There has been much talk of cloud contact centers, especially during the last two years. So what is a cloud contact center, and how does it differ from a traditional contact center?
Why have cloud contact centers become something many businesses now have on their digital transformation roadmap?
Traditionally businesses use contact centers to provide essential services to their customers. They are a critical part of the customer experience, so much so that they can profoundly impact the customer's perception of the brand and company, hence why innovation in this space has garnered a lot of interest, especially when it comes to the cloud.
What is a cloud contact center?
A cloud contact center is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that combines the features of a traditional contact center with the flexibility of cloud computing. Hosted via the internet, a cloud contact center creates a central point for all customer communications across multiple channels.
Cloud contact centers address the need for businesses to respond quickly and effectively to customer service inquiries and requests and deliver high-quality, personalized customer care from anywhere. Provided agents have a reliable internet connection, a cloud contact center can be run from any location, anywhere, including an agent's home
Why are cloud contact centers popular?
The demand for cloud-based contact center solutions exploded due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, traditional on-premise contact center agents were quickly required to work from home. This sudden change challenged outdated legacy systems and forced leaders to seek new solutions for business continuity.
According to Gartner, 68% of customer service and support organizations worked from traditional call centers pre-Covid, and less than 10% of staff worked from home. Moreover, an estimated 71% of contact centers will go remote over the next few years. As a result, the need for flexible, cloud-based solutions has never been more critical. Leading the way is Amazon Connect, which onboarded more than 5,000 new contact centers to their omnichannel cloud-based platform in just two months.
With the cloud based contact center market projected to surpass USD 45.5 Billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 24.8%, it is important to understand what they are and the positive impact they can have on both businesses and customers.
4 benefits of a cloud contact center
A cloud contact center, or virtual contact center as it may be known, is a cost-effective solution due to the lack of up-front high capital expenditure. In addition, it's easy to set up, often able to be deployed within minutes and provides businesses with much-needed flexibility, scalability and reliability.
Here’s an overview of four key benefits for businesses using cloud contact center solutions:
1. Reduced Costs
Because a cloud contact center solution is hosted in the cloud, there are no upfront costs or infrastructure costs to consider. Organizations can say goodbye to expensive office real estate and software and hardware upgrades, which instead are taken care of by solution providers. As a result, implementation and training costs (and time) are significantly reduced, as is overall maintenance. In addition, contact center agents can work from home and only need a computer, headset and reliable internet connection.
With a cloud contact center solution, you only pay for what you use. This also means that organizations can scale up or down at any time, depending on demand often caused by seasonality or significant events. In addition, flexible pricing agreements mean that businesses use what they need when needed.
3. Improved Customer Experience
Cloud contact centers give customers the convenience to choose their preferred method of communication - voice, email, social media, mobile messaging, SMS or webchat. Intelligent routing will automatically route every customer conversation to the best-qualified agent based on their needs and location regardless of the channel used. As a result, businesses get the most efficient use of available agents—no more never-ending IVR menus for customers to wade through. In addition, CRM and knowledge-base integration allow agents to surface all the information they need in real-time. All that combined means wait times, handling times and first contact resolution rates are significantly improved
4. Business Continuity & Crisis Recovery
Cloud contact centers are robust and flexible, even during a global pandemic or a local outage. Agents can move location and, provided they have an internet connection, can be operational again within minutes. In the case of a local interruption, inbound calls and messages can easily be routed to other agents who haven’t been affected by the event. As a result, businesses can continue to function efficiently without disrupting the customer experience.
It's time to consider a change
Customers expect fast, efficient and personalized service from the companies they deal with, and it’s up to businesses to respond accordingly. In today's world, responsive customer service is critical, so having reliable and flexible systems makes this possible for business operations.
A cloud contact center solution allows businesses to deliver on customer expectations by empowering agents to provide a personalized, seamless experience. And the ability for their customers to contact them in the way that best suits them. In addition, scalable, secure global infrastructure adds peace of mind. This agile approach is a win:win for businesses and customers alike.
This article was updated on Tuesday 29th March 2022.