The public cloud is part of everyday life these days. Most of our personal communication - emails, voice and video calls, messaging, etc - uses it. Even our documents are stored on virtual drives. Despite this, a substantial number of contact centers still resist the move to the cloud. Why?
Reasons we hear include:
- "Cloud solutions lack basic features."
- "Voice quality is unreliable."
- "Integration, when it's even possible, is painful."
Here's the problem: many benefits that were claimed some years ago were found in practice to be hype. But these benefits are now demonstrable reality, and organisations are missing out on an array of opportunities that cloud-based contact brings.
Many latest generation cloud contact center platforms are robust and mature, offering multi-channel and multi-session capabilities, and the opportunity to integrate best-of-breed solutions easily. These facilities remove many of the limitations of traditional on-premise solutions and greatly enhance both the customer and the agent experience. There has never been a better time to move a contact center to the cloud.
But not all cloud contact center platforms are created equal. When considering a move, look carefully at the capabilities on offer. Here are 5 features you should expect from your solution:
- Full functionality – A cloud contact center platform should offer the same full range of functionality as an on-premise solution, e.g. inbound, outbound and blending capabilities across all channels (including email), multi-session handling for agents, a comprehensive reporting system, and connectors for messaging. Most importantly, all these should be delivered in a single, unified platform rather than as disparate, bolted-together components.
- Scalability - In the cloud, you should expect to be able to scale seamlessly from 10 to say 500 seats, and drop back to 60 at any moment. No fuss, no downtime. And you should be able to add and remove tenants instantly, via a centrally-controlled multi-tenancy model.
- Open web APIs – A cloud platform should offer full and open 3rd party web APIs. This is key to the successful integration of 3rd party business workflow systems, such as CRMs or ERPs.
- Designed for the cloud – Unlike early migration models, where vendors just tried to host traditional systems in virtual machines, a cloud platform should be designed from the ground up for cloud environments. Media sessions - voice, messaging, email, SMS or any type that emerges in the future – should share the same properties, so they can be routed and dequeued in exactly the same way by a mulitmedia ACD, keeping agents busy and queue times low. APIs should anticipate the fact that systems can and will fail and will do so in an unpredictable way. Designing for instability is key to the success of a cloud system.
- Easy addition of new technology — if a new technology is to be added, e.g. speech analytics, an AI chatbot or support for a new media channel, a cloud platform should offer a connector to allow you to start using it, without the need to add equipment.
Whatever the platform, moving to the cloud brings other advantages. All the power and convenience of the Internet is available, enabling use of local and remote agents, global access and supervision, reduced IT and telephony costs, and the ability to forecast service rental costs.
And having no more responsibility for servers, PBX, or hardware components that can fail, your only concerns are your workstations and your internet connection.
With all these points in mind, and given the wide range of cloud contact center solutions on offer, the key for a successful move to the cloud is choosing the right technology partner.