There was a time when call centers thought it best to keep all of their employees and equipment under one roof, when hierarchical thinking demanded on-premises systems as the only real option. Then the digital era exploded onto the scene.
Modern contact centers are now faced with a choice between a move to the cloud or staying on premises. And on the minds of contact center decision-makers are questions like: Will moving to the cloud benefit brand experience or hinder it? Will the transition be seamless or obtrusive?
New choices and considerations can bog down a decision. In examining the shift from an on-premises to a cloud-based contact center solution, it's important to understand what the cloud can do. The following are four reasons the cloud might make sense.
Long-Term Cost Savings
A shift from on-premises to cloud systems does take an initial investment. And new technology and deployment often have a small learning curve in the short term. However, the long-term savings are substantial. Obviously, there are reductions from not having to purchase and maintain equipment. Less obvious are the savings resulting from improved productivity, greater access to data, and a simplified system that can be scaled rapidly.
One thing to think about is whether you anticipate scaling up your contact center software. Remember, it's the digital age. If you want to stay competitive, that answer has to be yes. For example, will you want to add additional digital channels down the line? Then you'll need an update.
Scaling up on-premises systems costs time and money, which can add up exponentially. Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, nearly eliminate this hassle, whether you need to add agents to cover a busy season or a new digital channel that requires changing your routing strategy.
Service and Security Stability
Service quality and security breaches are often big concerns when it comes to making the shift to the cloud. Yet, there is substantial evidence that cloud-based systems offer greater stability and less downtime. Additionally, VoIP technology has improved significantly in recently years, removing the concern of sound-quality issues on voice channels.
With security breaches frequently happening at the contact center level, security is an important consideration. Fraudsters are finding new vulnerabilities and obtaining data that they can use to access customer accounts. But when your contact center is on premises, this responsibility falls on your shoulders. And very few companies have the resources to successfully manage this in house.
This is why cloud-based contact center providers make security a top priority, offering the latest fraud detection and prevention services.
Easy System Integration
Contact center agents are often using five or more solutions for a single customer interaction. To reduce call resolution times and increase agent productivity, you'll want to integrate all those solutions into a single desktop. A cloud-based system provides the platform to integrate CRM and all other front- and back-office solutions that are being used by your contact center team.
Increased Job Satisfaction
Along with simplifying the agent desktop, a cloud-based system offers many advantages to the entire team. Real-time and contextual data generated helps provide insights that are beneficial for training, scheduling, and performance reviews. Intelligent routing can also help balance call loads and provide agents with greater job satisfaction.
When deciding whether or not to move to the cloud, it's important to work with a solutions provider that takes the time to understand your needs and concerns. Carefully add up potential costs, savings, and the time involved for deployment. Consider what your immediate needs are, as well as where you want to be in five years.
Also remember that the olden days of call centers are coming to a close. With the addition of digital channels and omnichannel customer engagement, a cloud-based contact center is becoming a necessity for businesses that want to meet their customers' needs today and most certainly tomorrow.
Jaime Bailey is vice president of marketing at Virtual Hold Technology.