The traditional approach to customer service has been the use of call centers--groups of employees answering calls from customers asking for assistance. The three most significant costs of this solution are the staffs themselves, the cost of purchasing and installing a call center phone system and related software and applications, and the ongoing telephone usage costs associated with the customer calls.
Due to the inherent expense of the call center solution, and particularly the setup costs associated with equipment and software, smaller companies often choose to either do without a competitive customer call center or to outsource the function to offshore facilities. This outsourcing approach has a number of drawbacks--the personnel at the offshore firm do not know the products and services as well as a call center staffed with company employees, education and language skills vary, and the SMB is only one of many clients, with each client paying for support for different products and services. The net effect is that the SMB loses control over the quality of its customer care in the interest of controlling costs.
Hosted VoIP applications and services offer SMBs a way to alleviate this problem. With hosted VoIP, SMBs avoid the setup expense of buying and installing a phone system for their call centers. Even a basic phone system, with the minimum necessary capacity and features for a small call center, can cost from $5,000 to $25,000. A hosted VoIP service package can eliminate this upfront cost.
In addition to this initial capital savings, the SMB can reduce ongoing monthly telephony costs by 30 percent to 40 percent of what they would otherwise pay. For a five- to 10-person call center, this can range from $1,000 to $5,000 in monthly savings.
Source: NewsFactor, http://www.newsfactor.com
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