Cloud-based contact center software adoption has steadily risen, and a market research study conducted by Aberdeen projects 50% of contact centers will be deployed in the cloud by 2018. For many, a cloud contact center has provided a solution for a robust tool that promotes excellent user experiences. But what is it about the cloud that is so desirable for a contact center environment?
Cloud-based contact centers reduce costs on three fronts: infrastructure, staffing, and maintenance. Traditional on-premise contact center solutions come with the financial burden of procuring expensive hardware infrastructures before even installing the software. Upgrading the hardware is an equally cumbersome process that usually solicits a collective sigh of dread and defeat from the IT department. The high cost and resource strain associated with infrastructure updates usually leads to companies delaying upgrades in order to maximize their initial investment. A cloud deployment eliminates the need for pricy hardware infrastructures, and provides an almost immediate ROI. Inversely, a cloud solution’s hardware requirements are minimal. Do you have an internet connection? Access to a web browser? In most cloud deployment options, this is all that is required to get a cloud solution up and running.
The scalability of cloud solutions also helps offset staffing costs. Cloud solutions are not bound by the same staffing infrastructure requirements as their on-premise counterparts (such as ports and licensing). When call volume increases during product launches or holiday traffic, additional agents seats can be added as business needs change. Scalability combined with pay-as-you-go licensing models greatly reduces costs traditionally associated with staffing requirements.
Upgrading in a cloud environment also provides cost savings. Upgrades in a traditional software deployment require nearly as much financial investment as the initial deployment. Add to the upgrade costs of IT resources, and the price begins to compound. Upgrades in a cloud deployment are continuous and immediate, and any software upgrades are instantly available. Each time you access the cloud software, you are using the most up-to-date version.
Multi-channel interactions allow customers to select their communication channel, but restricts the interaction to that channel. If a customer begins their interaction via web chat, and then continues the interaction via voice, the interactions are effectively siloed; information is not transferred from one to the other. This creates frustration with the customer when they must complete multiple interactions to resolve a single issue.
An omni-channel solution raises the bar of customer interactions, and anticipates customers toggling between channels. Omni-channel provides a seamless transition by sharing data across all channels, and is achieved in a cloud environment with the flexibility to connect the channel to the interaction. When all communication channels are connected, call centers no longer need to choose a subset of channels to focus on.
The overarching benefit of omni-channel is the increase in customer satisfaction. A recent study by Aberdeen found that organizations that provide their agents with the correct tools and information to do their jobs receive 77% greater customer retention. Using the cloud to establish an omni-channel environment empowers agents to use their resources to provide the most meaningful customer experience.
A cloud deployment also widens the suite of channels available to include the ever-growing myriad of social media and mobile application platforms. As the digital generation continues to grow, more and more users are choosing a smartphone to interact over establishing a voice call. Omni-channel in the cloud allows users to initiate or continue an interaction on their tablet or smartphone.
Choose your deployment
Cloud solutions offer flexibility in their deployment models. The three most common options are:
- Hosted cloud – A third-party provider hosts and maintains the applications and delivers them over the internet. All hardware, software, and requisite infrastructure is owned by the third-party. A hosted solution has lower costs since hardware and software do not need to be purchased, and you only pay for the services you use. This solution also provides scalability and reliability as resources can be added on-demand to meet business needs and prevent network failures.
- Private cloud – Applications are hosted on-site or by a third-party provider. Although a third-party may host the application, the hardware and software is housed on a private, dedicated network. This solution offers more security than a hosted cloud while maintaining scalability.
- Hybrid cloud – Combines on-premise infrastructure with a third-party hosted cloud. Information can travel between the hosted and third-party cloud to allow for flexibility. This solution is the best of both worlds as it allows you the flexibility to choose what information is hosted and what is private. Hybrid cloud solutions also offer scalability to use more of the public cloud only when needed, while still only paying for the resources you use.
The flexibility in deployment options allow organizations to choose the model that best suits their business needs.
With the financial benefits, omni-channel implementation, and deployment flexibility, it is easy to see why more and more contact centers are turning to the cloud. Will yours be one of them?
Interested in learning more about how cloud solutions can impact your customer experience? Check out this short demo: