It seems that contact centers worldwide are moving to the cloud. That’s primarily because developing contact centers the old way, with on-premise hardware and software, is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. On the other hand, cloud-based contact center alternatives change everything. The reasons to move the cloud span from financial- no capital investment, not having to purchase, set up, maintain, and upgrade hardware and software- to improved versatility and scalability and better ROI. On top of all those benefits, once the burdens of setting up and managing a contact center are eliminated, teams can also re-dedicate their time and resources to optimizing the business aspects of their cloud contact center solutions.
As organizations continue to invest in technology to keep pace with changes and provide customers with great customer experience, contact centers must also adapt to find new ways to interact with customers. Cloud-based solutions can help deliver omnichannel support across social, mobile, email, and chat providing a consistent and high level of support at every level. While the advantages of moving a cloud-based contact center may be clear, determining the best path to get there is not. Let’s dive deeper into the primary considerations for evaluating cloud contact centers.
- Selecting between private cloud vs. public cloud model – When looking at contact center options, organizations need first to discover how best to leverage the benefits of the cloud. Deciding whether to deploy a private cloud or a public cloud model takes careful consideration and a look into the company’s technical requirements and organizational goals. In a private-cloud model, systems are centralized in a corporate data center and distributed across multiple sites using virtualization. The private cloud model gives organizations greater control over network and systems operations, security, functionality, backup and recovery, and scalability. The downside of a private cloud for contact centers is that they also require more technical and operational resources to manage. Public cloud contact centers, also called Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaa) solutions, on the other hand, are attractive because they remove the customer relinquishes control of the contact center hardware, software, and operational IT responsibilities of managing software to a provider. Also, because the cloud-based services are delivered over the internet, contact center agents can work from anywhere, using a reliable internet connection. The public cloud model brings significant cost savings to the equation by eliminating the need for a physical contact center building.
- Don’t overlook hybrid options – For some organizations, current legacy PBX systems may still be working fine as part of a larger contact center solution. In these cases, a hybrid contact center architecture is a smart option. A hybrid approach integrates some on-prem solutions and some cloud-based systems to help meet the demands of a multichannel, multipurpose customer interaction support. In a hybrid model, often voice infrastructure, recordings and customer data remain at the customer site and behind their firewall. Other hybrid models offer the ability to add new capabilities, with existing ones, using public cloud services.
- Get a strategy in place behind new features – While we all get excited about the new features available from cloud contact center solutions, like those that give us access to video chat, social media, self-service capabilities, text, and chatbots replying to desktop and mobile apps, the truth remains that organizations need to have a strategy in place behind modern, tech-savvy channels. Organizations must think about how they plan to use these new features to connect with customers and how to elevate the customer experience. By taking the time upfront to determine what emerging channels the organization wants to adopt in the cloud and how those can be used to for customer benefits, an organization can determine what cloud contact center solutions will be most beneficial over the long term.
- Integrations – Contact center solutions are most valuable when they are integrated with current processes and technologies. Critical integrations include tie-ins into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, enterprise collaboration solutions, and analytics and data systems, to name a few. These integrations help to streamline processes, improve customer retention, increase, customer satisfaction, and deliver more personalized, higher-value experiences for customers. In another example, those organizations with integrations between their cloud contact center and analytics systems enable teams to derive value from the data and tools they already own. They can consolidate their data in more meaningful ways to discover KPIs and develop real-time reports. They can also use visualization tools and take action with monitoring and alerting, real-time analytics and process integration.
The cloud has the tremendous ability to help organizations keep pace with the latest customer engagement technologies like video chat, social media, and more to support a consistent cross-channel experience that boosts customer engagement. Organizations looking for new ways to interact with customers as well as for improved performance, scalability, and security, should look more closely at cloud contact center options.