The “cloud” has changed how we approach computing in our everyday lives. This system is aptly named because much like the fluffy mounds above us, it is very much a ubiquitous part of the day-to-day.
What is it? The cloud is a system that allows users to access and store data, software and computer technology using a WAN network. There are currently a few types of cloud computing; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS); or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Included in this list is Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS).
of Contact Centers plan to invest in robotics and process automation in the next 2 years
of consumers are willing to pay more for an upgraded experience
By 2020 digital-care channels will account for 48 per cent of customer-care interactions.
Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019. – Gartner
Cloud computing spending is expected to grow at better than 6 times the rate of IT spending from 2015 through 2020. – Forbes
Public cloud platforms, business services, and applications will reach €209 billion by 2020. – Forrester
CCaaS, cloud-based call centre and cloud contact centre. There are many names for what isn’t actually a physical place, rather it’s a communication hub used by enterprises that speak to customers frequently. The makeup contains tools, applications and features designed to handle customer communication coming from multiple channels such as email, voice and social media.
A private cloud or enterprise cloud is server – based, meaning a larger company’s infrastructure can just move to it. Private cloud providers don’t offer any maintenance, data centre updates or management, everything is controlled by the company using it. It also comes with a higher level of security as data is stored behind a firewall and not shared with another organisation.
With a public setup, users would not be responsible for managing a public cloud service. Usually, the cloud provider handles data storage, maintenance and management. Security-wise, all data is kept separate from other users and the provider is responsible for securing it. An example of a public cloud is Amazon’s AWS, which is currently the largest.
Cloud contact centres are flexible, meaning they allow for growth in technology, teams and location. Let’s go into more detail.
Due to the fact that these contact centres are not tied to an on-premise business telephone system (PBX), they are able to move around with the agents regardless of location, they can even conduct business via their mobile phones. Additionally, the cloud offers the ability to set up a communication environment in multiple parts of the world. This means that configuring servers to your cloud and adapting them based on the country’s regulations is now a much easier and faster process.
On-premise (capex) rents are high and developing a physical contact centre means considering hardware purchasing and licensing costs. A cloud-based system (opex) usually only needs a strong internet connection and an IT budget.
Day-to-day call volumes are never certain, cloud contact centres have the ability to grow and shrink their systems according to demand. They can do this through the use of an application programming interface (API). With an API, scalability is possible in two ways, the cloud provider can adjust its cloud’s parameters or the centre itself can adapt within the cloud.
The kind of contact centre you need depends on the size of your company. Bigger enterprises with more phones and infrastructure can afford a system that combines both. Smaller companies just starting out might want to cut costs by adopting a hosted cloud-based centre right off the bat.
A hybrid contact centre or bi-modal centre is ideal for companies not wanting to overhaul an on-premise system they’ve already invested in. Luckily, the cloud is flexible and can work alongside legacy infrastructure. It means combining data centre hosting, on-premise hardware, Iaas, plus public and private cloud.
The cash-flow model for hybrid contact centres is subscription-based and accepts integrations, once the provider offers either an application programming interface (API) or software development kit (SDK) solution.
If moving strictly to a cloud-based service, there are few variables to consider. If your enterprise is looking for a capital free investment in communication technology then this is the solution for you. However, that means handing over the control of your contact centre to a provider who implements and maintains the centre. Cloud centres are hosted on an internet server and data transfer is usually taken care of by the provider.
Launching a cloud contact centre is quick and easy, it usually only requires the installation of an application. The only major expense when implementing a cloud contact centre is a strong internet connection and recurring costs, as providers typically offer a monthly subscription. Before using a cloud contact centre there are a few things to know.
Data storage depends on what you need from your centre. Larger enterprises require a more secure network line (VPN) and usually, go for a private cloud set up with a centralised data centre for a singular enterprise. Others might prefer a SaaS (software as a service) solution delivered via a public cloud which has its own data centre that is shared but siloed.
Integrating an existing CRM (customer relationship management) system with a cloud contact centre can positively change how call data is managed. However, a company’s CRM should support open API connectivity in order to reap the benefits.
Figure out which channels are the most important to brand communication. Sometimes social channels have more impact than voice. Configure the contact centre so that these channels are prioritised and enquiries sent to the right agents.
One huge benefit of using cloud contact centres is call routing. This feature increases agent efficiency by routing calls based on the digital context. This method saves time by bypassing IVR and matching calls to the best agents that can help. Routing reduces call abandonment rates significantly and improves customer satisfaction.
With a cloud contact centre, it’s easier to capture customer data in real time and measure different types of interactions using workflows included by the provider. Metrics gleaned from this data can then be put towards improving the customer experience and can help identify training needs within an agent network. A few metrics offered by cloud contact centre systems include; abandonment rate, call quality, call times and call through rate.
Using a cloud-based solution to manage a workforce offers the ability to optimise productivity in a few ways.
Cloud centres manage data from multiple channels and can be plugged into a dashboard with metrics able to both improve the customer experience and help agents and managers make sense of agent performance.
Since 79% of channel volumes are calls, metrics such as call quality scoring, call through rate and first contact resolution can help centre management determine how well their agents are performing.
No need to consolidate data from opposing systems, with a cloud contact centre it’s all in one place.
Reports in cloud-based centres can help teams measure real-time and past performance metrics against their specific performance goals. Reporting should also provide the ability to link both web-based and conversational performance.
There are multiple reports available within a contact centre environment, the cloud has storage and database solutions that make data available in perpetuity. Meaning that all forms of reporting (user actions, call history, recordings, billing) are available for specific customers, allowing agents to connect faster with more real-time information at hand.
The way businesses communicate with large pools of calling customers has changed since the beginning of the call centre or automatic call distribution (ACD) systems. Now there are multiple channels to consider and that’s why the contact centre came to be. Let’s explore the differences.
Today’s call centre uses a phone-based system to connect customers with company representatives trained to both, offer answers to their queries and technical assistance if needed.
In terms of hardware and software, call centres often use interactive voice response systems (IVR). They are also restricted to on-premise hardware including; a local area network (LAN) desktop computers for agents, an automatic call distributor, a predictive dialer – which automatically connects to groups of numbers for outbound calls. Additionally, IVR, voice logging, voice recording and messaging systems.
Cloud-based contact centres use the internet highway to function and offer omnichannel support, meaning that they recognise and communicate with customers coming from both phone and other channels such as mobile, email, social media and SMS. Often contact centres are integrated with a company’s customer relationship management system (CRM), making it easier to track and analyse interactions so that all channels can be optimised for better service.
Whether its public or private data is secured in the cloud by multiple processes including firewalls, encryption, guidelines and regulations. According to a survey conducted by Forbes, “83 per cent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020.” With that amount of data in storage, cloud security needs to be ironclad and meet multiple requirements before being licensed. Prior to choosing a cloud provider for a contact centre, there are a few points to consider.
Most important, cloud contact centre security systems are constantly updated to meet technological threats head-on.
At times it can feel like technology is growing at such a rapid rate that it’s hard to keep up. But in the near future, there are few trends to look out for in the cloud contact centre world.
The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) switch off is coming, which means any telephony based business using telephone lines or integrated digital services will have to future-proof and rely solely on the internet to communicate with customers.
While it will be a very long time before humans don’t want to speak to humans, artificial intelligence is and will help agents do their jobs better by almost eliminating the phone tree system. How? Machine learning can read customer history and online activity so that they can be routed to the right agent faster based on specific information.
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