Modern Demands Require Cloud Contact Centers
The tech sphere - both on the consumer and enterprise ends of the equation - is in a state of evolution. Now that more platforms and assets are available to businesses and customers alike, the relationships that companies have traditionally had with their clientele is changing rapidly. As a result, some organizations may feel as though they are being passed by - especially in terms of direct customer service.
But what is increasingly being realized is that cloud technology - now more easily obtainable than ever - can answer these concerns by delivering a flexible infrastructure on which to resolve queries. As companies grow, they gain more customers. These clients all have their own individual issues and channels of preference that they wish to use when reaching out to an organization. The only way to effectively provide all of these platforms to both representatives and consumers is to make them available in the cloud.
Cloud communications are, with the right planning, easy to implement and operate. Present-day businesses that have not yet examined its benefits need to explore how the cloud can meet the specific needs of their help desk employees and customers alike.
Cloud Contact Centers Are Affordable, Simple
While the idea of a total network overhaul might sound daunting, the digital nature of the cloud makes transitioning from legacy landlines relatively easy. Because the infrastructure exists in cyberspace, hard-wired endpoints are no longer an essential consideration to make. While there are some workers who no doubt will crave a desktop phone, IP-geared units can be made available on a case-by-case basis if desired.
"Put simply, cloud-based contact center systems never require a forklift-overhaul strategy," wrote Channel Partners Online contributor Geoff Mina. "The nature of the cloud-based contact center system is to be flexible - allowing for easy adaptations as regulations and compliance rules change. This decreases spend greatly - no more starting over from square one, no more complex integrations, no more custom coding and dealing with clumsy add-on features. With cloud, costs are better managed and can even be forecasted upfront."
Hardware used to be a much greater issue for business telecom. Specific features had to be manually built into existing systems. But with unified communications software, resources like call forwarding and hold music can be turned on and off at whim with the click of a mouse or a call to the service provider itself. As more channels become required in the contact center, this ease-of-use will be critical.
Cloud Brings Channels Together
It is not enough to just allow customer services staffers to use multiple channels and devices - the way in which they are leveraged has to have a cohesive feel to it. Otherwise, there is a substantial risk of productivity decreasing due to constant switching of interfaces and machines. As social media becomes a popular platform through which to voice concerns, this is especially important to keep in mind.
According to InformationWeek, recent research conducted by Ovum and Coleman Parkes found that 50 percent of customers turn first to social media with their questions and comments. For this reason, access to the information and services provided by sites such as Facebook and Twitter can mean the difference between satisfaction and hurtful hashtags.
"Subscribers are increasingly reaching out to their service provider across social media for customer care but due to lack of customer insights service providers are only able to provide generic responses, leaving the customer feeling more frustrated," said Ovum analyst Shagun Bali. "However, if service providers link their customer's social identity to the customer profile already stored in their CRM systems they can gain contextual knowledge of the customer, and as a result deliver a consistent response while improving customer satisfaction and cutting costs by increasing first call resolution (FCR)."
Paying Closer Attention
It should go without saying that businesses - be they providers of services, products or both - rely on customers to continue operating. This is why companies should be interested in enabling their help services employees with the right kind of tools to maximize positive consumer experiences and relationships. Much of this comes from the kind of analytics tools that can only be efficiently optimized in a cloud setting.
According to ICMI contributor Tom Goodmanson, successful organizations "do their homework," in the sense that they distribute surveys and attempt to gain a better understanding of their target demographics. But it takes more than just a questionnaire to really get to the heart of business patrons.
"What your customers tell you in their own words, on their terms, in the conversations they have with your company through the contact center all day long," Goodmanson wrote. "Huge value is hidden within those conversations. But how do you get to the treasure hidden in the troves of customer intelligence? The challenge is, once you collect all of this unstructured data from the multiple channels, it becomes a Big Data issue. And that's where analytics programs - for speech, text, desktop - come into play. Modern analytics solutions hold the key to uncovering business opportunities and harnessing the data in your customer interactions to improve business results."
Without the cloud handling telecom and analytics workloads, contact centers cannot operate at their highest potential. Companies will need the kind of support offered by cloud communications in order to retain relevance on the modern enterprise landscape. Plenty of organizations have already succeeded with deployments of this nature, and those who do not feel it to be important risk falling behind.