Given events of the last few weeks, many businesses have found themselves in the very uncomfortable position of having to ask their staff to work from home for the first time. Once the immediate impact of the Corona Virus is over and the smoke begins to clear from the economy it is safe to say that the already rapid move to the cloud will become an avalanche as businesses ensure they are never caught without the technology to allow people to work from home.

With that in mind, what are the Top Ten reasons for businesses to move their contact centres to the Cloud? Is it just the flexibility of home working or is there more to the story?

1. Virtual Contact Centre

So let’s start with the obvious. A cloud solution allows your agents to work from anywhere and still be part of a virtual team. Businesses that had already placed their contact centres in the cloud have been able to rapidly switch to home working

All of the monitoring and reporting functionality remains available that managers and team leaders used previously and Live Wallboards can be viewed to get real time views of agent and team performance.

With a cloud-based contact centre solution, allowing remote advisors is simple and efficient. As these applications are often provided as a service, advisors can simply connect to the platform using a standard internet connection, regardless of geographic location.

2. Disaster Recovery as standard

Put simply, moving to the cloud gives you inherent disaster recovery capability. With cloud solutions available across the globe and within multiple data centres, distributed deployment provides the ultimate in disaster recovery.

A real cloud solution should be built with microservices which are stateless, independently load-balanced and deployed in multiple data centres/regions. A failure in one microservice should have no impact on the others and be capable of scaling.

As long as you have internet connection and access to a PC or smart device the Cloud does not fall over and even if your office burns down your teams can keep working.

3. Brilliant for Recruitment

Opening up the barriers for remote advisors also offers the contact centre the opportunity to expand its hiring range in terms of location and makes it easier to “draft-in” advisors during unexpected rises in contact volumes.

One of the key challenges for contact centres is recruiting and retaining the best staff. This especially tends to be an issue for centres that are located close in geographical areas where there are multiple employers offering similar work. Having a virtual call centre means that you can recruit the best staff from anywhere in the country, reducing your recruitment and salary costs.

Home working also a massive attraction to many and we have seen this proving massively popular amongst millennial’s who truly understand the flexibility it provides and the ability it gives to achieve a proper work life balance.

4. Brilliant for Staff Retention

The reasons that make home working so attractive for recruitment are reflected in the reasons why it is so good for retaining staff. The the cloud enables contact centres to support homeworking, providing additional mobility that adapts to employees’ lifestyles

Bringing user-friendly technology into the contact centre improves an advisor’s experience and allows them to provide a personalised and fast service on any channel. It also improves visibility in the contact centre and enables advisors to make changes almost instantly and adapt to situations.

There are also gamification applications that are available in the cloud, which can be used to drive up employee engagement.

As well as this, there has been a huge uptake in providing advisors with cloud collaboration tools that allow them to collaborate with other members of the contact centre team, acting as a driver of productivity as well as improving retention.

5. Speed of implementation

With an on-premise solution, the installation and configuration can take up to several months to complete. In the cloud, however, implementations are much faster to deploy.

Cloud contact centre turn-ups are extremely fast; days compared to months in premises. With open APIs it gets easier for the contact centre to be integrated with other apps. For example, with an OMNI channel cloud-based implementation, the steps involved are much simpler, requiring only the creation of a new customer account, the loading of data and configuration of the system, which can all be done in a just a few days or weeks rather than months. The vast majority of the infrastructure already exists within the hosted environment vastly reducing the amount of work required to set up a solution,

Also, the cloud empowers you to instantly make changes to routing or IVR scripts without having to wait for IT. Onboarding and training advisors becomes much easier and faster with more intuitive cloud apps.

Today’s cloud contact centre apps have an intuitive and integrated desktop for your advisors. With prebuilt CRM integration, advisors get fingertip access to all customer information. It helps them focus on resolving issues faster rather than spending time looking for information across multiple cobbled-up applications in the premises world.

6. Converging Technologies

With so many methods of communication at consumers’ fingertips – be it voice, webchat, social media or email – businesses are now facing an explosion of disjointed inbound information

These various channels lead to disjointed service and a system that is difficult and clunky for staff to use, resulting in substandard customer service and a sub-par working experience.

Unifying fragmented communications channels and contact centre solutions into one cloud based platform means different parts of the business are no longer siloed. Instead, there’s a steady flow of customer information between departments, resulting in improved cross-collaboration and united staff.

Not only do staff benefit from having all customer information in one place, but customers benefit from dealing with advisors who can deliver outstanding service, every time.

7. Improving CX

The result of today’s Omnichannel climate is an enormous amount of data that companies can use to improve their business, advisor performance and customer experience.

The real power of the data lies in the predictive capabilities it provides. And many companies would like a solution that can help them tap into that data and analyse customer history and behaviour to deliver highly responsive, predictive, fully contextual and efficient service. This is the only way for brands to deliver the kind of hyper-personalised experience customers will increasingly demand.

Using the power of the Cloud and the simple open API’s, standalone systems can be made to communicate in real time. For the business this means that it’s advisors can see the customers full journey without laboriously having to switch between systems. For the customer this means that no matter the channel, the offering and the service will be the same. This adds massive value to the brand and helps to ensure the steady flow of new customers and the retention of existing custom.

8. Enhancing Scalability and Flexibility

With on-premise traditional deployment models companies have to scale up to support peak requirements.  This often leaves paid-for capacity lying idle during the rest of the year.

Simply put, the cost centre is static at the highest cost point whilst the profit varies throughout the year.  Cloud-based technology and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pricing models can change all of that.

The ability to add advisors across centralised or distributed locations can make the difference between success and failure to respond to customer demand.

An advantage of cloud-based technology is the ability to scale up or down without the need for capital investment or additional hardware or software.

The system is continuously kept up to date with new releases which are automatically applied, leading to fewer disruptions in terms of downtime, while internal IT teams work on upgrades.  This represents a way to reduce costs and avoid the dreaded “our systems are down today” conversation with customers.

9. Reduction on overheads

With many cloud-based contact centre solutions, there is no upfront investment for hardware or software. The solution can be offered through a monthly subscription user fee which usually includes training, support and maintenance as well as upgrades and new releases of features.

In terms of new features being released and cloud platform upgrades, rather than relying on the IT department to implement the upgrade, upgrades are available to all customers immediately.

All of this means that the vast majority of support is delivered via the solution provider freeing up the IT department to focus on other projects that will further enhance the business

We have already discussed the benefits to staff of home working, but one thing that is often missed is that if your call centre is virtual then you do not need to have a space to house it. For many businesses based in and around city centres, this removes a massive cost from the bottom line.

10. Achieving Better Budgeting

Making use of cloud solutions helps businesses to move their financial burden from CAPEX to OPEX.

OPEX budgeting is generally a more financially attractive option for businesses buying new software applications as it helps eliminate the need for significant capital expenditure.

The enhanced budgeting that this provides helps to facilitate better planning and staffing decisions, as well as freeing up in-house IT from contact centre operations.

It is an increasingly strong selling point of cloud contact centres that their OPEX model helps streamline cashflow for the business and provides instant relief from extensive capital expense budget requests.