With developing businesses, it's always a matter of time when they will look for additional help. That's when outsourcing customer service comes into the picture. However, even though it's quite a common practice, it can raise some questions.
For example, what customer service to choose: call center vs. virtual assistant? Even though no one can answer the question better than you, understanding the basics and differences of both options will undoubtedly help with the decision-making.
Virtual Assistant as a Source for Customer Service
A virtual assistant is a single person or group dedicated to providing customer care. VAs will:
- take messages
- receive calls
- reply to emails
- monitor chat messages.
However, they may be held accountable for far more. A virtual assistant may also take on some personal responsibilities. As a result, they will assist you with activities and projects outside of customer support. For instance, virtual assistants can help you with relationship-building, scheduling, digital marketing, hiring, and even running regular errands.
Usually, VAs support only a few small businesses or individual company owners. That's why they have time to integrate more with the business they are working with.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Of course, when deciding between hiring a virtual assistant vs. call center agent, you must weigh both options' pros and cons.
Among the advantages of having a VA at your command is that you get to work with a professional who specifically caters to your needs.
Second, as these specialists have to complete specific tasks without needing a "whole picture," they will have better focus and efficiency.
Another advantage is that they are usually hired hourly, so you will only have to pay for the exact time they will need to work on your tasks. This way, you can minimize your financial expenses while increasing work efficiency.
There are certain drawbacks, though. Training the virtual assistant to perform the required duty takes time. This is because stakeholders frequently fail to understand how organizations conduct their operations. Additionally, since they are paid hourly, it can affect your spending plan.
Call Center Service: The Perks of Having a Whole Team at Your Disposal
When people talk about call center service, they usually mean a centralized group of people that handles a large volume of different calls and tasks:
- incoming and outgoing calls,
- help desk support
- hybrid solutions
- employee reporting
- email monitoring
- the placing of chats and orders
Call centers may also support both inbound and outbound calls, or just either of those. There may be slight variations in how call centers assist distinct firms. Support for medium- and small-sized organizations is provided through specialized software. Large firms typically receive support through their EMR or CRM.
This type of customer support is like a virtual receptionist. However, they are usually not experts in the industry they work in, but they have enough training to answer most common questions and resolve problems. Such teams can also provide niche services.
Pros and Cons
As with the option of hiring a virtual assistant, working with the call center team also has its advantages and disadvantages:
- By hiring a call center agent or team, you can receive a 24/7 support service, which is especially great for big companies with clients worldwide and in different time zones.
- By outsourcing customer service in such a way, you won't need to address all the hassles of hiring and training in-house members. Thus, you will have time to figure out more important tasks.
- These teams are trained to handle problematic situations with customers so that you won't have many incidents in that matter.
Nevertheless, a call center service is not an option for everyone. Your needs can, for instance, be more complex than what a call center crew can handle. Additionally, they are not very focused on your company, and the only customer support-related duties they have are to answer calls and sometimes emails. Finally, it's crucial to work with the best outsourcing firm. After all, you wouldn't want this relationship to hurt your reputation or level of service.
Which is the Best Option?
Choosing between a virtual assistant vs. call center agent can be tricky. Both have a fair share of advantages and nuisances as well. However, some questions may help you make the right decision. So, to ease up the decision-making process, try to answer the following points:
- Do you expect to have more than 100 calls a day?
- Do you need to work with special software, such as CRM?
- Are you up to syncing or integrating with another team?
- Can a professional who follows a prescribed protocol support your business needs?
- Are you looking for support for some administrative and project tasks, or do you need help covering calls/emails?
If you answered yes at least to the first three questions, then a call center agent or team is what you need. If not, then think about partnering with a virtual assistant instead.
Again, there's no one-size approach to this question. Every business is different and has different needs. Thus, if you might need a hand in figuring out how to outsource customer support efforts for yourself, you can contact the WOW24-7 team. They will know what to advise you.