By Diana Holland
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of hype about VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Many teleservice call center owners and managers hear the term VoIP and think, “Yeah, that’s something I’m going to have to think about in the future.” Well, the future is quickly approaching. VoIP is expected to experience extensive growth in the coming years, with projected revenues exceeding $2 billion by 2010.
In fact, even the mainstream has started to pick up on the benefits of VoIP; Vonage – a VoIP local and long distance phone service – now has over 2.4 million subscriber lines. The simple fact is that VoIP isn’t going away; it’s only growing. So the time to start thinking about VoIP is now.
There are a variety of benefits to using VoIP, but from a practical standpoint for most call centers, it’s pretty straightforward. Forget all the technical terms and industry jargon. VoIP quite simply increases flexibility, efficiencies, and reliability, and it can significantly reduce operating expenses. So, how can VoIP provide all this to your call center operation?
Disaster Recovery: Let’s start with one of the industry’s recent “hot topics” – disaster recovery. Most of your clients want to know how you’ll operate in the event of a natural disaster. With VoIP, you have the flexibility to store your equipment in a safe and secure facility. If a natural disaster does occur, you can immediately access these servers and operate from virtually anywhere in the world that has Internet access.
That is precisely what some call centers have done. With their servers securely located away from the call center, agents can access them remotely, providing peace of mind that if something should happen, they can very easily login and continue processing calls.
Connect Remote Agents and Centers: Others in the industry use VoIP to communicate across multiple locations. With seamless branch-to-branch calling (and a common phone extension structure), dispersed call center operations experience increased flexibility and streamlined processes. Furthermore, additional hiring and staffing possibilities for influxes in call traffic become affordable, since agents need minimum equipment to securely access your call center switch.
Reduced Costs: However, the biggest benefits from using VoIP come in the form of reduced operating expenses. Outbound calling fees are reduced significantly and long-distance charges are virtually eliminated. That can result in operation cost savings of hundreds to even thousands of dollars per month.
So, hopefully you’ve started to think about VoIP and all the possibilities that surround it. Can your software and hardware vendor handle it? In a nutshell, make sure your vendor is ready, willing, and able to adapt to future technologies and the changing landscape of your business. If they’re not ready, you’re not either.
Diana Holland is president of Outstanding Marketing Solutions, helping businesses find cost-effective marketing solutions. Among her clients are Professional Teledata, a provider of VoIP-ready call center software.
[From Connection Magazine – November 2007]