Takeaway #1: Moving to a cloud-based contact center can lead to a multitude of benefits for businesses, improving everything from sales generated to agent morale.
Takeaway #2: Luckily for today’s contact center leaders, it’s an option to rely on the cloud to be everywhere you can’t be.
Takeaway #3: It’s important to take stock of what matters most to your team when considering changes that have the potential to disrupt current processes.
Looking out onto the wide expanse of the contact center industry, it’s clear to see: there is no one-size-fits-all call center solution. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all business. Contact centers serve a wide variety of companies, ranging to include small, lean teams at younger companies to huge, worldly enterprises with history. One business using a contact center might have the luxury of seeing all of their team members in the office every day, while another’s global reach might demand a team that’s spread out across borders –– or even oceans.
While the dynamic nature of call centers is rich with opportunity, it can also be challenging and confusing to navigate –– particularly for those calling the shots. Knowing which industry trends will help your organization move toward more success and which will hinder your progress can be a tough call, especially with the range of opinions to take into consideration.
Not to mention that even when your organization does make a decision for change –– be it small or large –– there are more decisions to make and challenges to face after the fact. Once you have an end goal in mind, your team still has to figure out the best way to get from point A to point B, without disrupting workflow in the meantime. How will you implement new technology? What processes will need updating? These are the types of critical decisions facing many organizations as they weigh the pros and cons of moving to a cloud contact center solution.
Cloud technology isn’t new to the scene. In fact, in 2018, 96 percent of companies reported using at least one cloud-based app or service. What’s more is that more than 60 percent of organizations have already chosen to move their contact center to the cloud, while about half of those that haven’t are considering moving to the cloud sooner rather than later. Put simply, the migration is a popular one –– and with good reason.
Moving to a cloud-based contact center can lead to a multitude of benefits for businesses, improving everything from sales generated to agent morale. According to those that have already made the shift, consulted during a survey from Tech Pro Research, the following are some of the top noteworthy benefits:
- Improved customer service (72%)
- Adding new social media features, chat bots, and other tools for customer interaction (75%)
- Better agent efficiency and productivity ( 71%)
Even with those benefits as the light at the end of the tunnel, the reality of moving your contact center to the cloud can be daunting. To ensure your company is well prepared and ready to make the transition happen successfully, timing is everything –– and so is proactive planning. So, how can you know if your business is ready to move to a cloud call center solution? Take these top five considerations into account.
1. You don’t want flexibility to be such a stretch
Business growing pains are real. Whether you’re growing in size, adding on agents and locations, or just plain growing up, requiring more features and functionality –– it’s hard to do gracefully. That being said, as business matures and expands, it becomes more and more important to be able to flex to meet changing needs, from the internal needs of team members to the external expectations of customers.
Onsite contact centers are limited in how flexible they can be –– as well as how fast they can be to implement changes or react to new business demands. For example, once installed, onsite contact centers aren’t easily adjustable. Adding new agents means purchasing new equipment, like headphones and computers, and might even require hardware modifications. Not to mention that adding agents to an onsite contact center is physical in nature –– being remote isn’t an option, instead employees are tethered to not just any desk, but the same desk, every day.
Cloud call centers are much more nimble and adaptable. Instead of clunky hardware and physical restraints, adding a new agent can be done on a dime –– from anywhere. Plus, if you find you need to retreat in size again down the line, agents can easily be removed from the cloud, without leaving you with wasted hardware and equipment. This is helpful whether you’re a slow-growing business, or a business that deals with seasonal surges in customer needs.
Also, allowing for remote work can result in less agent turnover and greater employee satisfaction, translating to improved work for your business and better experiences for customers. Plus, cloud center flexibility makes it possible to employ agents that are willing and able to talk to customers after traditional office hours –– leaving more chances to engage with customers and meet their expectations, no matter the time of day.
If you’re regularly scrambling to scale your onsite contact center up or down, or find yourself having trouble giving agents the freedom they need to deliver their best work –– and your customers’ best experiences, then it could be time to ease your growing pains with help from the cloud.
2. You need more from your call center
On-premise call centers are entirely capable. They’re complete with all of the features you would expect, including call transfers, holds, wait music, and call logging. But they don’t have all of the features possible. Cloud contact centers, being the more modernized solution, can offer your team the benefits of the latest and greatest features possible. For example, cloud-based call centers have access to additional features such as:
- Live call monitoring
- Smart IVR
In addition to features, cloud contact centers also more seamlessly integrate with outside applications and vendors. While onsite call centers make integration possible, the cloud makes them seamless. This makes it a no-brainer to enhance customer support however your team sees fit, integrating your CRM system, call script generators, survey templates, and more to give your customers the high-quality experience they’ve come to expect, but with much less blood, sweat, and tears necessary on the back-end.
If you need a contact center simply to function, an onsite call center can do the job. But, if you’re looking at your contact center to do the most possible to enhance your customer experience or streamline internal processes, a cloud contact center is going to be able to offer more help from end to end.
3. Your business is more global than local
Nowadays, it’s rare to have a business that stays within city limits. In most cases, businesses are communicating with customers from all over –– often times with help from agents that live all over, too. While a global reach is exciting, it can be hard to feel like you’re able to maintain control across time zones, language barriers, and an ever-evolving list of moving parts to manage.
Luckily for today’s contact center leaders, it’s an option to rely on the cloud to be everywhere you can’t be. When your system and customer data live on the cloud, there’s little limit to where your business can go. When everything your business needs lives on the cloud, you can ensure that processes and approaches stay consistent, whether an agent is talking to a customer from right down the street or halfway around the world.
Update customer data or business strategy in real-time, across locations and ensure agents are up to speed with everything they need to know, even when they’re far from in-office locations.
Let’s face it, there’s a whole world of potential out there. If your contact center is itching to expand further than the next cubicle over, and you’re worried about ensuring consistent agent delivery and a uniform customer experience from location to location, it’s probably time to look to the cloud for help. That way, as you expand your business, you won’t be stretching your resources too thin –– or risking customer experiences that aren’t up to standards.
4. Your agents and IT Staff need a lifeline
Keeping your business running –– and in the green –– takes an army. The people that help with the day-to-day operations, whether it’s making sure technology is up and running or ensuring successful customer experiences, are so important. It’s critical that you implement decisions that make their jobs easier and productivity greater whenever you can. If your IT staff are often pressed for time and frazzled with all they have to handle, or your agents are struggling to achieve consistent productivity, the cloud might be a worthwhile consideration.
For agents, cloud-based contact centers offer top-of-the-line, next-generation features that can make connecting with customers easier than ever before. The cloud also improves collaboration capabilities, and streamlines workflow onto one single, integrated dashboard. Enhanced call center monitoring also means that managers can improve how they coach and lead teams –– jumping in where necessary to ensure the best customer experience possible, at every point of contact.
For IT staff, the difference between onsite call centers and cloud-based call centers is nothing to take lightly. An onsite setup leans heavily on IT support for hardware maintenance, software updates, and general upkeep. When working with onsite hardware, downtime is a real concern and you’ll need dedicated, top-notch IT staff readily available to troubleshoot when issues arise, plus perform data backups and redundancy procedures proactively.
With cloud-based call centers, it might not even be necessary to have a full-time IT team on staff. Cloud vendors will deal with upkeep, ensure that data is kept safe, and downtime is a rarity –– after all, 99 percent uptime SLAs are the norm.
5. You’ve got executive support –– and training
Even with the benefits top of mind, migrating to the cloud is a major decision for your business. It’s important to take stock of what matters most to your team when considering changes that have the potential to disrupt current processes.
Prioritize having open and honest conversations with executives, managers, account teams, and any other major business influences. Survey their opinions, address their concerns, and communicate the benefits that are driving your decision-making process.
To successfully implement any big-time technology decisions, it’s important you have your team behind you. You’ll need to learn on each other as you learn how to make the most of new technology, evolve old processes, and make way for future success.
Additionally, don’t forget to tap into training resources. Just because the cloud is simple, doesn’t mean your team shouldn’t dig deeper into how –– and why –– it could work for you. Stay on track for future success by getting your team trained before any major places take place, and avoid speed bumps later. As you train the ground-floor employees that will be using the technology on a daily basis, you might even find they have helpful input for how best to customize a cloud contact center for your particular business model and goals.
If you’re debating advocating for your business to swap onsite call center methodology for a cloud call center solution, you’re not alone. Actually, according to PR Newswire, you’re far from it. Recently, the news outlet reported that the global cloud-based contact center market is expected to grow from $6.8 billion in 2017 to $20.9 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.2 percent during the forecast period.
Businesses across industries, from healthcare, banking, and financial services to insurance, telecommunications, IT, and more are finding that switching over their communications to the cloud is a modern, forward-thinking way to keep improving the customer experience. And once you’ve decided that the cloud is right for your business –– and your business is ready to own the change–– you can initiate the shift, too.
Key considerations for contact center leaders
Contact center technology just keeps advancing, and to not take note, and consider taking advantage would be doing your business and any associated goals a disservice. Shaking up your strategy is never a simple black and white decision. Instead, it’s one that deserves in-depth debate, team-sourced research, and ongoing discussion. As you consider what moving to the cloud might mean for your contact center –– the good and the bad –– be sure to consider the following key questions:
- Could your contact center, and employees, benefit from more flexibility and features?
- Do you have the potential to expand your business reach with the right technology?
- Are you facilitating the right conversations with the right people to discuss what a cloud-based call center might mean for your business?
Originally published Aug 16, 2019, updated Nov 20, 2022