What is a Cloud Contact Center? The Definitive Guide to Cloud-Based Contact Centers
With the way businesses have evolved, cloud contact centers are becoming a better solution than traditional call centers.
Call centers are built to handle one main channel of communication. A cloud contact center addresses these limitations, allowing a business to level up in customer service, engage and communicate with customers in ways that are most helpful to them.
What is a Cloud Contact Center?
A cloud contact center is a comprehensive suite of tools and applications that handle all of an organization’s inbound and outbound communications.
A contact center helps your organization communicate with customers through their preferred communication channels.
Hosted on the cloud, a cloud contact center enables customers to reach you over multiple channels—phone calls, messaging, call routing voice, SMS, email, social media, etc.
A hosted contact center is more accessible than other types of contact servers, which may employ hardware on physical servers, outsourced by a host, or virtual contact center, with agents providing virtual receptionist services.
Cloud contact centers enable companies to stay competitive in this age of multiple communication channels.
How Do Cloud-Based Contact Centers Work?
A cloud-based or cloud-hosted contact center works like a customer engagement hub. A provider owns and operates the technology to which businesses subscribe and work remotely without the need for hardware, other than the devices used by a company’s agents to operate the system.
Common Services Cloud Contact Centers Provide
Many businesses outsource not only calls and customer service tasks. Cloud contact centers can help clients with a range of administrative and recurring tasks, and even handle areas like sales and marketing.
1. Customer service
Cloud contact centers provide platforms that enable businesses to stay on top of their customer service and meet clients’ needs.
They can help with customer issues, troubleshooting, and tracking orders. They can also provide services that enable customer retention.
They can provide all sorts of customer solutions through advanced features such as virtual assistants, live chat, and email.
2. Lead Generation
Most contact centers have strong marketing capabilities, helping you engage customers at every stage of your sales funnel. They can take care of some of your marketing tasks, to allow you to focus on your business, digital ads, landing pages, SEO, etc.
3. Increasing sales
Not only can contact centers help with finding new potential customers, but they can also help you expand your business reach and close more deals with people you probably wouldn’t have contacted on-site.
Sales calls are one of the main aspects of any telecommunications strategy, and a Cloud-Contact center allows you to get new customers and close sales anywhere in the world.
4. Appointment setting
A contact center can help you contact your clients to set up meetings, free consultations, providing bids and, consequently, getting broader attention from potential buyers.
This is a very frequent task outsourced by industries such as Real Estate, Automotive, Healthcare practitioners, Solar Panel vendors, POS providers, etc.
A contact center can help you with document collection, such as following up on incomplete proposals, locating missing documents, revisiting previous interactions that had no further development, and in sum, nurturing your prospects through all the stages of your sales funnel.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Contact Centers vs Traditional Infrastructure
Traditional call centers have many limitations. For one, their software is inadequate for how businesses need to communicate now. Cloud-based contact centers, on the other hand, offer the latest innovations in communications technology and bring many benefits for businesses that want to provide exceptional customer service.
To stay relevant, businesses have been constantly adding new channels to better serve customers. Cloud-based contact centers provide messaging, email, chat, social media, and in-app messaging functionalities, which are currently the norm. But many call centers aren’t equipped to provide these capabilities.
Cloud contact center solutions are also lower in cost, eliminating the need for hardware and physical space required by an on-premise solution.
1. Technology innovations
Cloud contact centers provide the technologies their clients need to stay ahead of competitors.
This type of center can handle automation, innovation, and optimization.
2. Omni Channel features and integrations
Cloud contact centers integrate multiple communication channels into one system.
Agents communicate with customers or clients by phone, SMS, email, and keep a record of all past communications that happened.
You can also add third-party integrations to cloud-based phone providers such as CRM, email marketing and team communications.
3. Advanced call routing
Advanced call-routing allows customers and clients to speak to a qualified agent in the right department as swiftly as possible, to address their specific needs.
Automated services like auto-attendant and music-on-hold help in managing high volumes of inquiries without having to increase headcount. Automated features can entertain callers until an agent becomes available.
5. Workforce management features
Workforce management tools are also offered so that agents and supervisors can manage their time effectively.
6. Cost reduction
Cloud contact centers provide information and analyses that can help clients pinpoint areas and ways to reduce costs.
7. Data Analytics
Cloud contact center software is built to collect and organize data on all interactions.
With access to dashboards and analytics, managers and supervisors have all the data they need to optimize the contact center’s performance. For example, data such as average call duration, call waiting time, and agent idle time will help them assess the need for improvements.
How Much Does A Cloud Contact Center Cost?
For cloud-based contact centers, the most common pricing is a pay-as-you-go model. Most cloud contact centers start from $20 to $75 per month, per user, for the use of the software.
This doesn’t include outsourcing the agents, or dedicated experts that can handle your business needs.
Transitioning to a Cloud Contact Center
Take stock of your current customer communications — What needs improvement? What communication channels are your customers using that you aren’t? And are you ready to move everything to the cloud?
When you have decided it’s time to transition to a cloud contact center, you will need a strategy and a plan. Technology should be used strategically, especially when it comes to dealing with customers, you will need a cross-functional team for this task.
The best practice is to round-up system administrators, network engineers, and developers. You and your team can then develop and execute a plan and find the right cloud contact center for your business.
How to Tell if Your Business Needs a Cloud-Based Contact Center
At a certain point in a company’s growth, transitioning to a cloud-based contact center becomes a necessary step. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time for you to explore expanding your communications capabilities and moving to the cloud.
1. Customers are having difficulties contacting you
As your business grows, you may find that the existing communications channels you have are getting too limited; or, your competitors have way more of these channels than you do, and by comparison, your business is harder to reach than others.
2. You spend too much time managing technology
When your IT team manages multiple applications that aren’t integrated, this can get more and more difficult and complicated to manage in the long run.
Cloud contact centers help IT teams with pre-built integrations and open APIs that you can easily use to customize your contact center according to your business needs. Instead of troubleshooting problems and figuring out complicated issues, you and your team can focus on higher-value activities.
3. Your business is growing and scaling quickly
When this happens, you will need to add new agents. This is where a cloud contact center can be of great help.
You can scale your communications abilities without disrupting workflows or requiring IT help.
You can also train agents more easily.
4. Customer and call information are difficult to retrieve and track
With a cloud contact center, you can integrate your CRM, so that agents can access customer profiles and information as they interact with them. This helps them provide customized service and less hassle and frustration for customers.
5. You are providing slow responses to customers’ needs
If it’s currently taking a long time to get the right person in touch with a customer, it may be time to upgrade. Your customers may have urgent issues that require expert solutions.
A cloud contact center can facilitate this efficiently.
Teams are also able to work more collaboratively to solve customer issues.
6. You are being overtaken by the competition
You will want to keep your current customers and attract new ones.
When you are having difficulty staying competitive, due to limited communications capabilities, for example, or seeing competitors doing things faster or more efficiently than you are, this is a sign that it’s time to make some changes.
Customers today have high expectations especially in the area of customer service. If you can meet these expectations, you are likely to inspire customer loyalty and gain a competitive advantage.
Companies need to offer faster, easier ways for customers to get their inquiries answered and issues resolved. Options like webchat give your contact center team the capabilities to respond to customers and meet their needs as swiftly as possible.
7. You have been receiving more customer service complaints
If you are receiving complaints about your customer service, it’s time to level up.
Cloud contact centers also help you continuously improve through the information it gathers.
Cloud contact centers have proven to increase customer service quality. Aside from that, it has been shown that agent productivity improves and customer satisfaction increases with cloud contact centers.
How to Choose the Best Cloud Contact Center Provider
Do your online research first, to find cloud contact centers that excel in the services that will most benefit you.
Some cloud contact centers provide exceptional sales services and others are known for their marketing expertise. Others are industry-focused and you might want to find one with extensive knowledge and experience within your industry.
Create the criteria or checklist of what you are looking for in a cloud contact center partner. Some things to consider when shopping for cloud contact center solutions are size, scope, security, service, and support.
Uptime is a key factor. You want a contact center with a highly reliable quality connection, with at least 99.95% SLA when it comes to uptime.
Customer communications channels must include SMS, chat, video, click-to-call, mobile customer care, call tracking and analytics. You may also prefer Software that comes with built-in integrations with apps like Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Teams, etc.
- A cloud contact center is much like a customer engagement hub. It provides the technology to handle all of an organization’s inbound and outbound communications and to communicate with customers through their preferred channels.
- Cloud contact centers enable companies to stay agile and competitive in this age of multiple communication channels.
- Cloud contact centers can also help clients with a range of administrative and recurring tasks, and even handle areas like sales and marketing.
- Cloud contact centers offer mostly subscription pricing for the use of the technology.
- Traditional call centers come with many limitations, including inadequate software and facilities for how businesses need to communicate now. Cloud-based contact centers, on the other hand, offer the latest in communications technology and bring many benefits for businesses who want to provide exceptional customer service.
- Cloud contact centers provide the technologies their clients need to stay ahead of competitors. Cloud contact centers can handle automation, innovation, and optimization.
- For cloud-based contact centers, the most common pricing is a pay-as-you-go model. Most cloud contact centers start at $20.00 to $75 per month, per user, for the use of the software. This doesn’t include outsourcing the agents, or dedicated experts that can handle your business needs.
- The best practice in transitioning to a cloud contact center is to form a team of system administrators, network engineers, and developers. You and your team can then develop and execute a plan and find the right cloud contact center for your business.
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