Contact centers serve as a connection between an organization and its clientele, facilitating assistance in a convenient manner. In customer support models, phone calls were traditionally routed through a network of representatives, who would handle queries to the best of their abilities or hand the caller off to someone who could.
But the definition of convenience is changing. Simply operating a contact center is not enough if communication is difficult or cumbersome. More people than ever are using multiple platforms to reach each other in a variety of ways, and businesses are starting to realize that they need to build up modern unified communications systems to help manage these requests and use the information obtained to improve services.
But what is the best way to accomplish this? There used to be two separate lines for voice and data, but in more recent years, it has been discovered that phone calls can be made just as effectively using software as they were with dedicated copper connections. Consolidation became the name of the game, and the gradual shift away from the "plain old telephone system" began – and continues to occur.
A concept called the cloud also began to take shape within the same period that business telephone services began to be routed over IP. Virtualized environments allowed data and systems to be accessible from any connectible device, including – but not limited to – voice infrastructures. The seed for widespread cloud PBX adoption in contact centers was sewn.
Few other business divisions benefit in such big ways from the cloud as the contact center. By making representatives available in a virtual setting and maximizing the channels they have at their disposal, companies and organizations can create next-generation networks that yield greater efficiency.
Creating "Interaction Centers"
Flexibility is key for contact centers that wish to be effective. According to Unified Communication Strategies contributor Art Rosenberg, mobile consumers should be a focal point in making a move to cloud contact centers. Because of the advanced capabilities now possessed by millions of smartphone and tablet users, businesses will have to adapt to varied methods of communication in order to stay relevant. This involves a move to less physically-restricted systems and call center software.
"There is no question that the [POTS] is being replaced by Internet connectivity for voice calls, as standards are now being developed for that transition," Rosenberg said. "In addition, communication technologies are moving to 'cloud' services, rather than premise-based systems, thus relieving organizations of the need to manage and maintain infrastructure technologies."
With more people opting to use apps instead of visiting websites, multimodal support will be crucial. According to Rosenberg, Amazon's Mayday button on the Kindle Fire signified the coming of the "click-for-assistance" option. Calls will be made less through dialing a number and will likely be initiated through a link within an application.
How To Deploy A Cloud Contact Center
Rosenberg said that the fastest and easiest way to properly deploy and maintain these new assets will be through the cloud. According to IT Business Edge, managing the customer experience across all possible endpoints is essential for any company looking to maximize their hosted phone service. Cloud systems can be used to facilitate a seamless experience across various channels of communication.
But the advantages require considerations. Proper deployment of a cloud contact center takes planning and assessment of what it will be doing and how it will best perform. IT Business Edge said that playing to flexibility and leveraging the strengths of the system will be tantamount to an effective implementation. Learning from previous successes and failures – be they on-site or elsewhere – will be the key to doing so.
And all of this adaptation needs to be done sooner rather than later. While it may make sense to partition newer services away from other operations while it "gets its legs," integration is actually a major part of what gets cloud based phone systems working at full potential. IT Business Edge said that these technologies need to be working together as soon as possible to see benefits. The time when it would be appropriate to test the waters gingerly with these services has come and gone, and they have matured enough to be put into place right out of the box, so to speak.
It will also be essential to disregard traditional metrics. According to IT Business Edge, the days of trying to improve service based on statistics like "average call time" have passed by. Cloud contact centers can be equipped to monitor many different aspects, connecting complicated data in ways that were not possible until only relatively recently.
Revenue And Profit Increase With Cloud Transition
If the inherent performance advantages are not enough to warrant a look at cloud contact centers, then consider at the savings and gains that can be made financially by making the switch. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, profits and revenue for contact centers located in the cloud were found to be roughly twice as big as those of their competitors that used on-site solutions. Specifically, hosted centers experienced a 10.5 percent growth in annual company revenue, while traditional centers only saw an increase of 6.3 percent. Overall company profit was found to go up by 7.3 percent for those using cloud phone systems, among other tools. Those still operating through the POTS only saw 3.2 percent more.