Call centers has evolved from cranky landline telephones to omnichannel cloud contact centers.
Employee or agent attrition is the biggest challenge when using traditional call centers. Support teams are demotivated from receiving calls from frustrated callers. Even those motivated call center employees still churn due to the repetitive nature of making calls which causes high burnout rates.
However, it’s not all gloom for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that want to scale their businesses with cold calling and offer customer support using call centers. As you will learn from this guide, cloud call centers solve most traditional call centers’ shortcomings.
Omnichannel cloud call center solutions enable autonomy for agents, analytics & reporting for sales reps to focus on worthwhile calls. Also, continuous analysis of call areas that SDRs can use to improve team training.
Table of Contents
What is a cloud call center?
A cloud-based or cloud call center is typically a call center hosted on the cloud that a third-party service vendor supports. The leading technologies that differentiate cloud call centers from on-premise call centers are:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVRs)
- Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
When comparing cloud-based call centers versus on-premise, the customer houses all the necessary software and hardware powering a call center. In this case, on-premise call centers require the customer to hire or contract IT experts to maintain the systems.
Take this example of cloud call center software at work. A law firm makes- calls to prospects and can instantly book appointments with them inside the software. And if they don’t pick up the call, the firm agent can automatically drop a voicemail, saving time and increasing productivity.
What are the types of call centers?
Regardless of the model, a call center consists of a team of sales or support experts focused on making or receiving customer phone calls to handle their complaints or close sales leads.
Modern call centers have evolved into the following categories:
- Inbound call centers
An inbound call center is focused on handling incoming calls, mainly from customers. The agents solve these customer problems, including:
- Technical support
- Product usage hiccups
- Payment misunderstandings
- Specific customer questions
Agents doing inbound calls use a suite of cloud call center features that include; an automatic call distributor that shortens the customer’s wait time by connecting them to the available agent. Or an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) that enables call routing for fast call-contact resolution.
- Outbound call centers
An outbound contact center is where the agent proactively calls prospects or customers. Most of these call centers are focused on sales and telemarketing. Other outbound call center use cases include:
- Phone surveys
- Customer onboarding
- Market research
Finance is a great example of an industry that uses outbound contact centers to connect to over 500 leads daily and automate their follow-ups with SMS and voicemails for higher conversion rates.
- Omnichannel call centers
Omnichannel cloud call centers use interconnected multi-channels beyond making and receiving calls. Some of these channels include:
- Business texting
- Social media
- Live chat
For instance, a sales rep receives a filled-up from a prospect. Using the contact information in the form, they call them to follow up on the lead and probably book a demo call. After the call, the sales rep can send an email for the call appointment and follow up with an SMS reminder an hour before the scheduled call.
- Virtual call centers
The premise for virtual call centers is the dispersed locations of the sales or support teams. With the rise of working from home during the pandemic, virtual cloud call center solutions adoption is on the rise.
Sales reps can now assign agents with calling tasks remotely and in the cloud. Also, during shifts, those agents replacing the incumbents can automatically track clients’ call conversations.
- Automated call centers
Call center automation uses computer-based systems and software that handle routine responsibilities and time-consuming tasks. This saves on costs and reduces human engagement, which may result in errors. Other use cases for automated call centers include:
- Voicemail drop management
- Suggesting common solutions
- Answering frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Cloud-based call center vs Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
A PBX is a private branch exchange system that offers a business-grade phone system. The PBX provides businesses functionalities such as:
Traditional private branch exchanges provide automated attendants that answer and route calls to the relevant departments or people. PBX features include:
- Business hour settings
- Extension dialing
- Customer waiting queues
- Call conferencing
- Call transferring
The most significant difference when comparing cloud call centers vs PBX is where most private branch exchanges use on-premise hosting while the cloud-based call centers are hosted in the cloud.
In terms of solutions, cloud call center software has more advanced features that go beyond calls into SMS/MMS, email, and voice analytics. These solutions include:
- Agent call scripting
- Call whispering
- Contact management
- CRM integration
- Intelligent routing
- Business texting
- Automation and campaigns
- Instant local and international phone numbers
- Local presence
Challenges of a PBX phone system
- Latency issues – are delays between someone saying something on a business call and the other person hearing it on the other end.
- Bandwidth and network interferences -This often happens when you overwork your PBX phone system. This will affect the quality of your call.
- Transmission and jittering delays – Disarranged sounds on a phone call line cause jittering delays. The transmission delays occur, causing jumbled data packs that sometimes have gaps.
- Low-quality router – Depending on your company router, you will experience low-quality routers if your VoIP provider does not offer fully compatible software.
- Internet connection lags – Slow internet connection creates low bandwidth, resulting in a poor call experience.
Cloud contact center vs Cloud call center
The difference between a call center and a contact center is a cloud call center focuses on managing outbound, and inbound customer/leads calls. In comparison, a cloud contact center handles more than calls only.
A cloud-based contact center handles multiple channels, including chat, email, and social media. Cloud contact center features include:
- IVR + smart queues
- Text-enabled phone lines
- Call recording and coaching
- Sales automation
- Spam call detection
- Integrate with any CRM
Do small businesses need cloud call center software?
Across different industries, SMBs need a cloud call center solution for multiple reasons:
- User-friendly cloud phone for communication – A responsive cloud telephony solution that is fast and efficient and enables small businesses to; monitor calling costs, team collaboration, and scale operations whenever necessary.
- Access advanced cloud telephony solutions – Small businesses that want to streamline their call center operations will need advanced cloud phone software for real-time analytics, CRM syncing, power auto dialing, and more.
- Convert leads into customers fast – With call center features like local presence, any small business can fast-track lead conversion by closing deals with hyper-personalized calling and communications. This results from trust built by appearing in your lead’s neighborhood and using verified caller ID phone lines.
A real estate agent or realtor looking to buy, remodel and flip family unit houses as an example of a small business. This SMB may need a cloud call center for real estate to reach home sellers and buyers. Also, with the integration of real estate CRM like Guesty, you can do the following inside the CRM as a realtor:
- 24/7 multi-channel guest communication
- Monitor guest dispositions
- Voicemail and MMS logs
- Guesty inbox notifications
- Link calls to reservations
How is cloud call center software useful for WFH?
A work-from-home cloud call center software enables sales and support teams to use cloud-based call solutions remotely. These virtual call centers are location-agnostic- meaning the software can be used from anywhere.
Cloud call center software is useful for work-from-home (WFH) teams for these reasons:
- Reduces turnover
As I have discussed in the introduction, call centers are faced with high employee attrition due to burnout and work-related stress. However, the rise of virtual call centers has reduced these challenges.
Sales agents and support teams that work remotely are less likely to quit their jobs. Also, the time wasted commuting to and from work is saved, improving workforce productivity.
- Reduces upfront call center costs
Traditional call centers are expensive to set up. Also, they could be better for remote teams considering most are hosted on-premise and connect with call extensions. Other add-on requirements, if you take the WFH route, include; desks, chairs, and other related amenities.
However, depending on your cloud telephony provider, the starting costs of using a cloud-based call center often scale as you grow. Additionally, all other related expenses like telephone and hardware devices are countered using a mobile phone, laptop, and affordable internet connection.
- Around-the-clock workforce
Traditional call centers are limited to a 9-to-5 routine. With cloud-based call software, any business can set up a workforce that operates around the clock.
Obviously, this depends on the time zones you want different teams to work from home. The upside is increased productivity and the probability of hitting your revenue targets half the time.
How does a cloud-based call center work?
Traditional call centers require hardware devices to operate. Furthermore, installing and software synchronization require experts making the upfront cost high.
However, using a cloud-based call center, you or your sales reps and support teams can easily set up and start using the solutions. Here is how a cloud call center works for customer support after syncing the software:
- Customer calls to inquire or submit a technical issue. This happens through a connected cloud phone system via desktop or mobile.
- Customers interact via an IVR (interactive voice response). The interface pops up a menu offering customers the option to choose the services they need.
- Support representatives identify the customer. Once routed to the right agent, the rep first verifies the customer’s details.
- Support rep resolves the issue. During the interaction, customer support may request access to solutions to solve the issue.
- The customer support rep may record the conversation for future support improvements or follow-ups.
How to make a call in Aloware
Our omnichannel cloud call center enables users to make outbound calls inside the Aloware app in multiple ways. The cloud phone tools let you:
- free up time and avoid direct dialing all prospects
- cut through the high cost of traditional calling
- increase responsiveness and revenue, and grow your agents’ productivity.
Here are the four ways to make a call in Aloware:
- Making calls with Aloware Talk
Aloware Talk is the newest software version designed for agents. Agents enjoy an easy-to-use interface and a powerful, customizable task management system.
- Pop-up notification
- Communication section
- Auto-dialer in power dialer
Connect automatically to your contacts and make outbound calls in bulk using Aloware Power Dialer.
Start a power dialing session with Power Dialer using this process.
Once the contacts are listed in the Queue Section, click the Start button to start the power dialing session.
Aloware will automatically hide the task list to help you focus on the call. When you are on a call, you can see a task list button on the top-right side of the screen, where you can use it to toggle the task list’s display.
Tasks status can be
- In progress
- Failed, and
Scheduled – Set a schedule of calls to a specific list of contacts