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Cloud, Mobility Essential For Contact Center

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Consumer-grade technology has had an incredible impact on the workplace. The same conveniences that people have embraced thanks to their smartphones and tablets have been filtering into offices for some time now. As a result, a serious redefinition of communications is occurring in enterprise - namely for those departments dealing in customer service.

Employees and consumers alike demand the technological assets that are going to make their lives easier. Businesses are beginning to realize that by integrating cloud-enabled call center software, they can improve productivity and, by extension, customer satisfaction. The inherent flexibility of these systems allows representatives to respond quickly and efficiently to queries posed by patrons, ultimately improving the relationship between the company and loyal supporters.

Contact center staffers have to have the kind of tools that will allow them to complete their tasks effectively and with comfort. By provisioning employees with cloud telephony and other unified communications advantages, companies can obtain a first-rate customer service department.

Smartphones Revolutionizing Help Desks

Touchscreen devices have helped to change how the world communicates. While these assets were technically only geared toward private use, their applications in enterprise have been limitless. According to SAP contributor Christine Hertzog, the "rise of the smartphone" as a primary communication platform has fundamentally altered the way that businesses operate.

"With over 1 billion smartphones in use continued adoption across all demographic, geographic and economic categories, it holds strategic value for utilities to build strong consumer and prosumers engagement," she wrote. "Smartphones have a ubiquity not seen with computers. Smartphones have certain attributes that will have to be factored into the technologies, processes and agent skill sets for utility contact centers."

Much of the engagement that Hertzog refers to comes from allowing workers more control over where they would like to work. Thanks to the app-based concept of smartphones, customer service reps can be free to conduct business from their home offices. For strong workers who happen to have demanding personal lives, this kind of freedom can be key to retaining top talent.

Unified Communications An Ideal Match For Call Center

The modern consumer is one that has a handle on many different channels of communication. Not only that, but they frequently leverage them in tandem from within the same device. As a result, contact center employees need to have the same kind of capabilities. For example, if the customer is speaking over the phone with a representative, then the rep should be able to use instant messages simultaneously to deliver links to helpful resources or possible solutions. 

This is the kind of functionality that is crucial to forward-thinking organizations. The relationships that are forged between customers and their favorite businesses are now more important than ever. If a loyal patron feels as though their queries are not being taken seriously, the Internet will be able to guide them to a competitor who might have the facilities for better assistance.

"The traditional ... contact center will go away," wrote Hertzog. "If you value your consumers, you don't want to push them away into IVR jail to identify themselves, pick a multiple choice reason of why they are calling (which they might not know), or force them to interact with agents who lack the specific skills to handle their requests. Building highly personalized relationships starts by recognizing that ... consumers will have choices, and that decision points come down to the quality of services delivered through preferred communication channels.  It will be important to have the right technologies in place to support services delivery that is consistently engaging, informative and convenient."

Proper Customer Relationship Management Software Critical

Data has always played a major role in the contact center. Within the last few years, however, there has been a surge in the amount of information that can be collected and utilized for business purposes. According to CMSWire contributor Robert DeFrancesco, there needs to be a strong connection established between customer relationship management tools in the cloud and help desk employees.

The data that is available through CRM solutions can help to do things like route calls to the best possible representative for any particular query, or one that has worked with a specific customer before. This is the sort of thing that can make a patron feel as though the business has their best interest in mind.

Contact Centers Cannot Wait Around

The move toward cloud capabilities is, by DeFrancesco's account, not frequently made in an enterprise-wide fashion.

"With many large organizations using different legacy call center solutions across various divisions, the transition to the cloud is often a decentralized decision made by each department, with the enterprise-wide move taking place over an extended period of time," he wrote. 

Contact center decision-makers need to keep this in mind when preparing to transition. Often, the rest of the company might need different assets than the ones required for customer service. This is why contact center cloud communications deployments need to be deliberate rather than the after-effect of a larger initiative.