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Answer the Call with a Virtual Call Center

What is a virtual call center?

A virtual call center is a customer service call center where the agents answering calls are not in a geographically centralized location. They are in disparate locations, either people working from home or a several offices, but are connected via virtual call center software or online call center software. Virtual call centers are great for companies that provide support to customers in various time zones or are looking to reduce the overhead costs of a centralized office.

Zendesk Talk is a virtual call center solution embedded in the Zendesk Support ticketing system, allowing service teams to provide more personal, productive phone support within an omnichannel customer journey. As a voice over internet (VoIP) technology, Zendesk Talk is quick to configure, and management is simple. Because it is cloud-based, agents can use Zendesk Talk anywhere in the world -- they just need a good internet connection and headphones. If your team is considering virtual call center solutions, Talk helps growing service teams resolve issues faster, measure and improve phone support operations and deliver better customer experiences across channels.

A different approach

Providing phone support with call centers (outbound or inbound) is nothing new. Companies have been offering service this way for about as long as household phones have been commonplace. However, there have always been some major problems associated with this approach which can be mitigated with a virtual contact center:
  • Inconvenient business hours. Many companies have customers all over the world, something that is more true today than ever before. However, not all companies have offices all over the world. The result of this is service is limited to the business hours associated with the geographic location of the call center. If a customer is unable to contact the company during those hours because they live in a different part of the world, they will find it very difficult to receive support. That’s bad for the customer but also bad for the company, because the customer is now considering taking their business elsewhere.
  • Employee turnover. Unlike sales and marketing roles, call center support agents have a tendency to turnover, meaning management is constantly training new employees, and more customers will speak with inexperienced agents. While this can’t always be avoided, enticing employees with flexible hours and the ability to work from home can convince them to stay longer than they might otherwise. This reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees, and increases the number of veteran support agents.

Best practices

Managing a virtual call center can sometimes be hard. The lack of face to face interactions between managers and support agents can make it difficult to effectively manage and improve call center performance, and keep agents up to date with relevant information. Here are some tips to help manage an effective virtual contact center:
  • Foster communication. Managers should communicate frequently and proactively, and expect their team to as well. Managing remote employees shouldn’t require micromanagement, but may involve taking some extra time to listen, to say hello in the morning or at the beginning of a shift, and being generally available (or providing alternate contacts) to team members.
  • Improve visibility. Managers and remote employees must actively work on fostering both praise and constructive feedback, and on building trust. If managers can place the emphasis on performance and delivery, and look for opportunities to coach and fill gaps in training, a virtual team has the potential to run like a well-oiled machine. Support must also do it's part to communicate what it learns with other departments, like sales and marketing.
  • Build rapport. Bring the team in for a customer care in-office retreat with opportunities for shadowing, team building, lunches or dinner, meet and greets, or happy hours.
  • Make it fun. Surprise individuals who are doing a good job with a gift card delivered to their inbox. Can you budget for an annual team raffle?
  • Choose the right tools. No matter your industry, consider tools that will help your team work together effectively while being remote— such as tablets, headphones, phone upgrades, messaging tools, and video conferencing.

Start today

Zendesk Talk is call center software for more personal and productive phone support. Embedded in the Zendesk Support ticketing system, Talk offers call tracking, flexible routing and IVR systems, and powerful voice analytics, all within a multichannel support context. The only phone support solution native to Zendesk, Talk offers seamless workflow and reporting integration, helping agents resolve issues faster and giving managers visibility into operations. Easy to setup and fully cloud-based, Talk allows teams to get up and running with full call center functionality in minutes, without engaging IT, hiring additional technicians, or managing new vendors.

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Additional Resources

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Providing support over the phone is a skill all on it’s own. Learn how to do it well through some of our blog posts, resource articles and other product information.

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