourcing to a call center, such as:
- Updates in real-time
- Omnichannel engagement (phone, email, social media, etc.)
- 24/7 availability
- Easy scalability
Call or contact center workers have one job. They talk to your customers and resolve their problems. They save your time and help your business engage with your customers to build brand loyalty.
How VoIP impacts call/contact centers
The name “call center” frequently brings up images of people with headsets stacked next to each other in rows of cubicles. But call/contact centers aren’t always in one place.
Today’s call centers have people working from anywhere with just a laptop, headset, and an Internet connection. Call center employees easily handle calls from wherever they are, anytime, 24/7/365 with VoIP. Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhances the customer’s calling experience with continuous improvements.
Before choosing your call center, ask yourself: “what does the business need?” Do you need inbound, outbound, or a combination of both? The answer will give you a good sense of what
Contact Press8 Telecom today to discuss upgrading your small business phone system to a new, flexible VoIP-hosted phone system for less money than a traditional analog phone system. We’ll give you a free quote on the system that works for your company.