Benefits of Building a Contact Center in the Cloud

As a small- to medium-sized business (SMB), do you have the resources in-house to support today’s customer service demands? For instance, are you prepared to deliver consistent, seamless customer experiences across multiple channels? The evolved customer of the Digital Age expects to connect with companies by the digital channels they already use in their daily lives.

This can be a daunting goal for many SMBs—both operationally and financially. Upgrading your contact center facilities and technology to accommodate new channels and services can be an enemy to profits.  In response to commercial pressures and technological opportunities, a new contact center model has emerged: the virtual contact center. For SMBs and larger enterprises, this model may defray costs and increase customer satisfaction.

In the model, Customer Care Communicators work remotely using a VoIP communication system and cloud-based services. A virtual contact center can consist of many operations, including home and satellite offices, which are linked together and managed as a single site. This allows for greater efficiencies, significant economies of scale and the opportunity for performance improvements.

The model has both risks and benefits, which must be assessed independently by each business considering the option.

Your case for transitioning to a virtual contact center must take into account the following three fundamental factors: customer satisfaction, reliability and security, and platform openness and flexibility. Do your due diligence as follows:

  • Assess challenges and goals: Build a case by examining your current capabilities, plans for growth and customer satisfaction. Look at barriers to achieving your KPIs and delivering great service. Evaluate your existing platform and assess what’s missing and what upgrades should be a priority.
  • Determine costs: What are budget requirements over time? You can subtract hardware costs and add savings from scaling up and down flexibly. You’ll have costs for agents, supported channels and analytic functions.
  • Define metrics: Assess current analytics and KPIs to determine which can apply to a contact center in the cloud. How will you measure customer experience and operational efficiency?

As you assess whether the transition to a virtual contact center is right for your business, consider the additional benefits you may gain:

  • Larger pool of skills
  • Balanced work across locations
  • Widely deployed and managed skills
  • One-time easy and flexible forecasting and scheduling
  • Increased global coverage
  • Standardized application deployment
  • 24/7 agent availability
  • Dynamic choice of outsourcers

While cost savings are the primary driver for many transitions to the cloud, keep these other benefits in mind as well—especially as you look at risks, which can be significant. For example, you may experience increased staff turnover if home workers are not self-starters. In addition, the transfer of knowledge and training can be challenging in a virtual environment. Remote workers will also require more attention from supervisors to ensure they don’t feel isolated from the business—and from corporate values and standards.

If the pros outweigh the risks for your organization, you’re on your way to building your contact center in the cloud.  

The Big (Global) Picture in the Contact Center Space

Consider this; there are 3.75 billion active Internet users, 2.206 billion active social media users, 3.734 billion unique mobile users, and 1.925 billion active mobile social users currently living in the world.

The ubiquity of digital channels is precisely why contact center leaders are now racing to implement an omni-channel customer care strategy. This all encompassing strategy ideally suits today’s consumers who are always connected to their personal devices. Whether they are scrolling through social media new feeds or checking their emails, consumers have become increasingly reliant on these devices.

In fact, 85 percent of survey respondents said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life, according to Salesforce’s “2014 Mobile Behavior Report.” Furthermore, 89 percent said that mobile devices allow them to stay up to date with loved ones and social events, which explains why mobile devices are used so frequently.

To effectively communicate with consumers who are “always connected” it’s important that businesses create omni-channel customer care strategies that employ multiple channels—such as live chat, SMS, email—to communicate with consumers. As such, contact centers ought to implement integrated marketing solutions to help them facilitate better communication standards amongst their target audiences.

Today’s consumers expect, and deserve, the utmost quality of customer care from the companies they chose to do business with. For this very reason, customer care leaders must provide a myriad of communication channels, 24/7 support, and most importantly personalization. After all, consumers need to be able to communicate with a qualified customer care agent at any time and from the devices they feel most comfortable using, whether it’s their mobile phones, laptops, or desktops.

Implementing integrated marketing solutions such as website and landing page development, email marketing services, and live web chat enable contact centers to connect with a wider range of consumers—and the way in which they prefer to be reached. Convenience is at the crux of a successful customer care strategy as today’s consumers have no qualms about switching to another provider if they aren’t receiving the type of care they’re expecting.

So, provide your consumers with an omni-channel experience that enables them to leverage the communications channels they prefer the most. Employing integrated marketing strategies will certainly help contact centers reach their full “global” potential.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.