Featured Image for the blog: Out with the Old, in with the New: Leave Behind your Old Technology and Set New Standards with your Cloud Contact Center

Customer service teams catch a lot of flack. I mean just think of what comes to mind when you think of traditional call centers. Long wait times, many call transfers, agents who have no authority to actually fix your problem. These stereotypes are getting tiresome. But they’re rooted in reality.

So, why do we attribute these negative perceptions to contact centers?

Often, the unflattering stereotypes aren’t your fault. They’re your technology’s fault. Whether you’re growing your company, or trying to perform better, your old legacy technology sure won’t be any help. Customers have ever-increasing expectations. They’re demanding better experiences. You have to put in the work to create a loyal customer base. It’s worth it, though.

If companies can increase customer retention rates by 5%, profits increase anywhere from 25% to 95%. That’s not a huge increase in retention, with a huge return. But winning over a customer today doesn’t mean they’ll stick with you for life.

You need strong, frontline customer service.

I’m not here to convince you that good customer service is important. You already know that.

But, I may be here to convince you it’s about time for a makeover.

It’s time to face the facts. Your outdated contact center technology hinders you from supporting both your team and your customers well.

The problem with your legacy tech

Are you getting too comfy with your old tech? Sure, your legacy onsite technology may check the necessary boxes. Maybe it has great IVR or allows you more control on the IT side. But, is it the best you can do for your team and customers?

The thought of an outage keeps your IT team up at night. If you have siloed applications patched together, there’s greater potential for an outage. The more vendors you have, the more chances for downtime. Plus, your outdated infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades. And if you want customization, your IT team has to put in more work to integrate your channels and applications.

For your agents, legacy tech is slow and clunky to use. What if your agents have to learn five to eight different applications for every interaction with your customers? Each application has a different interface, different processes, and more. And, since the technology is on-premises, your agents have to be in office just to do their job.

They can’t open up a web browser at home or a mobile app on the go and still help customers. Throw schedule flexibility out the window. And watch as time per interaction remains high while agents seek out data from unconnected platforms.

Not only do your agents suffer, but customers stay on hold longer, or never get an answer.

Let’s say you have a loyal customer who sends an email but never gets a response. Then, they go through an IVR maze, punching numbers in until they finally reach an agent. The agent can’t find their email, and the customer’s profile is a few years out of date. There’s no relevant info for your agent to use during the interaction.

Do you think your customer is leaving satisfied? Probably not. That loyal customer may not be so loyal if this happens again. In fact, after one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again.

Older technology keeps your team from meeting modern customer expectations. It keeps your customers from a seamless experience, breaking up their customer journey. Legacy tech limits your agents’ flexibility. And, it stresses them out. They have to get familiar with multiple systems all while dealing with the backlash from customers irritated by your inconsistencies. As a company, you’re at risk of outages, more time and money are poured into IT upgrades, and don’t even think about scaling quickly.

How on earth do you amend this? The answer? Move your contact center to the cloud.

Why cloud contact centers are the way to go

Basing your contact center in the cloud ultimately gives your team more options to excel. It provides you the tools to reach your customers in a more personal way, providing them a smoother, better experience. Let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s time to set a new standard of customer experience in the cloud:

Omnichannel options change the game

Let’s start with some stats from a survey conducted through Harris Interactive:

  1. A quarter of U.S. adults do not feel loyalty toward any type of brand. And 56% indicated that they would be at least somewhat likely to switch brands based on new customer service options.
  2. 68% of respondents said companies without other options than a 1-800 number seem outdated.
  3. 86% of U.S. adults expect brands to offer multiple options and flexible timing to interact with customer service.
  4. 70% of adults say that mobile apps are important for companies to offer.

Contact centers today bear the burden of maintaining customer loyalty. They have to provide impeccable service at all times, through all channels. Without skipping a beat. This feels like an impossible task if you have legacy technology because, well… it kind of is. So, the options of available customer service drive the opinions and satisfaction of customers today. With that in mind, omnichannel solution is the only way to stay on target.

Have you ever waited for ages in a phone queue? Then, when you finally get through, the agent tells you to call a different number or submit your request via email? There’s nothing more frustrating. An omnichannel contact center built in the cloud lets you integrate all your channels without increasing your customers’ effort.

Agents can use a single platform or workstation and move effortlessly with one customer through different channels. They can jump from live chat to phone. Or, answer an email while monitoring Twitter.

By empowering agents with more efficient tools and leading customers through a seamless interaction, you win two games at the same time.

More flexibility and access any time, anywhere

When you move your contact center to the cloud, you enter a new realm of opportunity. No longer is it essential for you to keep your entire team in the office just to answer emails and take calls. Employees can hop on a laptop or their phones anywhere, log in, and help a customer right where they are. Cloud contact centers let your team expand. They open the door for remote work. Or even just allow days of schedule flexibility for your team so they can refresh and work in a new environment.

When you have access from any location, customers can be helped for more hours. Better access to your contact center both expands your operations and keeps costs lower. It allows you to have agents in various time zones, reaching customers in areas far from where your headquarters lie.

Now, constant access can be abused and seriously harm the work-life balance of your team. But when you add digital tools to your contact center, you can create natural boundaries for your agents. Use chatbots to automate easy tasks after hours. Leave your agents to take on the hard stuff from their home or a coffee shop the next morning.

The cloud enables you to be more creative with your workspace. It helps you to serve your customers more frequently while catering to the schedules and needs of your employees. This kind of flexibility can combat the excuses of absenteeism and aid your team retention rates.

Greater attention to security and personalization

The cloud helps you escape the bad press associated with downtime, outages, or loss of information. Kiss it goodbye. In fact, the security features cloud service providers offer often reduce the risk of IT systems falling victim to cyber-attacks or viruses. Cloud-based software doesn’t need to go through major system upgrades every few months. And with the variety of choice in cloud-based tools out there, you can customize just how you want to serve your customer base.

Cloud providers are under the most pressure to stay on top of any security threats, consistently deploying better builds when it doesn’t halt your service. Plus, with client data in the cloud, you have data redundancy and information back-ups at your fingertips.

Not to mention that this security in data in the cloud lets you use data responsibly to create a more personal experience for customers.

Today’s buyers want organizations to treat them as unique individuals, and know their personal preferences, and purchase history.

According to Accenture, 75% of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by their name, knows their purchase history, and recommends products based on their past purchases.

Cloud software helps you to collect data and analyze it effectively through a variety of analytics and reporting tools so you can provide a unique experience for each customer.

Better agents and happier customers

Some cloud-based platforms also grant you better access to agent performance information. Set the KPIs you want to track, and your software will collect the data you want to see day-to-day. Guide your team to more productivity by using data to support better training, seminars, and feedback. Some platforms even have built-in feedback and coaching tools so you can give real-time coaching for your agents as they work.

All of these things contribute to higher rates of employee engagement. And, when your agents are more engaged with their work, their performance is better. Which means customers have a better overall customer experience. Cloud contact centers provide the tools for you to support your team efficiently. They empower your employees to tackle bigger problems for your customers and learn more from each interaction. When you invest in the right digital tools, your team and your customers are better for it. Set new standards when you leave behind outdated tech and step into the cloud.

Need some practical next steps to update your contact center technology? Check out this recent blog about creating a strong digital strategy.