The benefits of cloud communications are well documented. Faster deployment, future-proof applications, business continuity, predictable monthly payments. When contact centers turn to the cloud, they can also scale easier, support at-home agents, and add multichannel services.
Yet there’s another benefit of the cloud for contact centers that might not be as readily evident. With a cloud-based solution for communications, centers can break through two types of boundaries that often hinder operational and customer care effectiveness.
The first boundary is geography. Should a contact center expand from a single location, the cloud can minimize the complexity and cost that often curbs efficiency from a staffing standpoint. The second boundary is walls. Not physical walls, mind you, but the walls between agents in a contact center and the enterprise subject matter experts they must increasingly collaborate with to resolve customer issues. These walls exist whether the organization’s contact center occupies one location or multiple sites.
However... implement a single cloud solution for a multi-site contact center operation, and boundaries disappear.
Eliminating geographic boundaries
Staffing. In effect, multi-site centers become one large contact center with an expanded, centralized pool of agents. Cross training on products and services becomes easier, agent knowledge levels and skill sets are broader, and agents are assigned more efficiently based on demand, schedule, and media channel.
Communications equipment. Organizationally, the cloud model eliminates the need for each contact center site to manage its own infrastructure. All sites pull from a common set of features that are activated merely by licensing; there is no need to install unique systems or hardware solutions at individual sites.
Consistent service level. Along with a uniform menu of contact options for all locations — an 800 number, eServices, a Facebook (News - Alert) page, and so on — the organization consolidates queues across sites. Incoming interactions are then routed quickly to the first available agent regardless of location. Reports also span all sites and provide a clearer view of the service provided to all product areas.
ROI realized. A cloud-based contact center solution lets the organization move from capital expenditures on equipment at multiple sites to a monthly service fee for the whole of customer service. Again, the organization can license new apps and features whenever any part of customer service requires added functionality, and bypass having to source and install new systems.
Knocking down walls
There’s an emerging sentiment that “the enterprise is the contact center.” In the name of first contact resolution, customer service has moved beyond the walls of the contact center to include persons throughout an organization. At various times, the appropriate resource to handle a customer’s issue might be a subject matter expert, a product manager, a claims adjuster,? or some other specialized employee elsewhere in the business. Therefore, virtually every employee becomes a potential real-time customer touch point and service agent.
Cloud communications enable the organization to consolidate all internal resources more easily as one central asset to manage customer care. With no walls between the contact center and the enterprise, the customer service process extends to the right persons and workgroups at the right time. Knowledge is also spread across the business — seamlessly — and accessed at any given moment to resolve customer issues accurately and quickly. Ultimately, managing customer relationships falls to a much broader set of available organizational resources.
When you knock down geographies and walls via the cloud, you provide customer experience that builds customer loyalty.
Edited by Blaise McNamee