Cloud Contact Center Gains Ground Post COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to disrupt the activities of companies in all industries, of all sizes, and all around the world. Aberdeen surveyed 307 businesses in June to find out how COVID-19 has impacted their contact center activities. The study was global and had participation fromy firms across all industries and all sizes. The findings revealed that 56 percent of contact centers have observed a decrease in customer demand for their services, while 29 percent have observed an increase.

Responding to a decline in customer traffic requires different strategies than responding to an increase in traffic. However, firms in both categories share a common need: They need flexibility and agility to rapidly scale their activities to adapt to changing customer needs and traffic. Failure means frustrated clients, lost current and potential business, and the erosion of the company brand.

Findings also revealed how top performing contact centers are adapting their activities to become more flexible, agile, and resilient. Data showed that top-performing firms that enjoy superior customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and operational efficiency gains were 37 percent more likely to have moved or plan to move their contact center capabilities from on-premises to the cloud. In fact, cloud adoption was the second top differentiator deployed more widely by best-in-class contact centers, only trailing adding remote work capabilities, which was the top strategy deployed by the best in class.

In February, Aberdeen published its Cloud Contact Center Buyer's Guide, where findings revealed that cloud users enjoy 43 percent greater annual improvement in customer retention rates and 51 percent greater annual improvement (decrease) in service costs than their on-premises counterparts. That study also noted that not every cloud contact center is the same. Simply migrating your contact center to the cloud isn't enough to transform your performance over night. Firms must also incorporate the key building blocks used by savvy cloud users to maximize the return from investing in cloud technology.

The Cloud Contact Center Buyer's Guide provides a detailed overview of the key capabilities that cloud users enjoy and highlights capabilities that laggards (and firms migrating from on-premises to the cloud) should consider implementing. Among the capabilities suggested are the following:

  • Using existing account data available through a CRM system or in-house systems to personalize customer interactions;
  • Enabling contact center leaders with real-time access to agent and team performance results;
  • Seamless integration between cloud contact center platforms and CRM systems to truly tailor all conversations across all channels to be personalized and consistent;
  • Mapping customer journeys across all channels; and
  • Empowering contact center leaders to create tailored reports on activity results.

The report also details the technologies best-in-class cloud users are more likely to incorporate within their technology toolboxes. Those include (but are not limited to) unified agent desktop, desktop analytics, artificial intelligence, knowledge management, CRM, customer analytics, and virtual agents.

It's no surprise that cloud adoption in the contact center has increased by 97 percent between 2014 and 2020. With more firms seeking to boost their agility, flexibility, and resiliency, contact center leaders plan to continue increasing their adoption of cloud technology. However, when using or considering to use cloud technology, contact center leaders must also remember that the technology itself is only part of the solution to achieve their goals. They must couple their use of technology with the key building blocks to truly maximize returns from cloud technology.

Omer Minkara is a vice president and principal analyst for contact center and customer experience management at Aberdeen. Follow him on Twitter @omerminkara.