What determines a low-friction customer experience? In the past, it was pretty straight forward. Call in, get a nice agent on the line, get your problem fixed promptly — and you’re set. Nowadays, things are a bit more complicated. As modern customers, we want customer service to be available all the time, and on any channel. We want every company to keep track of the full history of our problems that pop up. We want them to know us personally, remember our preferences, and fix our issues with a snap of their fingers.
But it’s impossible to meet these kinds of expectations using traditional contact center technology. To keep up with your customers and with your competition, you need to digitally transform your contact center. The first step? Move your contact center to the cloud.
Although 70% of organizations use a cloud or SaaS solution in some part of their business, only 36% of contact centers have any kind of cloud technology. That’s a small percentage for one of the most essential customer-facing departments in your business. Cloud technology enables you to deliver better quality customer service and empower your team to excel.
There are enormous proven benefits when you move daily operations in your contact center to the cloud. Customization, scalability, and reduced costs are some of the benefits to this digital transformation. To win out in the competitive world of customer experience, you need a modern platform that enables customization, scales with your business, and empowers continuous improvements to your team and your customer experience.
Let’s consider some of the reasons to move your contact center to the cloud.
The Top Five Reasons it’s Time to Move to the Cloud
1. Scalability and Flexibility
The cloud makes it possible to easily grow your team or scale it back to meet your business needs, without worrying about infrastructure.
And you can unite your agents who work from home, or in different cities, all in one platform. Cloud contact center software lets agents easily connect through their soft internet phone or answer customer phone calls directly from their cell phone. Agents can log into their account, plug in a headset, and answer calls, emails, or chats from anywhere.
Similarly, managers can log in from any internet-connected spot to check the activity of their agents in real-time. Cloud contact centers allow you to add and configure new call routes on-the-go, too. Add plugins or work with your partner vendor to spin up integrations that make the platform fit your business needs. With a flexible cloud system, you can start with as few as 25 agents and scale up to thousands of agents on the same platform.
ICMI reported on the story of California-based TechStyle Fashion Group, the fast-growing organization behind brands Fabletics, JustFab, Shoedazzle and Fabkids. The company migrated to the cloud and broke down the walls between their teams. Now, they have one central, open cloud platform that allows all of their agents to support multiple global brands at once. More than 1,000 agents across five different centers, who speak eight different languages, were brought together through cloud technology. The ability to scale and connect global locations eliminated silos and let everyone work together, supporting the same purpose.
To shift with the needs of modern customers and competitors, you need the flexibility to reshape your customer journey in a pinch. And you need the ability to scale and connect your contact center agents, wherever they are.
“The ability to make your own changes is such a big part of the modern cloud environment. And it’s really something that isn’t possible with single-tenant cloud solutions.” – Sheila McGee-Smith, President and Principal Analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics
2. Real Omnichannel Service
Omnichannel service and a unified customer experience is an industry mainstay for contact centers. Customers want to reach out via email, social media, text, and even in-app chats to resolve their problems from their smartphone. And it’s important for your entire customer journey to be seamless. But a seamless, omnichannel solution doesn’t exist with your legacy tech.
When you have a cloud contact center, it’s easier to unify all of your channels, regardless of location. Whether you’re in the office or not, a cloud, omnichannel contact center platform allows you to handle requests and inquiries from customers on any channel. And, your vendor can add new channels for you when you need to meet your customers where they are. You don’t need to wait for your vendor to push a platform update to its entire customer base when you need access to a new channel. You can work with your partner vendor to quickly add channels to your agents’ queues, without time-consuming delays and maintenance from your IT team.
And, when agents have a single web browser to open or app to connect to (like ours), they’ll be faster and more productive when handling customer communications. One, integrated system is simpler to manage and houses all your customer data in one spot— for quick access for you and your agents.
Check out Sharpen’s omnichannel solution for an example!
3. Improved Performance
With some 70% of businesses using a cloud system, moving your contact center to the cloud lets you integrate to more of your company’s systems, housing powerful data in one place. Connecting your cloud CRM to your on-premises contact center platform doesn’t give you the intelligent information sharing you need. With better connections between your systems, you can get advanced analytics and reporting tools to track all the interactions between agents and customers in your contact center. Across all channels and customer contacts, you can evaluate all kinds of KPIs.
And, cloud software supports automation and modern service technologies. Maybe you want to keep a watch on your operational KPIs – call abandonment, wait times, service levels. Or, you’re interested in business KPIs — conversions, customer retention, customer satisfaction. You can set rules to monitor all of these KPIs and use bots and automated tools to gather information for you. Then you can apply that data to make your team stronger performers.
Software built on a server won’t let you automate certain simple tasks or create a new route for a bot to follow to get information for your agents. Because of the intense and infrequent updates these platforms require, you can’t use some of the newest tech that helps you better serve your customers, like quickly pushing coaching lessons or modules to your agents’ queues or sending a bot to snag data for an agent. Cloud contact centers provide you and your agents the visibility, control, and necessary automation needed to optimize business performance across channels and agents.
4. Data Security
The power of data and data mining has become a primary focus for customers in the past several years. Until a few years ago, no one thought about the data they were providing to companies through their purchasing habits or social media use. Many people didn’t hesitate to answer a phone number they didn’t recognize or tell a customer service rep their personal info.
Your customers need to know they can trust your company to protect their sensitive data, and keep it well organized. Cloud solutions provide multi-layer protection systems by encrypting stored details. And, with the right risk assessments and steps in place, they’re equally as secure as on-premises solutions.
In fact, they’re arguably more secure. On-premises environment users experience an average of 61.4 cyberattacks, while service provider environment customers averaged only 27.8. David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer, with Deloitte Consulting found those who build cloud-based platforms for enterprises typically focus more on security and governance than those who build systems that will exist inside firewalls. And, with today’s fast-changing security and compliance landscape, it’s hard for on-premises vendors to push updates quick enough to keep pace.
Plus, cloud software offers up protection for a safe recovery of information in moments of disaster. Traditional call center hardware is vulnerable in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, like a server room flooding (been there, seen that), leading to lost revenue and frustrated customers.
The cloud makes your contact center a safer space for your customers.
5. More Reliability at a Lower Cost
With a cloud contact center, you won’t have to worry about inefficient equipment. And you won’t have to bug IT after hours to work with your vendor on issues that pop up. You reduce the people costs of maintaining and updating your hosted solutions. Plus, you add in the opportunity cost of a better CX and get even more bang for your buck. All you need is a working web browser, and wallah, you’re set to deliver fast, quality customer service.
If your contact center software stalls, operating in the cloud gives you redundancy to route to other data centers. Cloud contact centers can sync to back-up providers to keep your operations flowing. And, your partner vendor handles it all for you. You won’t suddenly need all hands on deck from your IT team. You can continue to accept and queue calls to other locations or home agents. Geography doesn’t have to affect your ability to care well for your customers. And you won’t need a safety-net budget to pull from if things go wrong. When your contact center is in the cloud, your team can be more agile and more reliable. You’re able to adapt, travel, work from home, and your customer’s experience doesn’t have to suffer.
Go above and beyond in the cloud to go above and beyond for your customers
Taking your service to a cloud platform grants you the tools to care for your team and your customers better. Your service will be more efficient, more organized, and save everyone time and energy in the process.
Digital transformation in your contact center will dramatically change your capacity to offer a competitive and amazing customer experience. Need a suggestion for a great platform? Check out Sharpen’s cloud contact center that helps you to empower your agents as much as it assists you to care for your customers.