Contact centers handle thousands of communications a day from clients and users. To handle these calls and digital interactions, infrastructure is required that includes sophisticated hardware and software for each channel. In the past, trained IT personnel were needed to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure of the call center. Ranging from replacing aging hardware to increasing the capacity of the call center, maintaining the call center was seen as an expensive necessity.
With the development of cloud computing, contact centers are now being moved to the cloud. Rather than relying on large data centers with professional IT on staff, cloud contact centers have their infrastructure put on the cloud and managed by a third-party. Instead of relying on an army of IT professionals, contact center infrastructure is now being provided through servers provided by Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. Driven by a combination of flexibility and efficiency, many companies are pushing to have their infrastructure placed on secure cloud servers. With cloud contact center software, you can handle all channels without expensive hardware and software. With the frequent emergence of new channels of communication, cloud-based software provides the flexibility to quickly adopt these channels of communication.
Aside from flexibility, companies are gravitating toward cloud contact centers due to their affordability. Powerful contact center software that was only available to the largest companies in the world is now available to small companies through the cloud with affordable prices. Running on a pay-by-use basis, companies can flex between several agent licenses to thousands easily on a cloud system, and only pay for what they use.
So how does a cloud-based contact center software stack up against a traditional on-premise solution? In the next section we explore the advantages that cloud-based contact centers have over an on-premise infrastructure.
CLOUD-BASED CONTACT CENTER VS. TRADITIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The field of cloud computing and cloud storage has taken off in recent years due to the advantages it has over traditional, on-premise infrastructure. Cloud contact center solutions are gradually replacing traditional, on-premise solutions. Many contact centers are ripping out their data rooms and making their storage completely digital.
COST: COST EFFICIENCY AND THE CLOUD
The first difference between a cloud contact center and a traditional, on-premise data center is the cost of traditional infrastructure. Traditional infrastructure is extremely time-consuming and expensive to maintain, often requiring a team of trained-IT professionals to keep the contact center running. Traditional infrastructure also has massive upfront costs for hardware, license, and server housing onsite. Not only are the upfront costs expensive, but hardware upgrades are expensive as well. Upgrades are often required every few years for on-premise contact centers. Whether it is new equipment installations, software upgrades, or relocation, every upgrade becomes much more costly with traditional infrastructure compared to the cloud.
By implementing cloud contact center software, all of these processes and upgrades become much cheaper. Cloud call center solutions don’t require a dedicated IT team to maintain and upgrade. There is no hardware or data centers that need to be overhauled, protected, and maintained. Cloud contact centers are based in the data centers of a provider, which means any upgrades to hardware will be done by the provider. This means upgrades to your software don’t require your resources and time. All of these factors contribute to a more cost-effective contact center.
FUTURE-PROOFING ON THE CLOUD
By being cheaper to upgrade and more flexible to changes, cloud-based contact centers are able to adopt new technology quicker. While on-premise contact centers are often stuck on older software and take a very long time to adopt new channels, cloud-based contact centers can easily adopt new channels of communication as they arise. As a result, cloud-based contact centers are capable of easily adapting to the future, which is much harder for on-premise solutions.
This flexibility is key to making your customer experience modern and up-to-date. Customers are now using channels outside of voice call, like messaging and video calls, to interact with contact centers. With more channel options emerging at a quick pace, this flexibility can be the difference between providing the customer an excellent experience or losing them due to a mediocre experience.
MORE ADVANTAGES OF A CLOUD-BASED CONTACT CENTER
Aside from the main advantages of being cheaper and more flexible, there are other advantages of a cloud-based contact center that gives it an edge over traditional on-premise solutions.
- Scalability: Contact Center usage can be expanded or downsized to meet your needs without having to dedicate additional time or expense to update the hardware
- Reliability: An on-premise contact center will only be as good as the technology and hardware it implements. Cloud contacts have high quality calls when organizations have strong, reliable internet connection
- Global reach: Doing business internationally? You don’t need to negotiate with every country where you do business if you’re on a cloud platform. You can buy on-demand foreign phone numbers and deploy immediately in any country of your choice.
WHAT YOUR CLOUD CONTACT CENTER SOFTWARE SHOULD OFFER
Switching to cloud-based software can provide your contact center with modern features that will boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. The following features are a necessity among cloud-based contact center software, and should be in the software that your contact center uses.
Omnichannel refers to an integrated customer experience where customers are able to communicate with companies over a preferred channel and change between channels with ease. An omnichannel strategy ensures that no matter which channel consumers choose, the message or experience will be seamless. When applied to the world of contact centers, this means that a conversation with a customer that is happening over the phone can be transferred easily to SMS, video call, or any other channel of communication without the context of the conversation being lost. The customer data from previous interactions is stored in the software and available to the agent, so there is no need for customers to repeat themselves as they transfer across channels.
Without omnichannel, it is much harder to add new channels of communication for the customer and still provide a seamless customer experience. Coordinating between different departments that handle different channels on a non-omnichannel system will lead to a very disjointed customer experience. For this reason, all modern cloud contact centers should be omnichannel.
AI INTEGRATION — CONTACT CENTER AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very hot subject in tech today, and many companies are trying to find a way to incorporate AI into the customer experience. AI is currently being tailored to help contact center agents interact with customers and personalize the interaction. AI is being used to help filter simple questions through chatbots and assist agents through suggested text, chat, and voice responses. As AI becomes more advanced, there are additional ways they are being used to help agents. One area where AI is being developed is speech and text analysis. With text/speech analysis and sentiment analysis, AI provides contact centers tools that can further improve the customer’s experience. A combination of increased efficiency through automation and better quality customer service through AI analysis has set apart the contact centers that implement AI from those that don’t.
CONTACT CENTER QUALITY ASSURANCE
Contact center quality assurance is the ability to monitor every single interaction on every single channel to insure that the customer is having a great experience with your call center agents. The contact center is an important division within your company. When customers are contacting your company with issues or inquiries, the contact center is where they often make their first point of contact. A contact center leaves the first impression upon your customers, and can be the difference between a satisfied or unsatisfied customer.
Due to the importance of the contact center in the customer’s journey with your company, quality management is a must in the contact center. Quality management can be automated to help contact center supervisors ensure their agents are performing well and their customer interactions are exceptional. Many contact centers struggle to ensure quality in their voice channel, and the addition of new channels is only exacerbating the problem.
Quality management powered with AI can solve this problem. Through the use of sentiment analysis and data collection, AI-driven quality management allows managers and supervisors to monitor agent performance efficiently on a widespread scale.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT CLOUD CONTACT CENTER SOLUTIONS IN YOUR COMPANY
Cloud-based solutions are gradually becoming the norm as many call centers make the switch from on-premise traditional solutions. This switch is driven by the many advantages that a cloud-based contact center solution has over an on-premise solution. But the switch can be daunting, and involves overhauling existing systems which can fundamentally overhaul your contact center.
Bright Pattern can help you make the switch from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution! With Bright Pattern’s experienced support team and the simplicity of our product, you will be able to implement a cloud contact center in less than a week.