We loved hearing recently that Skype enabled the entrepreneurs behind West Coast Call Center to take the initial plunge into business for themselves.
The 18-month-old company prospects for customers on behalf of its clients, who are primarily companies in the insurance and financial industries. The call center gets in touch with the right decision makers, secures initial interest and arranges a meeting so the client can go in to make the sale.
Skype powers all the calls the company’s 20 agents make continually throughout the day, explains Melissa Almeida, the company’s IT Manager and one of its three founders. Although the industry standard is 30 dials per hour, West Coast Call Center averages in the low 40s. Melissa credits Skype’s compatibility with the company’s CRM software with her team’s productivity.
“We are a fully cloud-based company. That was one of my goals when I set up our IT,” she says. “We didn’t want infrastructure and I didn’t want to maintain a server room. Everything we do is browser based. Whatever browser our agents use, there’s an add-on that allows them to just click the number in our CRM database and the call is routed through Skype. That efficient integration affects the bottom line for us.”
West Coast Call Center also uses Skype Manager to centrally administer employee accounts.
“We have about 35 Skype accounts in Skype Manager,” says Melissa. “For security reasons, it’s important that I can control the passwords on those accounts, which I can do with Skype Manager.”
When an employee leaves, Melissa reassigns that account and the full history stays with the company.
Skype Manager’s reporting capabilities have also proved helpful.
“We can see all the activity on any account, so we can analyze the overall performance of that agent,” says Melissa. “Plus it consolidates our billing, another benefit.”
West Coast Call Center purchases Unlimited North America subscriptions for each account, so each agent can make large numbers of calls with no credit worries.
Melissa points out that the savings associated with using Skype helped the company turn a profit virtually out of the gate, and have made it possible to offer services at lower prices than its competitors.
“Standard call center technology is extremely pricey,” says Melissa. “You may pay a quarter of a million dollars and not get the same functionality and reliability as Skype. Plus there’s licensing fees and costs for the CRM integration. Our main consideration in using Skype was having enough Internet bandwidth, so we made sure to set up our office in a space that had ample bandwidth for our needs. The quality and price we got with Skype can’t be beat. And we pass along our savings to our clients.”
Realizing that Skype could make their company so economically efficient ultimately encouraged Melissa and her co-founders, Tammy Camarena and Raechel Barker, to take the entrepreneurial plunge last year.
“Deciding to go into business is a scary prospect,” she says. “We’re three young women and we’ve worked for other people all our lives. When I did the research, I realized that we could do this without a business loan. We were profitable in our first quarter. We can bring clients on quickly because all we need to do is add a Skype account.”
Do you have a Skype success story of your own? Tell us about it, in the comments.