5 Ways Contact Centers Can Leverage Cloud Technology


Ted HuntingMarketing Leader at Bright Pattern

Friday, December 9, 2022

A remote workforce was once considered progressive and sometimes even controversial. (Remember Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to bring her workforce back onsite?) Now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s considered normal. According to Mercer, 90% of companies say the productivity of their workforce is the same or better than it was when employees were onsite.

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5 Ways Contact Centers Can Leverage Cloud Technology
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The general American public is now experiencing the beauty of cloud-based applications. Those of us in the technology space have known for a while that the cloud has the ability to transform communication, collaboration and productivity.

It can also transform a contact center - yes, even the tried-and-true customer-serving contact center can not only be run remotely but also — and more importantly — vastly improve customer experience.

Remote work has changed the contact solutions space

In the post-pandemic world, many organizations are embracing a hybrid workforce. They get face-to-face time in the office on certain days and remote flexibility on others. Technology enables a seamless transition through remote desktops and cloud-based applications.

For the contact center, the same idea applies. Remote workers are now used to collaborating via digital channels. Virtual video-enabled appointments and meetings are routine. And when contact centers leverage these technologies, everybody wins.

A cloud-based remote contact center is better for business

Where once businesses had to hire, train and retain staff who then sat in an on-premise facility, they can now employ people globally. They can curate the best talent, regardless of location. Employing remote agents globally also enables a 24/7/365 live agent contact center.

1. Scale easily to handle peaks

Because a remote contact center is cloud-based, it’s scalable. For retail businesses, there are certain times of the year when demand peaks. If they employ a traditional on-premise contact center, they risk agents sitting around with nothing to do. They also risk overwhelming their agents during times when customer demand is higher than normal — not so in the cloud! Remote call agents can be brought on part-time or full-time, depending on the business’s needs. Turning off an agent’s access to software is simple because there aren’t computers to collect.

2. Cloud-based remote contact centers save money

Speaking of hard costs, when it comes to a remote contact center, a business saves on the cost of hardware and on associated costs such as patching, maintenance and upgrades. Electric bills, security guards, cleaning crews and other facility-maintenance costs are likewise saved.

3. Disaster recovery and business continuity is easier

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are more easily addressed in a cloud-based contact center solution. The pandemic reminds us all that disaster can happen when and how we least expect it. Ransomware, power outages and security breaches put a business in a position where it loses money every second. For contact centers, given they’re the frontline of communication to customers, keeping them up and running, especially during a disaster, can be the difference that keeps a business in business.

4. Enable outbound communications

The outbound capabilities of a remote contact center present businesses with numerous ways to gain valuable feedback, express customer appreciation incentives and improve your organization’s workflow. Customer surveys are often used to gain valuable insights into what customers like and don’t like about an organization. These insights help leadership make better decisions about what to invest their time, energy and money in. Expressing customer appreciation through coupons and exclusive sales — via email, text message, phone or chat — is key.

5. Advanced technologies at your fingertips

Artificial intelligence powers features such as the predictive dialer, progressive dialer and preview dialer. These features can increase remote agent productivity by dialing the phone for them, skipping unanswered calls and letting them leave voicemail messages quickly.

With advanced dialing algorithms, powerful contact center tools and modern dialer technologies, businesses improve their workflow: live calls and voice calls can be transferred in real-time to other channels within the contact center platform and contact center solution, providing the ultimate customer experience.

A cloud-based, omni omnichannel contact center improves the customer experience

A remote contact center doesn’t only benefit a business. It improves the experience for the customer, too. The main function of a contact center is to talk or interact with customers over digital channels help customers, and handle inquiries or sales.

Most of the time, when someone contacts a customer service contact center, they have a problem. Whether something doesn’t work, isn’t complete or simply needs more information, emotions are generally negative. Customer service best practices train agents to say things like, “we can help you with that,” before they even embark on a solution. Saving a customer time and solving their problem completely and thoroughly is essential. A remote contact center makes that all possible and easier than a traditional contact center.

Everyone’s favorite channel

One crucial feature for improved customer experience is that of being an omnichannel solution. Omnichannel contact centers give customers the ability to communicate with remote agents across all channels, including text, email, voice, social media, video, live chat and web chat, including messenger apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Omnichannel communication lets customers use their preferred contact method, and different generations indeed prefer different contact methods. The smartphone forever changed our communication abilities, and a business that caters to everyone’s preferences will find their satisfaction scores increase.

It also enables seamless communication across those various channels. For example, a customer may initially contact an agent using webchat. That agent then transfers the customer to an agent who calls the customer. In this process, the customer information is transferred from agent to agent. This saves time and frustration on behalf of the customer who doesn’t have to repeat everything.

When integrated with a CRM tool, the agent is enabled to assist a customer even further. They’ll see the customer’s history and be able to offer solutions from a holistic perspective. Plus, they’ll be able to see if a customer has had to call more than once — an agent can acknowledge the customer’s frustration and address it before it escalates.

Empowering customers with self-service technology

Empowering the customer becomes easy when an IVR, or “interactive voice response,” is available. A self-service technology, IVR lets your customers find what they need quickly and without talking to a live agent. Through a touch-tone keypad or voice input, the IVR platform mimics a human assistant, directing the customer to the right resource. When customers solve their basic problems or answer basic questions on their own, agents are freed to tackle more complex issues. Businesses can optimize their resources while improving their customer experience.

Thus far, we’ve talked about inbound contact center abilities, or when a customer initiates the contact. There are outbound capabilities, too, that improve the customer experience. Customers will like receiving those appreciation incentives we discussed earlier. They can receive the coupons via text message, make the purchase online, and receive updates via email. If there’s a problem and they need to call an agent, that agent will have all that information at their fingertips thanks to the integrated CRM component.

Remote contact center advanced technologies

We’ve touched on some of the many technologies that remote agents can leverage to improve their service. Artificial intelligence powers auto dialers, for instance. Interactive voice response comes in two types and shows how advanced technologies come together to give customers an efficient experience with the added human touch: traditional IVR and conversational IVR. Traditional IVR directs callers to select a number from a menu of options, and a conversational IVR directs callers to speak naturally. They describe their needs in their own words and are then routed to the appropriate agent. Conversational IVR uses speech recognition powered by cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and speech-to-text.

Choosing the right contact center solution

When a business implements a remote contact center, the benefits to everyone are clear. The caveat is that they must implement the right contact center solution. In addition to a rich feature set, it also needs to be easy to use and set up. Reporting is essential. It allows managers to see what’s working and what isn’t and make changes accordingly.

Creating a contact center team through remote agents

Provided remote agents are given the tools they need to be successful, compensated accordingly, and encouraged to be part of the team, remote work can truly transform an organization. The same is true in a remote contact center. Technology is great, but it only goes so far. Strong, empathetic leadership, skilled guidance and team-centered activities are what create a strong team of people. Now that remote work is the norm, creating a vibrant customer service team consisting of the best and brightest from across the globe is possible.

Ted Hunting

Ted Hunting leads marketing at Bright Pattern, a leader in innovative cloud customer experience platforms. Previously Ted worked at Genesys where he led marketing in the Americas and Asia and Corporate Marketing with over 15 years in the customer experience industry. Hunting is a recognized speaker in the customer experience industry with keynotes and presentations at top conferences including Gartner, Forrester, IQPC Customer Contact Week, ICMI, Enterprise Connect, Execs in the Know and more.  He is also a member of the CCW Europe Advisory Board and formerly a member of the CCW North America Advisory Board, the world's largest customer contact event series. Ted is a graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan with a marketing and finance background. 


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