7 Benefits of a Hosted VoIP Contact Center
Anyone who has worked in a contact center knows that they are less like conventional work environments, and more like air traffic control towers where “orderly chaos” is the norm rather than the exception.
Here are the 7 key reasons why businesses are saying goodbye to conventional legacy phone system Contact Centers, and hello to a state-of-the-art hosted VoIP Contact Center:
1. Massive Savings on Real Estate Costs
On-premises Contact Centers are expensive to establish and operate — especially for businesses located in areas where commercial real estate prices are at a premium. Consider these numbers:
- According to LoopNet, the average asking price for office property in the Charlotte, NC area is currently around $153/square foot.
- According to The Taylor Research Group, the average footprint for an on-premises Contact Center is 54 agents.
- According to the Site Selection Group, the best practice for space usage is to allocate 100 to 130 square feet per workstation.
Per these figures, a Charlotte-based business with a 54-seat on-premise Contact Center would spend $826,200 – $1,074,060 in office space. However, if the same business sets up a hosted VoIP Contact Center for 45 agents in Greensboro, NC — where the average asking price for office property is $102/square foot — they will spend 550,800 – $716,040. This represents a savings of $311,400 – $358,020 in real estate costs alone! When other costs are factored into the scenario — such as utilities, security, cleaning, and so on — the savings are even bigger.
What’s more, a hosted VoIP Contact Center supports a decentralized design, which means that agents can work in multiple locations — or even from home offices — instead of a single, centralized office. This not only dramatically lowers overhead costs, but it helps businesses reach outside of their local labor market if access to required expertise is not readily available. This is especially important for businesses in rural/less populated areas.
2. No CapEx or Maintenance Costs
With an on-premises Contact Center, businesses must cover massive capital expenses such as a private branch exchange (PBX), servers and computers. They must also hire in-house telecommunications experts, or buy expensive maintenance agreements that still may not provide them with immediate response to service issues.
With a hosted VoIP Contact Center, all CapEx costs and ongoing maintenance costs are borne by the Service Provider. This is money that the business can use to expand and grow vs. sink and waste. It is also great news for on-site IT staff, who really don’t like — actually, they detest — trying to solve Contact Center phone issues!
3. Access to Advanced Features
As highlighted by ITToolbox.com, adding advanced features to a traditional on-premises Contact Center phone system is costly and time consuming, and may trigger compatibility problems and issues.
However, with a hosted VoIP Contact Center advanced features like video teleconferencing, call queuing, instant messaging, support tracking, and more are built into the system. There is no need to purchase any additional hardware or software.
4. Seamless, Affordable Scaling
For many Contact Center supervisors and managers, the biggest challenge they face is accurately predicting how many agents they will need months — and sometimes weeks — down the road. For example, call volumes can spike due to internal events (e.g. new product launch) or external events (e.g. release of a government report). Alternatively, call volumes can drop due to increased competition, or if a business is transitioning from one product line to another and new sales are temporarily sluggish.
With an on-premises Contact Center, scaling up or down is difficult, risky, time consuming, and can be very costly. But with a hosted VoIP Contact Center, scaling up or down is seamless and affordable. Adding new seats (i.e. phone numbers) can be done through an online web portal. Conversely, eliminating excess system capacity is as easy as letting seat licenses expire. There is no need for technicians to visit on site.
5. Improved Customer Experience
Despite the immense pressure that Contact Center employees are under, customer expectations are constantly rising — and customer experience gaps are erupting. For example, according to a poll by market research firm Harris Research Interactive, 75% of customers feel that it takes too long to reach a live agent. And a survey by Newvoicemedia.com revealed that the #1 reason customers dislike calling companies is that they cannot speak to a real person right away.
On the other side of the spectrum are companies that use their Contact Center to take customer service to the next level. Here are some of the eye-opening statistics:
- 73% of companies that deliver above average customer experience are more profitable than competitors who are average or worse in this area. (Source: Temkin Group)
- 70% of customers are willing to pay up to 17% more to purchase products and services from a company that delivers great service. (Source: American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer)
- When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers believe that customer service is more important than price. (Source: Gartner)
Hosted VoIP Contact Centers help businesses go from good (or maybe poor) customer service to exceptional customer service thanks to the advanced features call queue and handling, which allow calls to be lined up in the Service Provider’s cloud network and routed to an available agent — including those who are located elsewhere.
This critical advantage is not offered by traditional legacy Contact Centers, which line up calls at each location (within the on-premise PBX). As a result, customers are forced to wait on hold until a local agent is available, even if another agent in different part of the city, state or country is available to take the call.
6. Improved Agent Performance
Hosted VoIP Contact Centers enable businesses to analyze and optimize a wide range of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that boost agent performance — which not only makes employees happier and more engaged, but is also a big win for customers and the bottom line. These metrics include (but are not limited to):
- First Call Resolution (FCR), which captures the percentage of issues that are resolved in the initial call. Research by Service Quality Management Group has found that for each 1% increase in FCR, there is a 1% boost in customer satisfaction.
- Service Level, which captures how many calls on average are answered in a period of time.
- Response Time, which relates to whether or not call handling goals are achieved or missed.
- Schedule Adherence, which captures how much time an agent (or a team) spends logged into the hosted VoIP Contact Center system. If the number is consistently in the 57-60 minute range, then it likely indicates that additional resources are required to handle the load. If the number is consistently below 45 minutes, then it likely indicates there is excess capacity and agents should be rescheduled or re-assigned to other tasks (e.g. responding to customers on social media, etc.).
- Average Call Duration, which captures the length of calls. Excessively long calls could mean that additional agent training is required.
7. Business Continuity
If the local power goes out, or if there are problems with the incoming phone line (e.g. cable is severed during construction), then an on-premise Contact Center will go offline until the issue is resolved — which could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. To say that this is a major customer service risk is an understatement. It could be a nightmare that leads to churn and lasting reputation damage.
With a hosted VoIP Contact Center, incoming calls can easily and quickly be routed to smartphones (via mobile app), or forwarded to any other number that is operational and unaffected by the outage. As a result, agents stay productive while customers are served and satisfied. Everyone wins!