Many businesses have taken a long time to respond to digital transformation. Accounting for the presence of early adopters in every space, the UK has still been generally slow on the uptake. It’s a human condition. Some people are naturally resistant to change, some are sceptical, some are buried in minutiae and don’t make time for strategic investment.
On the other hand, the term ‘digital transformation’ can come across as frustratingly obtuse, annoyingly overused or dauntingly vast. But it needn’t be. Essentially, it’s about using technology to make your life easier. In this post, we’ll use contact centres as an example.
Here’s the scenario: Emarketer says one of the effects of isolation will be an increase in ecommerce. It’s not rocket science. The indication is based on shoppers’ attitudes and popularity of shopping as a real-world experience. As bricks and mortar experience is closed off to keen shoppers, they will seek their gratification online.
It’s not just retail that will feel the effects. Every transaction we make in the physical world will be affected. Banking will see a surge in mobile users; work and social interaction has already been taken onto video conferencing platforms; even doctors are adopting ‘telehealth’ and conducting virtual diagnostics where possible. Insurance, supply chain, transportation – all these sectors will experience a greater demand on their online presence.
As online services in general face a mixed bag of challenge and opportunity, many companies still lack simple functions to help them keep up with the demand, such as access to historical customer interaction data. The majority of customers operate in the mobile digital world, their expectations of brand service shaped by instant connection, relevant targeting and real-time interaction. The pressure is on contact centres to keep up.
Many contact centres rely on expensive custom hardware and software setups, usually running on an on-premises setup, which is now more difficult than ever to access. In 2019, only 10% of contact centres were based on a contact centre as a service (CCaaS) model. We expect to see that increasing this year in response to changing conditions.
For businesses running remote teams, cloud contact centre makes it much easier to support workers and maintain high levels of customer service. The level of flexibility provided by the cloud allows IT managers and contact centre managers to keep running a ‘business as usual’ service while adapting to restrictions of movement. To take a closer look, here’s five ways in which CCaaS supports businesses as they respond to current demand.
1. Be flexible
CCaaS makes it easy to scale the centre up and down to match seasonality, rapid growth or sudden downturn, which is also mirrored in the cost structure. The reporting functionality feeds into staff scheduling, allowing managers to not only anticipate demand but also respond immediately to unforeseen circumstances.
The flexibility and mobility afforded with cloud-based systems makes it easier for IT managers to deliver business continuity when on-premises arrangements are compromised. This means your office isn’t a single point of failure, and allows you to run a much more responsive service.
2. Improve your employee experience (EX)
The intelligent software built into the CCaaS provision helps agents meet demand, instantly share information and access historical information to understand the context of each interaction. Modern contact centre software integrates with popular CRM tools so customer contact records are immediately accessible.
With a single web-based platform, agents can log on from anywhere and do their work remotely just as effectively as they can in the office. All this gives employees the opportunity to do their job better, which increases levels of satisfaction and motivation in the workforce.
3. Improve your customer experience (CX)
Happy employees directly leads to happier customers. Functions like smart call routing and multichannel presence help customers feel heard and facilitates query resolution. Assigning specific queries to specialist agents helps queries to be resolved quicker, improving the customer experience.
4. Meet your customers where they are
Digital capability in our personal lives influences our expectations of how businesses will communicate with us. As customers, we expect to contact brands on the apps we use, and we expect to reach the right person to help us with our query on the first contact. The integration of CCaaS with social media and messaging channels means agents are available to help customers wherever they are, making it a much better experience for the customer.
5. Save cost
One of the direct savings with CCaaS is the change from paying to instal and manage on-premises hardware. This often requires specialist support, and the hardware becomes outdated quickly. Today’s cloud providers can offer a much more cost-effective service without a bunch of on-costs for utilities, maintenance and upgrades.
Another major source of cost saving is using voice over IP (VoIP) technology rather than traditional fixed-line phone systems. Using the internet, VoIP calling avoids extra charges such as international tariffs, which is a big concern for today’s contact centres.
In a nutshell, cloud-based systems offer more flexibility at a significantly lower cost. As we all adapt to changes in our working patterns, in service infrastructure, and in public behaviour, it’s this type of functionality that will help us rise to the challenge.
There’s more information about working and managing remotely in our remote working resource library, where we’ll be adding content to help contact centre managers as the situation develops.
Originally published Mar 19, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023