The ‘Cloud’ is surely the number one IT buzzword of the past ten years. But of course, the concept is no passing fad. The cloud represents arguably the most fundamental adjustment in IT practices in recent years. But what is it, and what does a cloud-based contact center mean for your business?
Cloud storage is simply the practice of running software and services on the internet instead of on a local server. Domestic examples include global brands such as Netflix and Dropbox. In the business sector, you have the likes of Salesforce or Microsoft Azure. In both instances, Cloud services increasingly form an integral part of our lives.
Contact centers the world over making the change to cloud-based operations. As you join them, you’ll demand speed, security, reliability and return on investment. By optimizing your migration project with powerful third-party software, you’ll be several steps closer to meeting delivery timelines and reassuring your stakeholders that goals are being met.
In this article, we’ll look at what you need to consider during the migration process, from planning to maintaining the infrastructure once you’ve gone live.
Why move to a cloud-based contact center?
The key benefits of moving your contact center to the cloud include:
- Centralized phone-based customer engagements on a digital platform
- Speed of deployment
- Typically no investment in hardware
- Easy, low-cost maintenance
- Software updates (including security) all handled by your cloud supplier
- Calls scheduled and assigned based on a specific company’s configuration.
- Reduced need for landline networks and manual phone operation
- Streamlined call center operations – employees and resources free to focus on other areas in the business
- Increased reliability
- Quick and straightforward scaling
- Taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence – to support chatbots in basic data collection or handling simple enquiries to enable more effective modelling
- Taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence – to support chatbots in basic data colelction or handling simple enquiries to enable more effect modelling.
Find out more about why call center operations managers are investing in the cloud.
What are the challenges of making the move to a cloud-based contact center?
It’s natural and common to experience resistance to the adoption of new technologies. Staff anticipate increased workloads. For the migration project to be embraced, clear and empathetic presentation of the benefits is vital.
Your managers need to demonstrate how the new environment will streamline operations, reduce costs, improve workflows and improve the customer experience.
Preparing for the inevitable challenges will be a key part of gaining trust. You can address this positively by showing how cloud migration will allow the contact center to be more innovative when delivering new products and services. You can also reassure your teams by explaining that you’ll be carrying out extensive load-testing as part of the migration process.
Read more about the benefits and ROI of a Cloud Contact Center.
4 key steps to take when migrating to a Cloud Contact Center
Step 1 – Making a business case for a cloud-based contact center
Firstly, you’ll need to conduct a benchmark and risk analysis study. This will help you understand the technical and resource requirements, drawbacks and benefits. This will also help you gain buy-in, as you’ll have tangible evidence of your migration strategy.
Next, you’ll need to build your business case, which will have to include an ROI forecast, as well as a clear outline of the following benefits:
- Universal queue and desktop application– making it much easier for your agents to handle multichannel interactions
- Customizable reports and real-time dashboards– enabling the tracking of different departments’ performance on a site, team and individual agent level
- Scalability– you can start out with a few agent seats and add more when required.
Step 2 – Choosing your software vendor
You need to find out from potential cloud software vendors about
- The functional capabilities of the software–what it actually will do for your operation
- How professional and reliable their service is
- The scope and effectiveness of the service & support team
- How successful they have been with their clients–look for reviews and testimonials
- Cloud Contact Centre Gartner Research–have they been recognized in the Magic Quadrant by Gartner as the leader for Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS)
You should also be carrying a technical evaluation of potential vendors, to include whether:
- You need to provide high-speed internet
- The vendor has reliable deployment startegies
- Their telephony migration policy meets your requirements
- How they will test the new infrastructure prior to deployment
- The various channels (especially phone) all integrate and migrate to the cloud solution
Step 3 – Operational changes to consider
Migrating to the Cloud may mean changes to how your people work. You’ll need to consider which elements of the infrastructure should be moved – and in what order. It may be that you don’t move everything at once and that initially, you leave certain elements on- premise.
When implementing your cloud contact centre platform, focus on your people. They will be key to successful software migration. Departments such as security, operations or finance, for example, all play a key role. The new cloud applications and infrastructure assets may necessitate the introduction of new roles.
Make sure you keep everyone involved. You’ll need to create a strong and clear communications plan. Without bringing your people with you on the migration journey, technology alone will only get you so far.
When migrating to the cloud, avoid the temptation to simply lift your processes from your old system straight onto the new one. Instead, prioritize your most important departments, functions and processes. These should be the first to migrate to the cloud.
Step 4 – Keep your customer front of mind
Throughout the entire migration, it’s vital to keep focused on your customer and their needs. This is the most direct route to the Holy Grail of customer satisfaction. It’s also why constant testing during migration is so critical.
A cloud vendor’s professional team can provide guidance on customer needs. They’ll provide you with best practice advice on leveraging channels and integrating with omnichannel expectations.
One example might be predictive behavioural routing. Cloud contact centre technology software can identify the preferred paths of communication depending on which customer you are speaking to. Your customers can be categorized into different profiles. ‘Awake subscribers’, let’s say, are your most reliable customers. They’ve bought from you before and can be routed to agents who are skilled at upselling.
Alternatively, the system might pick up on keywords such as ‘anniversary’ and ‘special occasion’ during the call, prompting the agent to offer the customer a one-time deal discount on their next purchase as well as a free thoughtful gift to say ‘congratulations’.
These and the other benefits of cloud technology can all be explored in the all-important testing phase. Read more here about Contact Center Cloud Migration Testing.
Also, find out more here about the Features and Capabilities for Migrating to a Cloud Contact Center.
Cloud migration validation testing – bringing long-term savings
Our service demonstrates time and again its ability to provide such a swift and effective testing system.
- The Occam Razor Discovery tool reduces average deployment times by three months, thus releasing cloud advantages and savings sooner
- To exceed the cost of our service, on average fewer than 10 customers would need to be adversely affected by a defect
- We offer the fastest route to deployment in the market whilst offering a significant ROI against other validation platforms.
Stay focused on the goal
Feature or focused testing on individual component
Systems communicate with one-another
You’ve added or updated a new feature, has it impacted any old features?
Did anything you do change how it scales? Are there non- linear bottlenecks?
Post deployment ‘day 2’, Ops ensure patches or config changes have not impacted CX