Technology underpins much of the functionality of any contact centre, from multi-channel communication methods and web-chat routing, to automated outbound dialling and interactive voice response, writes Andre Deetlefs, executive for lines of business at Jasco Enterprise.
This technology is often expensive, not only at initial investment outlay, but also to maintain and support to ensure ongoing value. However, while technology is able to deliver this functionality – and more – most contact centre solutions available today come with all the bells and whistles. Saying this, not all businesses need the same functionality for many different reasons. The value found in a modular approach is just one more compelling case of why cloud contact centres make perfect sense.
The modular nature of cloud based contact centres include an array of added functionality, such as predictive outbound dialling, scripting, workforce optimisation, and, of course, customisation. While these technologies have been around for some time, they are also complex by nature and are the result of significant – and costly – Research and Development (R&D) by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), thus driving the costs of each module.
The cost to produce, run, maintain, manage, deploy, train staff and effectively use these purpose built functionalities is quite large and usually requires significant investment from organisations. Although cloud contact centres deliver the advantages of having agile access to these functionalities, they still require careful investment and are not to be undertaken lightly.
The benefits to be had from the functionality available with cloud based contact centres are large and varied, as described as follows:
* Multi-channel communication affords organisations the ability to interact over communication channels beyond traditional voice and email, such as SMS, web chat and social media. This opens up communication with a much wider audience, extending existing target markets and exploring new ones.
* Outbound dialling uses technologies such as predictive algorithms and automated profile viewing to enable bulk calling of customers, streamlining the call process for efficiency and value.
* Integrated voice recording, which ensures all calls are recorded, properly tagged and archived for compliance and quality purposes.
* Interactive voice response (IVR), which allows organisations to route incoming calls effectively, reducing the rate of transferred calls and improving efficiencies and customer experience.
* Scripting provides agents with a window on their screen with selectable pre-programmed talk cues based on the customer responses. This allows for faster call times and a more professional approach.
* Workforce optimisation is a tool that can be used across multiple channels, and forecasts inbound traffic, allowing organisations to plan their staffing requirements. This ensures that contact centres, and specific components of contact centres, are neither over nor under staffed. There are a number of additional benefits to this tool which all ensure that maximum benefits are drawn from contact centre staff.
* Custom reporting enables organisations to pull reports based on specific criteria, saving time, reducing waste and contributing towards improved decision making.
Being able to draw from these benefits and select only the ones which apply to an organisation is where cloud based contact centres offer a true advantage, as they are able to drive down costs through leveraging economies of scale.
Pooled resources and shared infrastructure mean that organisations can benefit from the functionalities which suit them, while discarding the ones that don’t, without massive investment in the entire package or all the infrastructure.
Of course, there may be limitations on the level of choice available depending on the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) selected and the types of functionality required.
It goes without saying that all of these benefits should be considered as a requirement of most contact centres today, especially given the growing need to evolve traditional communication methods as organisations strive to digitally transform. Changing customer needs demand more interaction channels, which in turn fuels the need for a more comprehensive contact centre.
In order to reduce costs, maximise outputs and avoid waste of both infrastructure and staff, organisations should leverage the benefits afforded by the above mentioned functionalities.
The goal should be an efficient, effective contact centre which adds value and drives revenue in a constantly evolving technological world. Modular, cloud based contact centres provide organisations with the best way to do so, without requiring complete overhauls of existing contact centres, as organisations can choose what they need for now and build on that as they go forward.