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Contact Centers and the Cloud: Four Must-Dos when Migrating Your Communications to CCaaS

Written by Al Castle, Vice President of Product and Engineering at Flowroute, a West Company

Evolution is the name of the game in contact center operations, which is why we are seeing many businesses increasingly shift from traditional "landline" telco providers in favor of innovative software-centric contact center as a service offerings (CCaaS) that can dynamically scale to support increased call volumes and deliver superior audio quality to ensure a positive customer experience.

A CCaaS model allows businesses to purchase only the technology they need, which reduces the need for internal IT support. CCaaS is an ideal option for many contact centers, offering scalability as operational needs change. By providing the flexibility to pay for only the technology needed, investment is low and costs are significantly reduced while capabilities to better serve customers are expanded.

Though many legacy service providers are scrambling to innovate, they continue to be plagued by complaints of inadequate and impersonal customer support, and limited network scalability that is unable to meet contact center-specific call volumes. Despite their best efforts, they ultimately remain inflexible vendors unable to adapt to shifting market conditions, and customer demands. 

Given this, the transition is well underway by many businesses to adopt a cloud-based contact center as-a-service model.

A recent IDC survey of more than 400 professionals in 27 countries found that nearly half of the respondents had already deployed cloud contact center solutions, with an additional third currently implementing those solutions. Market research firm Frost & Sullivan values the total market comprising best-of-breed and full-suite hosted and cloud contact center solutions to be worth $1.4B in North America, growing at 11.6 percent a year.

Cloud-based communications services offer many benefits for contact centers:

  • Scalability through dynamic capacity: Without enough network capacity to meet the growing demand for incoming calls or other services, customers can find themselves receiving busy signals or dropped calls.
  • Reliability and call quality: Your contact center connects customers with your business, often in stressful or frustrating situations. If an already unsatisfied customer has to deal with a dropped phone call or degraded phone service during their contact center experience, you've just given them a reason to never do business with you again.
  • Flexibility and control: Today's contact centers often have geographically-dispersed offices and customer service personnel. Because CCaaS doesn't require any on-premise infrastructure, cloud-based solutions offer greater flexibility to deploy new contact centers without large upfront capital expenditures.

Finally, businesses are drawn to the agility that cloud-based communications services offer, allowing them to take advantage of continued innovation - at lower cost - to better align with dynamic customer expectations and demands. 

One of companies who made the switch to cloud-based communications is USA Contact Point, which provides customer service and other call center services for several financial service and credit monitoring companies. It also maintains a bank of hundreds of toll-free customer service phone numbers and more than 200 contact center agents.

USA Contact Point realized it had a serious issue when its previous service provider was unable to scale its network to accommodate high traffic requirements, creating a bottleneck of inbound calls, and resulting in busy signals and dropped calls.

In addition to the obvious technical challenge involved, this also created a potential risk to the company's reputation. The limited incoming channels caused calls to be dropped, which made for angry consumers. And that ultimately strained USA Contact Point's customer relationships and its reputation.

After testing a cloud-based communications solution that did not limit the number of inbound channels, USA Contact Point ended up porting more than 400 toll-free numbers and consolidated its list of providers down to just one. Having the ability to manage numbers easily through an online portal made adding and routing news numbers a fast and simple process. The online portal also enabled USA Contact Point to transition its system to updated servers without the need for external support from the service provider.

For organizations considering a CCaaS model for their contact center, here are four "must do's" when evaluating communications service providers. 

1. Ask if the service provider enables direct access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). With direct access to the telephone network, calls travel the most stable path possible in and out of your system to enhance call quality and reliability.
2. Prioritize offerings that feature intuitive, web-based access to telephony services such as real-time call records, detailed cost accounting, granular control, and premium quality audio.
3. Consider the service provider's ability for your organization to track call data. Being able to track which numbers are being called most, from where, and when, as well as collect and access workforce management data in real-time is a key advantage.
4. Determine the porting and configuration process for new customer service lines, and confirm that adding new seats to your contact center won't impact line capacity. The right service provider should be able to activate new local or toll-free numbers instantly and seamlessly integrate voice services into your contact center platform.

When selecting a cloud-based service provider for your contact center, it's critical to understand that not all providers are created equal; a cookie-cutter approach simply doesn't work here. Businesses need to be mindful of working with a provider who can deliver capabilities that align to your company's unique priorities and objectives.

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About the Author

 

Al Castle is the vice president of product and engineering at Flowroute, a West company, based in Seattle. He brings more than 15 years of operational experience in software engineering and B2B SaaS platform management. Prior to joining Flowroute, Castle was the director of engineering at Motorola Solutions, where he built and launched the organization's first SaaS platform and IOT enterprise software system in less than five months.

Published Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:18 AM by David Marshall
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