Traditionally, call centers have been at the heart of customer service – as the place where customers interact with a brand on a human level by speaking to agents.
With phone support being the primary channel, contact centers have often been referred to as call centers. However, in the modern world of customer communication, and the emergence of chat apps, email, social media, and other new technologies, people have grown accustomed to having conversations over more than one channel.
In one working day, an average person may:
- send a WhatsApp message to a friend about meeting after work,
- text a client asking if they are available for a call,
- make a reservation over email, and/or
- get in touch with a relative using Facebook Messenger
Seamless omnichannel communication has become a part of people’s daily lives, and now they’re demanding it from businesses as well.
To help you decide if it’s time to undergo a call center digital transformation, we’ve outlined the difference between an on-premise vs cloud contact center so you can weigh the pros and cons based on your business needs.
Rethinking the traditional call center
An on-premise call center provides communication hardware, operational infrastructure, and dedicated communication servers – all onsite. The traditional call center is a hardware-based platform where customer service relies on tedious agent-centric labor, resulting in:
- communication silos,
- disorganized agent and customer data,
- a general lack of cross-functional efficiency, and
- failure to meet customers where they are
A traditional call center may have the best agents working for them, but they can’t overcome obsolete on-premise hardware and software. And, adding to the complexity is the cost of constant upgrades and maintenance.
According to the Harvard Business Review, businesses are losing revenue on digital transformation as they’re continuously investing in standard operational and traditional IT services for maintenance purposes, rather than cloud-based communication, to solve multiple customer pain points.
On-premise vs cloud contact center: Revamping your customer support
The engagement landscape is changing, and so are contact center dynamics. Making on-premise call centers lose their relevance in modern business KPIs and metrics.
Technology is empowering not just businesses and agents to provide omnichannel customer service, but also enabling customers to handle most queries through self-service.
According to the Digital Journal, 90% of enterprises will be incorporating cloud technology by 2021 – and contact center businesses are no exception. This has been the cornerstone of efficiency-driven digital transformation.
Switching from a call center to an omnichannel cloud contact center can serve as your single approach to combating your most common pain points in customer service, including:
- decreasing long-term costs through efficiency,
- increasing CSAT scores through consumer interactive options,
- improving agent performance and efficiency, and
- enabling remote work
In other words, revamping a call center into a cloud-based contact center equips businesses with the tools to have a customer-centric approach to communications.
Improving the omnichannel customer experience by switching to the cloud
According to CCW Digital, 65% of customers say that having their issues resolved through their preferred channel is the most important aspect of good customer service. However, only 20% of businesses are doing this right now.
Switching to a cloud-based contact center enables agents to provide omnichannel technical support through a single interface.
Using media-rich messaging that chat apps have to offer, combined with the reliability and reach of SMS and RCS messaging, and human-centric phone calls or interactive voice response (IVR), businesses can equip agents to provide faster personalized support across all channels.
A digital cloud contact center solution, such as Conversations, integrates different channels together so you can provide one experience throughout the entire customer journey.
For example, a customer may start an interaction over Live Chat but could switch to WhatsApp later. The conversation history and customer context, such as loyalty status and previous interactions, will be accounted for from the same interface – no matter the channel. This helps businesses keep up with changing user behavior and communication trends.
As new technology makes contacting customer service easier, more accessible, and instant, the overall volume of customer support interactions will continue to climb. Even if most of these interactions are mediated by self-service chatbots, human agents will be a crucial part of building this infrastructure.
Hence, a cloud contact center solution provides an integrated platform that gives agents everything they need in one place – and enables contact center managers to measure overall performance.
Five opportunities provided by cloud contact centers
The future contact centers have effective cloud-based, omnichannel advantages that enable businesses to meet customers where they are, when they are – and provide metrics that improve agent performance.
Below are five business opportunities that arise when you move your contact center to the cloud.
1. Create personalized voice conversations and speed up interactions
Voice remains one of the primary channels for contact centers – and improving voice capabilities can be an operational profit-driving component and should be a priority moving forward.
A common goal is to increase the quality of interactions while eliminating lingering pain points, such as long wait times, repetitive questions, frequent transfers, and low-quality interactions that have earned the “call center” the nickname of a “cost center.˝
According to CCW Digital research, voice will remain viable, but interest is beginning to skew towards automated voice interactions. Nearly 50% of companies say IVR will become more important over the next few years. Only 17% expect its relevance to decline.
Here are a few ways you can use Voice through a digital cloud contact center solution:
- Programmable cloud-based voice integration can conveniently convert written text to voice to launch communications at scale and track their status with delivery reports on a customer’s preferred language, while providing agents and managers the micro-coaching data they need to increase personalized interactions.
- Attract customer’s attention with messaging in local dialects using pre-recorded voice capabilities.
- Hyper-personalize customer experience with individual consumer data and details across different databases.
2. Reduce effort and improve customer satisfaction with messaging
Incorporating chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and LINE – along with SMS and RCS – provides cross-functional, asynchronous, and mobile-friendly channels that reduce agent effort and increase communication efficiency, across any geo-location or targeted demographic.
Integrating chat apps, SMS, and RCS into your contact center drives cost savings, improves CSAT scores through frictionless communication, and increases ROI.
Here are some best practices for using chat apps, SMS, and RCS through a digital cloud contact center solution:
- Improve customer trust in brand communication and raise awareness at the same time by displaying your brand name, logo, description, link preview, and verification through your business profile on chat apps or RCS.
- Allow for navigation of multiple route parameters in real-time to find the shortest path for every message delivered.
- Create richer dialogues for customer support, marketing campaigns, transactional notifications, and more using chat apps.
- Capitalize on targeted marketing by creating messages in any language, format, or length through programmable encoding to appeal to each demographic of your contact center.
3. Increase transparency through Conversational AI
AI continues to be a booming topic for many businesses today, but it’s important to find a platform that allows you to use it effectively. This should include conversational capabilities to create better self-service experiences for customers and internal tools to make life easier for agents.
The right cloud platform will not only make it easy to deploy AI, but able to enhance its functionality through APIs. You can integrate with channels, databases, and tools that are familiar to your customers and agents, allowing your AI to make a bigger impact.
Platform capabilities like APIs and integrations ensure ease of deployment, scalability, and the ability to customize as per your business needs. Because conversational AI can integrate with multiple channels and data sources, there’s no intensive coding knowledge required to get your contact center up and running.
Through API’s such as WhatsApp, today’s contact centers can share:
- images and videos
- files and documents
- contact information, and
to the right person at the right time, in real time.
4. Improve handling times with chatbots
Chatbots can provide fast customer service in response to frequently asked questions – and can also provide automated subscription content to bespoke communications including:
- delivery notifications,
- live automated messages,
- and more
Intuitive chatbots with customizable greetings and widgets make it possible to offer a more personal, proactive, and streamlined customer experience.
They also helps agents focus on complex queries or transition into the conversation seamlessly when required – decreasing contact center hold times.
When you couple a chatbot building platform, such as Answers, with a digital cloud contact center solution, such as Conversations, you can deploy a chatbot over your customers’ preferred channels to improve average wait time, handle time, and overall CSAT scores.
5. Improve efficiency with reporting and analytics
Through an integrated approach, cloud contact centers provide customer and conversation history and context, increasing the overall efficiency of the contact center. With all the channels and data connected in one place, cloud contact centers can provide:
- Data from customer interactions over any channel
- Customer loyalty status or previously closed tickets
- Agent performance analytics to optimize workload and productivity
Start your contact center digital transformation journey
By speeding up your digital transformation when moving from a call center to a digital cloud contact center, you can capitalize on the omnichannel approach that is driving the way customers and brands interact on an individualized basis. To make it easier, we’re offering a Conversations Starter package which helps you move your contact center to the cloud within 24 hours – for free!
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