While it may seem hard to believe, the cloud has not been around for that long. The way in which this new form of computing has quickly permeated itself through multiple facets of modern life has almost made it hard to remember how people functioned without it. There is an incredible ease and convenience that is associated with modern mobile devices. Inevitably, the more that they start to become leveraged outside of the workplace, the greater chance that employees will begin demanding these tools for the sake of productivity. Odds are, these assets might already be in full use throughout, whether management is aware of it or not.
One place within enterprise that is exceedingly appearing in the cloud is the contact center. According to TMCnet contributor Tracey Schelmetic, the shift away from legacy circuits is increasing at such a pace that staff members within these departments might not even remember life before the cloud within the next few years.
"In the very near future, many contact centers may no longer have very many employees who remember working on a premises-based solution," Schelmetic wrote. "It sounds odd, given how 'new' the cloud is to the contact center industry, but given that we are far past first generations of cloud-based solutions (and given the turnover in the contact center industry), there may be a critical mass of employees who don't actually remember what it was like working with technology solutions that were located in a dusty IT room in the basement."
This represents major opportunities for the contact center profession as a whole. The cloud has – and continues to – become engrained in the field to the point that the physical workplace might not be a cornerstone of the overall experience for much longer. The capabilities unlocked by tools like a hosted VoIP system are a far-and-away improvement over the copper landlines that previously made up these networks. It is becoming ever apparent that those businesses still using older voice networks for their office phone system are putting themselves at a severe disadvantage.
Modern customer service has been greatly influenced by the consumerization of IT. Now that more people than ever are skilled in basic computing operations, both clients and employees alike are expecting immersive unified communications experiences from companies of all sizes. The kind of flexibility and scalability that organizations demand these days can only be achieved through the implementation of a cloud based phone system.
Hosted, Cloud Contact Centers On The Rise
With all of this new technology suddenly at the fingertips of enterprises all over the world, there is a lot of talk happening about the future of customer service deployments. While there are still plenty of companies that are operating traditional networks, more of them are starting to realize that their future is in the cloud.
According to Forrester, contact centers based in both on-premise systems and self-managed setups alike are expected to drop by at least 5 percent from where it stands presently. At the same time, hosted services are anticipated to climb by just as much, while cloud-as-a-service options will be selected with 7 percent greater frequency.
These trends are indicative of where IT decision makers will continue to focus their efforts in customer service. As the cloud gains an even larger fanbase, it will be important to keep up.
Allowing Employees To Roam Free
The olden days of the contact center were – like other professions – very firmly constructed. Working from home as a call center representative was unheard of, let alone practical. The technology did not exist in a strong enough capacity as recently as a decade ago, which makes the arrival of the cloud all the more disruptive for customer service.
By launching a contact center in the cloud, it will not only allow businesses to achieve new kinds of functionality, but facilitate them in a way that can be accomplished anywhere. Should a customer service employee be feeling slightly under the weather, but still well enough to work from home, all it takes is a quick email to a supervisor – ideally through the same application that the voice lines are accessed through. It will be this kind of responsive, singular interface that will help to define a successful unified communications initiative.