Keeping ahead in the cloud
by Craig Farley
How cloud-based technology is key to contact centre growth
The value of the cloud has never been as apparent as it has over the last 18 months. From transitioning to remote working, to increasing the ways in which customers communicate with brands, the cloud has truly come of age.
What sets the cloud apart is the potential it offers its users – that ability to embrace the new trends quickly and easily. The cloud is, in many ways, the unsung hero of the contact centre – acting as the gateway to the innovation that many organisations are striving for.Within this piece, we will look at the main benefits of implementing a cloud contact centre and how organisations can introduce or enhance cloud technology to meet evolving needs.
Why the cloud?
Cloud solutions provide contact centres with an abundance of potential. Most notably they offer the ability to work remotely. For many contact centres still operating on legacy technology who would otherwise have struggled to facilitate the necessary hybrid working during the pandemic, the cloud was intrinsic to continued operations. Information, communication channels and training resources all became easily available to agents who were no longer based on-premise but working from home. This move was so unprecedented and so monumental that members of the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) believed the industry had “jumped forward five years in three months” because of the opportunity afforded it “to implement new technology to support a mass migration to homeworking.”
Secondly, moving to a cloud solution opens the door for organisations looking to adopt new and advanced technologies. From chatbots to AI, ID and verification to analytics, the cloud offers a wealth of possibilities. In particular, the ability to embrace a multi-channel or omnichannel approach has proven to be an incredibly popular benefit of the cloud. Such is the speed of growth in this area that Gartner currently predicts that by 2025, 80% of customer service organisations will embrace forms of messaging other than voice channels.
The cloud in practice
One great example of an organisation using the cloud to enhance services comes from the Co-op in response to COVID-19. The Co-op is one of the most well-known consumer co-operatives and provided crucial services to its members and customers throughout the pandemic. By moving to Genesys Cloud, with support from IPI, Co-op was able to mobilise its contact centre team to remote working. This enabled its customer service team to continue to provide a quality service to its customers and members despite national uncertainty, whilst also allowing Co-op to increase its outreach to members of the community.
Not only was Co-op able to raise significant funds to help those in need and step-up campaigns through more reliable and efficient communication to their communities; they also saw an increase in engagement from their employees as a result of the cloud-based changes they made. In Co-op’s year-end employee ‘Talkback’ survey, scores went up nine points from 2019, with 88% of agents confident in their access to the technology they needed. A huge success for a transition period of less than a year. Co-op also achieved an answer rate of 93% for its customers – 8% higher than the CCMA benchmark – proving that migration to the cloud can unlock significant value for customers, employees and other stakeholders across the board.
Four steps for a successful cloud integration
With the advantages clear, how can organisations successfully migrate to the cloud? Below are four steps to help make the move to a cloud-based contact centre.
Organisations must begin by analysing all current operations. This is more than just operational practises. The best analysis looks at employee engagement and customer interactions too, therefore analysing all aspects of an organisation’s operations, from people and process, to technology, security and KPIs. For all of these, ask: is the contact centre currently on track to achieve the vision for the business? And if not why not?
Analysing these key points will help to identify gaps and key areas to address. Once an organisation knows what needs to be done to achieve these goals, a roadmap can be drafted, outlining how to move from the current state to the future desired outcome.
With a roadmap in place, contact centres can start to design a cloud integration plan unique to each business. Assess current system configuration, detailing any integrations, third-party applications, and data storage needs that need to be taken into consideration. By taking the time to map out the design of a future cloud system, unnecessary complications are reduced early on so that they can be amended as needed and in a reasonable timeframe.
‘Start small and extend’ is the best mantra to take to migrate to a cloud system. Attempting to do too much at once may put ongoing operations at risk so it’s best to progress in manageable steps.
For example, focus on getting small groups of agents comfortable with core cloud functionality first, and then gradually extend its roll out. By taking this measured approach, organisations then have the ability to ‘roll back’ to the on-premise solution if required. As demonstrated by the Co-op, the success of implementation will depend on staff fully understanding and being comfortable with the new solution. So, it is at this stage that cloud-based contact centres should invest in quality staff training.
- Review and Repeat
A cloud solution enables contact centres to continue developing and integrating new technologies. Once agents are fully migrated, organisations should still invest time into reviewing what business solutions are best tailored to each contact centre. Maximising the return on investment comes from repeating the previous three steps and continually reviewing the solutions in place.
Conducting periodic reviews to analyse success and validate your performance will give contact centres the best indication of how aligned it is with the goals set out in the first step. It may be the case that an organisation needs to adjust systems to make them more efficient. Taking the time to review current operations is the best way to ensure informed decisions are being made for the future of an organisation’s cloud-based contact centre.
When the cloud is used to its full advantage it will offer a contact centre limitless avenues for growth and countless new ways to enhance operations. A cloud-based and adaptable infrastructure is fundamental to future proofing operations and ensuring a contact centre is ready for any inevitability.