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Leveraging The Cloud To Make The Most Of Contact Centers

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With the old barriers of geographical distance no longer effecting enterprises thanks to cloud computing, businesses can operate on an increasingly global scale. As organizations continue to branch out and expand into more markets, the benefits of employing the cloud will only increase. In an interview with No Jitter, communications industry experts Sheila McGee-Smith and Max Ball shared insight into some of the best ways companies can leverage the cloud to operate their contact centers on a global level.

Allow Customers to Connect on their Channel of Choice

When operating a contact center, many organizations put all of their focus on making customer support available around the clock, but the ability to support users' preferred communication channels is just as critical.

"Customers don't want to talk to me just on the phone anymore," said Ball. "I've got chat. I've got email. A huge number of connections for help in the contact center originate from somebody surfing on the Web. So there's this challenge of what we like to call omnichannel. Can we actually manage the conversation with somebody, meet them on the channel that makes sense for them, and provide them with the information that they need?"

Ball said most customers view their interactions with a business as a single conversation, so companies need to provide a consistent set of answers through an integrated interface. A cloud-based solution allows organizations to keep the context intact across multiple conversations, providing a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.

Improve Call Quality by Utilizing Regional Telephone Connections

One of the best ways the cloud can help to improve contact center operations is by enabling organizations to handle calls regionally. This allows for a better customer experience by reducing latency and creating a more favorable impression of service among users. 

McGee-Smith noted since there will always be some level of latency when using a voice-over-IP connection, the goal is to make the lag time as short as possible. The International Telecommunication Union recommends having a delay of no more than 150ms for a one-way connection to maintain good voice quality.

When choosing a cloud provider to service a contact center, it's important for organizations to keep in mind where the provider's data centers are located in order to more accurately predict the level of latency they can expect and how it will impact call quality.

Increase Agilisty to Respond to Changing Customer Needs

With customer needs constantly evolving, smart enterprises know they have to be agile in order to adapt to market changes. Contact centers can improve their agility by adequately matching resources to needs, staying in control of their own systems, ensuring quick scalability and enabling agents in the field to be managed remotely. The cloud allows organizations to meet all of these challenges, offering enhanced management, scalability, resource delivery and collaboration.

Ensure the Customer Experience is Served

Many organizations utilize a variety of systems to manage different communication channels, making operations difficult and confusing for customers looking for continuity. Employing a single, integrated system offers users the best experience possible and makes things easier to manage on the backend.

"Some of this is obvious, but not implemented across the board," said McGee-Smith. "A single system for self-service, for Internet-based chat, and for voice. How many contact centers today still have one system for their voice contact center, perhaps using an outsourcer for their Internet-based chat, perhaps using a carrier or other kind of service provider to provide their self-service via IVR? A single system across all of those means there is one version of the truth."

Using a cloud-based platform to manage all of the various communication channels improves functionality for everyone involved. It also allows businesses to meet customer expectations when it is necessary to reach out into the organization and find the appropriate resource for the situation.