Contact centre cloud migration is no longer a question of ‘why?’ but rather ‘when?’, ‘how?’ and ‘with whom?’
Cloud transformation and digitisation are powerful trends that are influencing the business strategies of companies in every business sector.
Characterised by a change in consumer preferences around engagement, fuelled largely by the proliferation of smart mobile devices, communication channel fragmentation, and always-on availability, organisations are under pressure to innovate and reinvent the way they conduct business to remain relevant in the digital economy.
As a business’s primary and often first-line customer touchpoint, the contact centre sits at the nexus of these shifting market dynamics. The digital transformation of the legacy contact centre has therefore become a strategic imperative.
An omnichannel world
Consumers today demand superior customer experiences (CX) when interacting with brands using their preferred communication medium, be it voice or video chat, or digital channels such as email, SMS, instant messaging, or social media. The ability to switch seamlessly between mediums while on the move has also become mandatory, but without the loss of context, relevance or engagement history.
While most contact centres already support multiple channels, they typically manage these in silos. With multiple point solutions deployed, it can be difficult to deliver consistent CX across channels, which can result in fragmented experiences, missed opportunities and reduced operational efficiency. The convergence of these factors have effectively made the legacy contact centre model obsolete.
This eBook on Cloud Transformation for Contact Centres explains further.
A new consumer paradigm
For organisations to succeed and thrive in the new digital economy they need the agility to adapt to this new consumer engagement paradigm. However, these capabilities can only be realised through a CX-driven contact centre environment that boasts effective and efficient omnichannel communication capabilities.
Established businesses with legacy systems must therefore find ways to integrate these new digital technologies. However, the thought of building out these systems and integrating communication channels and applications can seem like a daunting, if not overwhelming task for chief technology officers (CTO) and contact centre managers. It can also become an extremely expensive exercise as managing on-premise systems and keeping pace with upgrades and advances in technology is notoriously capital intensive.
Also, if contact centres want to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving digital economy, massive, multi-year in-house system implementations are no longer a viable option. Contact centres today need to rapidly transform their systems and operations to improve their processes and craft an entirely different approach.
Looking to cloud transformation
At the heart of this evolution lies a digital and cloud transformation strategy. By migrating into the hosted environment, contact centres immediately create a more agile operation that can respond and adapt to these shifting market trends, with the ability to sweat the investments made into legacy technology to maximise return on investment (ROI).
That’s because migrating to the cloud doesn’t require a rip-and-replace approach. A hybrid model offers a blend of options, where elements of on-premise systems remain, while a partial cloud deployment, or blend of private and public cloud is implemented to begin the migration.
With this approach, contact centres can adopt elements of best-of-breed cloud-based contact centre solutions that enable omnichannel customer engagement. They can also begin to access important functionality and capabilities by integrating with other mission-critical tools in the cloud, such as CRM applications and analytics engines to deliver an immediate competitive advantage.
The resultant functionality allows agents to seamlessly interact across multiple channels, while easily accessing relevant and granular insights, analytics, or account data in real time to gain a 360-degree view of the customer. This improves agent efficiency and creates opportunities to better understand customer preferences and deliver a more responsive service and a personalised CX.
The integration of established systems with analytics engines can also enhance reporting and deliver insights that can support strategic planning to positively impact on service delivery. Predictive analytics, for instance, offer real-time data to automatically balance loads across agents to meet shifts in demand, or can integrate with workforce management applications to enable contact centre management to improve operational efficiency by tracking historical patterns to forecast volumes.
These insights and capabilities help to shift the modernised contact centre from a reactive to a more proactive and predictive operation that delivers contextually-relevant responses. This can enhance engagement, improve CX and potentially boost sales to positively impact on the bottom line.
Find out what the 8 Business Drivers are for Contact Centre Cloud Transformation with this eBook.
Of additional financial benefit is the fact that migrating to the cloud effectively shifts contact centre and communication infrastructure from a capital expense to an opex model. By doing so, all systems upgrades, maintenance, and support requirements are converted to a predictable monthly expense. This frees up budget to allocate to other areas of the business that can deliver greater returns.
Virtual contact centres
Once in the cloud, a host of other options also become available to the contact centre manager and IT team, which helps to further boost productivity, or future-proof the business. For instance, cloud-based systems lay the foundation for virtual contact centres, which enables the decentralisation of operations across disparate geographical locations.
This can be done to leverage distributed workforces to ensure 24-hour service delivery, streamline customer service routing, or accommodate the growing demand from employees for flexible mobile, remote or work-from-home working arrangements.
Similarly, virtualised resources can scale on demand to meet peak day-time spikes or accommodate seasonal fluctuations in call volumes by adding agents while keeping overheads low. Cloud deployments can also effectively support the regional, national or international growth needs of an organisation, allowing it to rapidly scale should the company identify new business opportunities.
Cloud-based contact centre solutions also increase business agility by freeing employees such as IT staff to focus on higher-value tasks, rather than managing in-house systems. This creates opportunities to assign scarce resources to strategic initiatives that can deliver greater value to the business.
New and emerging innovations
A shift to the cloud also offers the ability to integrate new and emerging innovations and intelligent technologies that enable greater workforce collaboration and enhances productivity, such as automatic call distribution (ACD), interaction routing, IP telephony and unified communications, interactive voice response (IVR), prioritised callbacks and predictive auto diallers.
With these capabilities, responses to frequently asked questions can be automated or callers routed to self-service digital channels. This frees agents to focus on more productive areas of the business, or allows them to engage with customers on pertinent issues that require a human touch, helping to develop meaningful relationships that entrench customer loyalty.
Cloud-provisioned contact centre solutions are also positioned to easily adopt, deploy and benefit from advanced technologies like AI-enabled chat bots, virtual assistants, telepresence, augmented reality (AR) and IoT technologies that can increase the scope for self-service and automation. Machine learning algorithms will also improve the sophistication of AI-enabled digital customer engagements by enabling this technology to ‘learn’ from each interaction and better predict customer behaviour to further enhance CX.
Ultimately, cloud-based contact centre solutions put customers at the heart of the business and transforms the contact centre into a brand’s CX hub – the point where advanced cloud-based technology and well-trained staff intersect to deliver superior service and memorable experiences that delight.
However, the key to unlocking this value rests in the ability of the implementation partner and managed services provider selected to drive the contact centre’s cloud transformation strategy. As such, CTOs and contact centre managers need to evaluate a provider based on their proven track record, their ability to provide a complete and complementary suite of cloud-based applications, and their ability to offer a range of cloud deployment options that can phase in the migration at a pace and scale that best meets the specific requirements of the business.