Cloud-based software has become hugely popular in recent years, and for good reason. SaaS (Software as a Service) takes away a number of in-house IT headaches, leaving many technology-related challenges in the specialist hands of a third-party vendor. That frees up businesses to get on with their core activities.
That’s true for companies in many sectors, but particularly so for contact centres. Here, cloud-based software can make a significant difference to efficiency, productivity and ultimately the bottom line.
In the rest of this blog, we’ll explain what the benefits are, and how contact centres can take full advantage.
What is a cloud contact centre? Very simply, it’s contact centre software housed in the cloud. The ability to make and take calls, along with other communications channels and a wealth of complementary features, are delivered as a software service that is run by a third party vendor. Contact centres access the service through an internet connection.
Before cloud-based software, everyone housed their own contact centre solutions in-house within data centres. They owned and managed the hardware and the software. Some businesses still operate in this way, though the trend is heavily towards cloud. Here are some of the differences:
|Software housed on-premise||Software housed in the cloud|
|Hardware and software is owned||Hardware and software is leased|
|Company secures, maintains and upgrades solution||Vendor secures, maintains and upgrades solution|
|Solution is purchased with CapEx||Solution is purchased with OpEx|
|Scaling is complex, requiring new purchases||Scaling is simple – just add seats to the licence|
|New features are rare, upgrades difficult to administer||New features are common, updates pushed live regularly|
- 1. Scalability: cloud makes it simple to scale up or down. You don’t own the solution, so you just add or remove seats from your licence. It can be done in a couple of mouse clicks, it’s that easy.
- 2. Flexibility: in-house solutions can expand to include remote or travelling workers, but it’s tricky. By contrast, a cloud solution is available anywhere, anytime, wherever you have an internet connection. It’s made for hybrid work and a new world of flexible working.
- 3. Enhanced customer experience: cloud seamlessly brings together a multi-channel experience, combining inbound and outbound calls, text, chat, email and more into a complete customer communications solution. At the same time, powerful analytics let you continually refine customer journeys. It all adds up to a more satisfactory customer experience.
- 4. Increased collaboration: with the right implementation, cloud contact centre software can seamlessly integrate with other systems and processes, sharing data and improving information flows across your organisation. That opens up silos, increases collaboration and leads to better, data-driven decision making.
- 5. Seamless integrations: cloud-based solutions make it easier to integrate with other systems due to their API-driven architecture and pre-built integrations, allowing you to link up all of your platforms for a seamless experience.
- 6. Better data management: cloud software automatically collects and saves data. Good systems then put powerful analytics tools to work on it, sifting it for valuable insight in the form of customer trends or agent behaviour.
- 7. Cost savings: on top of it all, cloud can save you money. You lease the service rather than owning it, replacing a variable CapEx cost with a predictable OpEx one. You can also say goodbye to maintenance contracts and emergency engineer call out fees. At the same time, you free up in-house IT for more creative tasks. New features are often provided as part of the contract.
What do you need to consider before switching from an on-premise to a cloud-based contact centre solution?
Choosing the right provider
Not all contact centre solution providers are the same. There are significant differences in the quality of their products – particularly dialler algorithms and data analytics – and the variety of features they offer. Check certifications (especially in regard to security and data privacy), ask who else they work with and request to see the solution in action. Talk to a variety of people – do they understand the needs of contact centres?
Migrating to a cloud contact centre
You need to put a migration strategy in place, to make sure day-to-day operations are not affected by the transition to a new system. Liaise with your vendor and get firm commitments on essential questions: when the switch will happen, how long it will take and what support they offer. Prepare staff well in advance.
Training and support
Talking of staff, make sure agents are fully up to speed with the new system before you let them loose in the wild. Your vendor should offer comprehensive training and support as part of the service. If not, consider another vendor.
Integrating with other technology
One of the main advantages of cloud-based solutions is that they can easily integrate with your other systems and technologies and turn your contact centre into an information powerhouse. For example, when your contact centre, payments and CRM solutions work together, agents go into calls equipped with a complete summary of customer activity at their fingertips. So always ask: will your new solution work with your established systems? Ask the vendor. Some, like MaxContact, will create new APIs (the tech that lets digital systems speak to each other) if an existing one is not available. In fact, we add new integrations all the time.
It really is the era of cloud, and that’s as true in the contact centre as it is in any other area of business. Cloud offers huge advantages in terms of scalability, flexibility, customer experience, collaboration and even cost. It brings new efficiencies and better ways of working. It should be the future of your contact centre.
Ready to harness the power of a cloud contact centre solution for your contact centre? Book a demo today.