Differences between a call and a virtual contact

The benefits of virtual contact vs a call

man using IP phone inside room

Photo: Berkeley communications

The two terms, call center, and virtual contact center are usually often used interchangeably. However, there are significant differences between the two. In the recent years of health care development, and a gradual shift towards the digital platforms in health care service providers around the world, have seen the increased usage of both call centers and virtual contact centers. In this article, we are going to explain the main differences between call and virtual contact as well as their benefits for health care and how they can be implemented properly.

What is a call center?

To begin with, let us start by explaining the basics of a call center and its usage in health care. Call centers revolve around one main communication channel. This main communication channel is the phone. They are primarily designed to handle a large volume of calls both inbound and outbound. Because of this, call centers are used for various different purposes.

When it comes to healthcare, call centers are used for information gathering which is the area in which they are most effective. The biggest benefit is obviously the fact that call centers have the ability to receive a large volume of calls. In addition to this, because of the advanced caller distribution, callers may feel like they are being attended to faster thanks to the interactive voice response(IVR). This means that the call center software is fully capable of distributing calls in the most efficient manner possible.

In-depth call analytics are also very helpful. Any customer data is collected via telephone. Of course, although there are only a few steps in the process of establishing a call center, your agents have to be skilled in providing phone support. Since the tools and functions of call centers differ, their costs also vary greatly.

What is a virtual contact center?

Now, let's take a look at the contact center. Contact centers provide the means for omnichannel support. They revolve around several main channels. For example, live chat, email, phone calls, or text messages, and so on. Modern contact centers offer an “integrated” experience & support across many communication channels which is why they offer many different benefits as opposed to regular call centers.

Virtual contact centers in particular are a big advantage to modern health care services providers. Due to powerful contact center tools, agents working in virtual contact centers can work from any location and handle multiple communication channels. In health care, this means better and faster communication with the patients. Comprehensive contact centers offer the ability to perform routine tasks such as scheduling appointments. With the increase in patients around the world due to the global pandemic, virtual contact centers have been used extensively because of their benefits.

A virtual contact center (VCC) -- is a call center in which the organization's representatives are geographically dispersed. They are not situated at workstations in one location. Virtual call center employees may be located in groups in remote offices or working from home. This is a huge advantage when it comes to health care and the digital approach of offering health care services and information. Virtual call center workers are connected via virtual call center software. Because VCCs can be set up in smaller, geographically dispersed locations, or for employees working from home, they are less expensive than a traditional call center.

Benefits of virtual contact centers

So, now that we have a basic understanding of both call centers and virtual contact centers, let us take a closer look at the main benefits of virtual contact centers as well as the main differences between them and call centers.

  • The ability to span multiple time zones. Workers are geographically dispersed and can span different time zones.

  • Reduced cost. Not needing as much office space and lower operating costs means reduced cost in general. Cloud-based software further lowers the cost and need for servers to be hosted on-premises.

  • Flexibility. Higher flexibility means being able to take calls from almost anywhere. Keeping in touch with the patients means establishing better and more effective communication and patient relationship.

  • Call monitoring. Calls can still be monitored regardless of the location from which they are taken.

  • Smaller office space requirements. Some employees can work from home meaning that the office space does not have to be huge.

The main differences between call centers and virtual contact centers

So, what would be some of the main differences between a regular call center and a virtual contact center? To begin with, we have mentioned already that the communication channels are different. Phone, e-mail, live chat, and so on are all available and used in virtual contact centers. Call centers on the other hand only use phones as means of communication. The software used is also different. Benefits also vary.

However, when it comes to health care, considering the fact that you will want your patients to have easy, quick, and efficient access through different digital platforms and means of communication, it is more effective to set up a virtual contact center. Essentially, a VCC will allow you to use a variety of channels to reach and maintain communication with your patients. In the end, regardless of which center you choose, you will need to choose and set up a good software that is both powerful and reliable and will help you run all of your operations.

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