How to Start a Virtual Call Center in 7 Easy Steps (+ Go-live Checklist)

Binny Agarwal

Jayadeep Subhashis

June 3, 20247 min read

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As call centers continue to evolve in this era of rapid technological advancement, their core priorities remain steadfast: customer experience, cost optimization and revenue maximization. Amidst this backdrop, virtual call centers emerge as a fitting solution, particularly for businesses with global operations.  

Virtual call centers not only reduce operational overhead costs but also offer a compelling remedy for the industry's notorious high agent attrition rates. By facilitating engagement between agents and customers from anywhere, they provide the flexibility agents have long desired.  

But, amidst the allure of these benefits, questions linger: How does one set up a virtual call center? Is it as straightforward as it sounds? What about the IT infrastructure, supervision and work culture?  

This blog addresses these logical and practical considerations integral to running a call center while elucidating how virtual call centers can fulfill these requirements. Moreover, it offers actionable insights into setting up a virtual call center in seven straightforward steps, accompanied by professional tips and a go-live checklist to guide implementation. 

Table of Contents

What is a virtual call center? 

A virtual call center represents a modern approach to customer service operations, where agents interact with customers remotely, typically from various locations, rather than a centralized physical office. This setup leverages call center technology, including cloud-based communication platforms and virtual desktop infrastructure, to enable seamless connectivity between agents and customers regardless of geographical barriers.  

Virtual call centers offer the flexibility to scale operations efficiently, access a broader talent pool and swiftly adapt to changing customer demands.  

With a growing emphasis on personalized and accessible service experiences, virtual call centers emerge as the future of customer service. They enable you to deliver exceptional customer service while accommodating diverse customer service channels, such as voice, email, chat and social media, to cater to modern consumers' preferences.   

Types of virtual call centers 

Virtual call centers come in various forms, each tailored to meet specific business needs and operational requirements. Understanding the different types is crucial for businesses seeking to implement a virtual call center solution that aligns with their objectives and customer service strategies.  

  • Cloud-based virtual call centers: These operate entirely in the cloud, leveraging internet-based communication technologies to connect agents with customers. They offer scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, allowing you to adjust capacity and resources based on demand fluctuations.    

  • Remote agent model: In this model, agents work from remote locations, such as home offices or co-working spaces, using their personal devices or company-provided equipment to handle customer inquiries. Remote agent virtual call centers enable you to tap into a global talent pool and provide agents with greater flexibility in managing their work-life balance.  

  • Hybrid virtual call centers: The best of both worlds. Combining elements of traditional and virtual call centers, hybrid models allow you to maintain a balance between your on-site and remote agents. This approach provides you with the control and oversight you need for activities that require in-person collaboration, giving you the confidence that your operations are in good hands.  

  • Outsourced virtual call centers: Outsourcing customer service operations is nothing new. Third-party service providers specializing in virtual call center services operate onshore or offshore, offering expertise, scalability and cost savings to businesses looking to offload their customer support responsibilities. 

Must Read: Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What is the Difference? 

Virtual vs. traditional call centers 

Here's a quick reference that compares virtual call centers with traditional ones, highlighting the core differences. 


Virtual call centers 

Traditional call centers 

Physical setup 

Operate remotely without a centralized physical office 

Operate from a centralized physical office with on-site agents 

Agent location 

Agents work from various remote locations 

Agents work from a single physical location 


Relies on cloud-based technology and virtual desktop infrastructure 

Relies on on-premises hardware and infrastructure 


Easily add or reduce agents as per the requirement 

Limited by physical space and resources 


Offers flexibility for agents to work from anywhere 

Limited flexibility: agents typically work fixed shifts on-site 

Cost efficiency 

Generally, more cost-effective due to reduced overhead expenses 

Higher overhead costs associated with office space and utilities 


Remote supervision may require specialized tools and processes 

Direct supervision facilitated through in-person oversight 


Quickly adaptable to changes in technology and customer preferences 

May face challenges in adopting new technologies and practices  

Benefits of virtual call center

Virtual call centers empower you to enhance customer service, optimize call center efficiency and drive business growth. Here’s how:  

  • Cost savings: Virtual call centers significantly reduce overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical office, such as rent, utilities and equipment. You can achieve substantial savings by leveraging cloud contact center and remote agents while maintaining service quality.  

  • Scalability: With virtual call centers, scalability becomes effortless. You can quickly scale operations up or down to accommodate fluctuating call volumes and seasonal demand without additional physical infrastructure or hiring constraints.  

  • Access to global talent pool: Virtual call centers open doors to a global talent pool by enabling remote work. You can recruit skilled agents from diverse geographic locations, ensuring access to specialized expertise and native language capabilities to better serve a diverse customer base.  

  • Flexibility for agents: Virtual call centers offer agents greater flexibility in managing their work-life balance. Agents can work from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing them to choose their preferred work environment and schedule, which can lead to higher agent retention.  

  • Enhanced disaster recovery: The cloud-based infrastructure inherent in virtual call centers ensures robust disaster recovery capabilities. In the event of unforeseen disruptions, such as natural disasters or system failures, operations can quickly resume from alternative locations or backup systems, minimizing downtime and service interruptions. 

How to start a virtual call center

If you’ve been relying on traditional call centers until now, setting up a virtual call center is a bold yet necessary move. With careful planning and the essential infrastructure, you can unlock the benefits you’ve always desired — high productivity at lower costs.   On that note, let’s check out a step-by-step process to start a virtual call center.  

Step 1: Define your business goals

When establishing a virtual call center, defining your business goals is essential to ensure alignment with your overall customer service objectives. Here's a deeper exploration of the three primary reasons behind implementing virtual call centers.   

  • Cost cutting: Implementing a virtual call center offers significant cost-saving opportunities by eliminating the need for physical office space, insurance for office properties and utilities. You can optimize operational expenses while maintaining service quality by leveraging cloud-based technology and remote workforce models.  

  • Improve accessibility: If you serve a global customer base, overcoming language barriers and ensuring accessibility across different time zones is paramount. Virtual call centers enable you to deploy agents strategically across regions, delivering personalized customer service at scale. This enhances customer satisfaction and fosters long-term loyalty by addressing diverse linguistic and cultural needs.  

  • Flexibility and agent well-being: Traditional call centers often pose challenges in terms of agent stress and call center burnout, leading to high attrition rates. Recognizing the importance of agent well-being, virtual call centers provide a solution by offering flexible work arrangements. Agents can work remotely from the comfort of their homes or any location with internet connectivity, reducing commute times and enhancing work-life balance. This boosts agent morale and contributes to higher productivity and job satisfaction, ultimately leading to improved customer experiences.  

In addition to defining these objectives, it's crucial to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your virtual call center initiative. Metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, first-call resolution rates, average handle time and agent retention rates can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your call center operations and guide continuous improvement efforts.  

Step: 2 Fix the budget

After defining the goals for setting up a virtual call center, the most crucial step is to fix the budget and consider various factors that influence expenses. Here's what matters must be considered.  

  • Technology infrastructure: Assess the costs associated with implementing and maintaining the necessary technology infrastructure for your virtual call center. This includes investments in cloud-based call center software, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), communication tools and security measures. 

  • Agent recruitment and training: You must set a budget for recruitment expenses, including advertising, candidate screening and onboarding processes. Also, allocate funds for call center agent training programs to ensure your team has the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver exceptional customer service.   

  • Remote work setup: Consider the costs of setting up remote work environments for your agents. This includes providing essential equipment such as computers, headsets and ergonomic furniture and ensuring reliable internet connectivity and access to necessary tools.

  • Operational expenses: Factor in ongoing operational expenses, such as agent salaries, benefits and performance incentives. While virtual call centers may offer cost savings compared to traditional models, it's essential to budget appropriately for these recurring expenses to maintain workforce productivity and morale.   

Step 3: Choose the right technology 

In the vast landscape of call center software available for virtual call centers, it's crucial to carefully evaluate your options to ensure they align with your business goals and operational needs.  Before committing to any tool or software, revisit your defined objectives from Step 1 to identify the critical features that will drive success for your virtual call center. This focused approach will help you distinguish between essential call center software features, helpful additions and not-so-useful functionalities, allowing you to optimize your investment and explore cost-effective alternatives in the market. When considering technology solutions for your virtual call center, prioritize the following indispensable features: 

Operational features:  

  • Click-to-call: Streamline call initiation processes for agents, enabling them to connect with customers seamlessly.  

  • Call transfer: Facilitate smooth transitions between agents or departments to resolve customer inquiries promptly.  

  • Conference call: Enable collaborative discussions and problem-solving sessions among agents and supervisors.  

  • Whisper and barge-in: Empower supervisors to monitor calls discreetly or intervene when necessary to provide real-time support to agents.  

Efficiency features

  • IVR (Interactive voice response): Automate call routing and provide self-service options for customers navigating menus.  

  • Conversational IVR: Enhance customer interactions with natural language processing capabilities and personalized responses.  

  • Call routing: Optimize call distribution based on predefined criteria to ensure efficient resource utilization.  

  • 360-degree customer case management: Consolidate customer information and interaction history to provide personalized service and resolution.  

  • CRM integration: Seamlessly integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to access real-time customer data and enhance agent productivity.  

Quality control features

  • Call center recording: Capture and archive call interactions for training, compliance and quality assurance.  

  • Screen recording: Record agent desktop activities to monitor workflows and identify areas for improvement.  

  • Call analytics: Analyze call metrics and performance indicators to gain insights into customer behavior and agent efficiency.  

  • Agent leaderboard: Gamify performance metrics and recognize top-performing agents to incentivize productivity and drive continuous improvement. 

😊 Good to know: With advanced, AI-powered quality management software, you can streamline call center operations and save time. It combines AI-based scoring, real-time voice call transcripts, a timeline of key moments and more into a single, easy-to-navigate interface. With this tool, you can gain insights into your customers' intent, sentiments and changes in CSAT scores in real-time and can use this information to assist customers effectively and create more positive customer experiences.  

Automated agent performance scoring with Sprinklr Service

Step 4: Set up customer service workflow 

Once you've implemented the necessary technology, the next crucial step is to optimize your customer service workflow. Think of the workflow as a meticulously designed flowchart that guides your agents through the call-handling process, ensuring a clear and consistent sequence of actions. This involves defining the call handling process, streamlining call routing and establishing clear escalation procedures. By setting up effective guided workflows, you can improve agent efficiency and customer satisfaction.  

Step 5: Hire the right agents and train them 

Your agents play a pivotal role as the frontline representatives of your brand, making their hiring and training pivotal components of your virtual call center setup. Here's how to ensure you hire and train the right agents:  

  • Assess candidate skills: Use scenario-based questions during the interview to evaluate candidates' communication skills, problem-solving abilities and customer service experience. This approach allows you to gauge their ability to handle the real-world customer service scenarios and ensure they possess the necessary skills to excel in their roles.  

  • Clear communication of expectations: Clearly communicate job responsibilities, requirements and performance expectations to potential candidates to attract suitable candidates and align expectations from the outset.   

  • Thorough onboarding process: Once you've hired the right agents, proper onboarding is vital to ensure they are prepared to represent your brand effectively. Provide comprehensive training on various aspects of customer service, including how to greet customers, handle challenging situations, transfer calls, involve supervisors in conference calls, close calls effectively and complete after-call work (ACW) efficiently. 

💰Two cents from Sprinklr 

The performance of your virtual call center hinges on the modernity of the call center technologies employed.   

For instance, the right tools can significantly enhance the efficiency of issue resolution. Does the agent have access to a unified view of customer data? Can they swiftly access relevant resources from the knowledge base? Could the hold time be minimized through AI intervention? These considerations are pivotal in resolving issues promptly and efficiently.  

Empowering agents with the right tools streamline their workflows and increases their productivity. Call center automation, integrated communication channels and intuitive user interfaces reduce manual tasks and enable agents to focus on delivering value-added services to customers. 

 Step: 6 Monitor performance and analytics 

Now, this must be a continuous process. Utilize call center analytics and reporting tools to monitor key call center agent performance metrics, track agent productivity and identify areas for improvement. Analyze call volumes, wait times, first-call resolution rates and customer feedback to optimize processes and enhance the overall customer experience. 

Feeling hesitant about moving to a virtual call center?  

You're not alone! 

Many companies worry about losing control over communications when transitioning to a virtual setup. Does this sound familiar to you? 

Well, here's the good news! 

With modern reporting and analytics software, you never lose control. You can monitor individual agent performance and team metrics in real-time, while identifying trends and root causes of performance issues, gaining a clear view of your team's performance. This allows you to take immediate action to improve SLAs and reduce average handling time.   

Moreover, you remain in complete control of your data and visualizations. You can create customized, easy-to-understand dashboards that provide the insights you need to make informed decisions. 

Call center supervisor view powered by Sprinklr Service


Track Your Call Center Performance in Real-time!

Step 7: Implement disaster recovery and business continuity plans 

While taking your call center virtual, you must thoroughly assess the risks and potential threats to its operations. These risks may include natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes), technological failures (e.g., server crashes, network outages) or human errors (e.g., accidental data deletion, cyberattacks).  

To mitigate the impact of potential disruptions, you must implement redundant systems and infrastructure. For example, you may invest in redundant servers hosted in geographically diverse data centers to ensure continuous service availability even in the event of a server failure or data center outage.  

You must also implement comprehensive backup procedures to safeguard critical data such as customer data, call recordings and configuration settings. Backup data can be stored securely in off-site locations to protect against data loss due to disasters or system failures.  

Having a contingency plan is equally important. This plan is not just a reactive measure, but a proactive one, designed to address various unprecedented scenarios and minimize downtime. For example, in the event of a network outage, you must have predefined protocols for rerouting calls to alternative communication channels, such as email or social media, to ensure uninterrupted customer support. 

📣Do you know 

The dedicated Detection & Response team at Sprinklr prioritizes threat detection engineering, vulnerability management, incident response and crisis communication management to assist our customers during security incidents and beyond. This includes overseeing product operations, business systems and all corporate assets. 

Visit Sprinklr Trust Center 

Checklist for building a virtual call center 

Here is a basic checklist for easy tracking of critical aspects of a virtual call center while going live and ensuring a smooth and secure transition. Take a look. 

Virtual Call Centre Checklist 20 May

Take your call center virtual with Sprinklr Service 

Transitioning to a virtual call center presents numerous challenges and reservations for companies, yet it also represents the future of customer service. Among the top concerns are the security of customer data, the effectiveness of remote agent management and the maintenance of service quality in a digital environment. However, these challenges are outweighed by the benefits of increased flexibility, reduced costs and improved scalability that virtual call centers offer.  

If you are planning to set up a virtual call center or thinking of virtualizing all or part of your existing call center, Sprinklr Service can be your perfect ally. By leveraging the power of cloud technology, Sprinklr provides a comprehensive suite of tools to streamline virtual call center operations, enhance agent productivity and deliver exceptional customer experiences.  

Schedule a demo of Sprinklr Service today with our experts and get answers to your questions, apprehensions and reservations. 

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