On Thursday, February 27, 2014, my colleague, Bill Parry, and I presented during the ICMI webinar “Moving to the Cloud: What Your Contact Center Needs to Know.” This is the first of a two-part recap of the key information we shared in that conversation.
Businesses today have an ever-growing interest in cloud technologies. This interest is now permeating into the customer service function of these businesses, raising the question: “Is cloud right for my contact center?” We see five key industry trends to support the consideration and migration of contact centers to a cloud-based platform.
Silo Removal & Customer Centricity 2.0. Many businesses often operate in a siloed-capacity, as it relates to their Sales, Marketing, and Servicing functions. Many times, these individuals are engaging with your customer without ever knowing how or when the others last engaged with the same customer. However, there is a “customer-centric” shift occurring, with many businesses working towards putting the customer in the center of their organization. “Customer Centricity 1.0” was focused on building that 360-degree view of your customer for each function. While many businesses continue to chase after version 1.0, cloud-based platforms are allowing businesses to reach a new level – or version 2.0 – by providing the 360-degree view faster and allowing their customer-centric strategies to easily evolve as the customer evolves.
Location, Location, Location. In the contact center world, the question “Should we be centralized or distributed?” is consistently being asked as it relates to agents, technology, and resources. The answer to this questions is “YES!” when a cloud-based contact center platform supports a business. Cloud technologies enable a business to answer this question in whatever way the business’ or customers’ needs demand, not based on the constraints of technology. Cloud-based platforms provide the ability for specialization routing, removing many of the requirements to be centrally located. In addition, one of the biggest issues cloud technologies resolve for businesses is the need for redundancy service organizations for emergency servicing and disaster recovery. Since cloud-based platforms are always available, regardless of location, this issue becomes a moot point.
Purposeful Mobility (for all). When we talk about “mobility”, we are not talking about just mobile phones or tablets. We are talking about any “connected device” that a customer may use to engage a business. This is purposefully left vague because there are so many different ways customers can engage a business (e.g. Hertz’s virtual agent kiosks). While these customers are becoming more mobile with each passing day, mobility also extends to the entire business and its ability to engage its customers. Allowing employees to perform required activities from their own mobile device provides a new potential for personalization within the experience its people provide these customers. This provides flexibility for employees and an opportunity to increase job satisfaction. In turn, this flexibility leads to a better overall experience for customers and employees.
Big Data: Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity. The amount of data that is available to and collected by businesses regarding their customers is exponentially growing on a daily basis. This amount of data is not only increasing in the number of data points, but in the type of data and speed in which it is being published. If businesses learn to embrace this data, and put in place the tools to analyze, cleanse, validate, and enrich it over time, they can begin proactively servicing their customers and providing an enjoyable experience. Cloud technology will not only help provide the tools to help proactively service your customers, but will allow businesses the ability to respond to the trends identified in this data over time more quickly.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud are Proven. The benefits of moving to the cloud are being realized now, compared to even five years ago. This has shifted the conversation from “we think this will happen” to “we know this will happen.” These benefits include:
- Improved business agility and focus on the important activities: allowing a business to shift its focus on its ability to meet the changing needs of its customers and employees faster
- Speed of implementation and deployment: allowing a business to implement a new platform in a matter of months, not years
- Speed to market of new features and functions: allowing a business to release new features and functions to your customers and employees in literally days and weeks, not months and years
- Lower overall costs: reducing a business’ overall cost of ownership to maintain its contact center platform and removing the need for additional overhead costs to manage the platform – ultimately, allowing individuals to focus on the important activities (see #1)
- Increased revenue, customer and employee satisfaction: allowing a business to increase its top-line by increasing customers’ satisfaction and the overall satisfaction of your employees
The next post will focus on how to determine if a business’s contact center is ready to embrace the cloud and, if so, how to select the appropriate cloud-based platform.