What is a cloud contact center and how does it work?
A cloud contact center is managed by an outside vendor in a remote location. It handles both inbound and outbound calls for the organization.
A cloud contact center is a type of hosted contact center. It differs from other hosted contact centers in that many organizations use the same software, hardware and infrastructure. This is usually a more cost-effective structure for organizations, as they do not need dedicated software, hardware and infrastructure.
A cloud contact center platform includes core call center functionality, such as call routing and reporting. It also includes routing of other transactions from digital channels -- such as email and text messages -- workforce optimization tools and chatbots.
The primary benefit of cloud-based systems is that customer service organizations have easy access to technology, enabling an enhanced customer experience (CX). This may include simpler remote access, simpler integrations of additional functionality -- such as workforce management -- and access to the latest technology.
Features of cloud contact centers
There are several key features of a cloud platform that make it an attractive option for many customer service organizations:
- Advanced contact routing. This routes customer inquiries -- regardless of channel received -- to the appropriate agent.
- Reporting. Real-time dashboards and after-the-fact reporting monitor and evaluate contact center operations.
- Integrated voice response. This helps route phone calls to appropriately skilled agents, provides important messages to callers and supports self-service functionality.
- Workforce optimization. This provides add-on modules that enhance the contact center's operation, including workforce management, quality monitoring and gamification.
- Speech analytics. This analyzes voice interactions to perform a root cause analysis of phone calls, provide additional quality monitoring and identify calls with specific attributes, such as an upset caller.
Key benefits of a cloud-based contact center
There are several benefits of moving to a cloud contact center. Many enhance CX, improve agent productivity and reduce internal resource requirements.
Simpler infrastructure and lower upfront costs
Organizations will require less infrastructure and incur lower upfront costs.
This is because there is no need to purchase any specific hardware, software or other infrastructure to get the system up and running. All that is needed is internet connectivity and adequate bandwidth.
Instead of an upfront investment, organizations pay a monthly service fee for the specific features that they want to use in the cloud environment.
Embedded multichannel capabilities
Organizations will have an easier transition evolving from a call center to a contact center.
Cloud providers have integrated various communications, such as voice, emails, chat and social media, into their platforms. This enables customers to interact with customer service organizations via the channel of their choice.
In an on-premises environment, channels can be added but may require a software upgrade or integration.
Learn more about the evolution of call centers to experience centers here.
Improved scalability and pay only for what is used
In a cloud environment, contact centers only pay for the resources they use and can scale more easily.
Many organizations can become seasonally busy, and at other times, traffic can be slow. The ability for organizations to increase or decrease the number of agents is essential. It saves businesses money and can encourage them to improve self-service methods.
Access to state-of-the art features and capabilities
Organizations have access to new technology as it becomes available on the platform.
Cloud providers are constantly adding new technology to their platforms. This provides contact centers the opportunity to test these features and capabilities without needing a new vendor that provides the specific feature or capability.
Simpler upgrade process
Organizations that use a cloud platform pay a monthly service fee and receive software upgrades as part of their ongoing service.
Upgrades are continuously performed by the cloud vendor with little -- if any -- interruption to service.
In an on-premises environment, upgrades must be scheduled and are not always included in the license maintenance costs.
Easier remote work
Contact center employees can log in remotely via a browser and perform their work as if they are in the office. The key requirements are having a strong internet connection and required bandwidth.
Management of critical functions that are not core competencies
In a cloud environment, the vendor handles many functions that may not be a core competency or function that an organization wants to perform. These functions include items such as system maintenance, business continuity and software support.
As a result, there is a reduced need for IT resources and other specialized functions.
Why is a cloud contact center important for your business?
The availability of cloud technology does not make on-premises tools obsolete. There are many organizations that still want to have control of their systems and data. Others may have significant technology investments and may resist moving to a cloud system.
But, for organizations that must be nimble and continuously pivot to respond to ever-changing customer needs, a cloud system may be the way to go. Cloud contact centers provide the type of flexibility and simple access to advanced technologies that are necessary in this dynamic world.
Examples of cloud contact center providers
Some cloud contact center vendors are the following:
It's important that businesses do their homework when choosing a cloud contact center platform. Research from Gartner and Forrester can help inform decisions.
Read more here about cloud contact center platforms.