James Thew - Fotolia
Cloud contact centers are rapidly becoming the contact center platform of choice. Compared to on-premises platforms, cloud contact centers enable easy scalability, provide access to the newest capabilities and eliminate the need for technical staff and infrastructure.
A cloud contact center can benefit a business, but some are struggling with the concept of this change.
Organizations need to address two strategic decisions before determining the best cloud-based option that fits their needs.
The first decision that businesses must make before a doing a contact center migration is whether they prefer using an Opex or Capex model. An Opex model is where an organization pays a limited upfront investment and annual payments for the use of the system. A Capex model requires a significant upfront investment and a much smaller annual fee. The way an organization reports its financial results determines how it will make this decision.
The second decision that an organization must make is how to deal with the ongoing cost of ownership of its current contact center platform. If an organization is already investing a significant amount of money in an on-premises system and the system is not nearing end-of-life, it may be difficult to financially justify a contact center migration with significant ongoing annual expenses. Senior leadership may be responsible for making this decision, as it may be beyond contact center leadership.
Once an organization decides that a cloud-based platform is a viable option, it must face one more challenge before selecting its new cloud contact center software. The contact center must team up with other departments such as IT and finance to ensure that the capabilities of the cloud contact center work within the specific environment at a reasonable cost.
Here are three steps to take with partner departments before choosing a cloud contact center software:
1. Define business requirements
Organizations must define the functionality they expect from the platform. Organizations should compile a document explaining all business requirements, including the following high-level areas of focus:
- Transaction routing. The ability to set up the rules that route transactions, regardless of channel, to the appropriately skilled agent.
- Reporting. The ability to produce both "canned" and customized real-time and after-the-fact reports.
- Recording and quality management. The ability to listen to live calls and record transactions across all channels for later evaluation.
- Workforce management. The ability to project staffing requirements, develop schedules and perform intraday monitoring of results.
- Call flows. The availability of an easy-to-use tool for setting up call flows, including front-end messaging.
2. Develop use cases
Use cases are an extension of the business requirements. They provide examples of real-life situations that a vendor must be able to support for the contact center. Use cases require organizations to not only answer whether a vendor can support a function, but also demonstrate how it can execute the scenario before committing to a contact center migration.
Examples of use cases include:
- A contact center receives a phone call from a customer, and there is a requirement to extract information from a homegrown CRM system to perform a screen pop for the agent. The business should develop a use case for this scenario to ensure that the contact center platform can successfully integrate with the CRM system.
- A contact center performs multiple outbound campaigns with different callback rules when the contact center is unable to reach the customer. The business should develop a use case to show how the contact center platform updates the various calling lists.
3. Develop a pricing scenario
Similar to developing use cases, the organization should develop and provide a specific pricing scenario for the cloud platform vendor.
The scenario should include:
- Variation in staffing levels across months to determine how the vendor charges for changes in staffing levels, such as a monthly minimum and a cap.
- Inclusion of specific functions on separate lines such as workforce management and outbound dialing. Some vendors bundle these items in the base price, while other vendors charge these types of items separately.