Contact center operations have evolved tremendously over the past decade, and increasingly businesses are turning to cloud-based communications as an alternative to traditional telco providers to power their contact centers’ voice and messaging services.
The motivations for this migration to the cloud are manifold. With cloud communications, traditional office-based contact centers can take on new locations, grow and contract workforces as market needs demand it. Organizations are attracted by the agility and flexibility that cloud-based communication services can offer, as well as the ability to access the latest innovations without large upfront capital expenditures of on-premise software. Further, access to continued innovation allows organizations to be better aligned with changing customer expectations.
Indeed, a recent survey from IDC of more than 400 professionals in 27 countries found that nearly half of the respondents had deployed cloud contact center solutions, with an additional third implementing those solutions now.
“As more organizations deploy cloud solutions, the sector will undergo a worldwide revolution in the way consumers are able to interact with companies and how employees work,” said Mary Wardley, IDC vice president of CRM Applications.
Customer pain points that are driving businesses away from legacy telecom carriers include inadequate and impersonal customer support, limited scalability of the network to meet contact center-specific call volumes, inflexible vendors unable to adapt to changing market conditions, and high costs.
One example of a company that has benefitted from the use of cloud-based communications to power its contact center is Boston-based Foodler (now owned by GrubHub), a delivery service that facilitates the speedy and on-time delivery of food from partner restaurants to its customers.
As anyone that has ordered dinner after a stressful and hectic day can attest, food delivery is a time-sensitive business. When orders show up late, wrong, or not at all, hungry consumers move on to the next delivery service.
Foodler sought a SIP trunking solution for its call center that could keep remote support agents available to manage real-time order updates. Orders are managed through a distributed call center, with remote customer service representatives across the United States.
Reliability is extremely important to a business where every second counts. For a company like Foodler, phone lines can’t be down ever, especially during busy lunch and dinner rushes. Being available when customers need to make last minute changes is vital, and reliable phone service is the foundation of responsiveness.
For businesses with call and contact centers, the customer service experience is both a reflection of the brand and an opportunity to build relationships, so call quality needs to reflect that your business takes it seriously. Any direct interaction with customers is a chance to impress.
Another organization that benefitted from the scalability of cloud-based communication services is USA Contact Point, based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company provides customer service and other call center services for several financial services and credit monitoring companies and maintains a bank of hundreds of toll-free customer service phone numbers.
Unfortunately, the company’s legacy telco provider was unable to handle its high call volume requirements, resulting in customers getting a busy signal or having calls drop. USA Contact Point’s previous service provider could not offer the number of inbound channels that USA Contact point needed, creating a bottleneck, which made for angry customers and strained relationships.
After trialing a cloud-based solution, the organization ultimately ended up porting more than 400 toll-free numbers and consolidated its list of providers down to just one. Having the ability to manage numbers online made adding and routing numbers a fast and easy process.
Because the cloud-based service provider did not put a limit on the number of incoming channels they could receive, USA Contact Point saw a dramatic decrease in the number of consumers unable to get through to support.
For anyone managing calls with a distributed contact center, reliability and voice quality is vital. Below are some criteria to consider when evaluating cloud-based communications services for your contact center:
- Does the service provider offer intuitive, web-based access to cloud-based telephone services such as real-time call records, detailed cost accounting, granular control of phone numbers and routing, and deliver premium quality audio?
- How does the service provider deliver its calls? With direct media delivery, calls are able to traverse the network reducing jitter and latency, enhancing call quality and reliability.
- What is the porting and configuration process for new customer service lines? Adding new seats to your contact center shouldn’t impact line capacity. The right service provider should be able to activate new local or toll-free numbers instantly and seamlessly integrate voice services into your contact center platform.
- Does the service provider enable you to track call data? It’s important to be able to track which numbers are being called most, from where, and when, as well as collect and access workforce management data in real-time.
While it may not happen overnight, the transition to the cloud for many contact centers offers benefits such as an enhanced customer experience, lower costs, and greater scalability and flexibility of telecommunications services.