Uptil recently, enterprises majorly invested in “legacy” business software model. According to Forrester Research –
“Around two third of the software budgets in 2015 were allocated to to this model”
Two examples of this are Customer Relationship Management and Contact Centers. Both these areas used to be heavily dependent on manpower. But, with time and technological advancements a lot of the processes and systems have been become automated, especially CRM cloud solutions. However, the same cannot be said about the contact centers. There has hardly been any major shift to cloud contact centers.
But, there is a wave of change. Today, trends are favoring cloud contact centers over on-premises solutions. Before we take the discussion further, we need to first differentiate between the two for better understanding.
What is On-Premises Contact Center?
An on-premise based solution is one where the hardware, software and all the required infrastructure is placed on your premises. These solutions can take varied forms, such as, PBX or IP PBX etc.
Having an on-premise contact center means that you own it and are also responsible for its maintenance. Everything from the hardware to software, servers to your headsets to integration support is controlled internally. It requires you to invest in suitable infrastructure for the same. Thus, it requires a lot of investment and upkeep on the part on the organization.
What is Cloud Contact Center?
Cloud contact centers are an evolution to on-premise contact centers. They are one of the focal points of an organization and is hosted on the internet servers. All inbound and outbound customer interactions are handled through it. Cloud contact centers enable customer interactions through omni-channel that too via the web.
The Current Trends: Cloud Contact Center
Now that we have got some idea about what a contact center is, let’s talk about the current trend in the domain i.e. Cloud Contact Centers. In recent years, we have seen a considerable increase in the use of cloud contact centers. According to a report by Marketsandmarkets:
“The cloud-based contact center market size is estimated to grow from USD 5.43 Billion in 2016 to USD 15.67 Billion by 2021, at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.6%.”
A Forrester report predicts that the global cloud market will reach $146 billion this year and $236 billion by 2020. But why? How are cloud contact centers better than their on-premise counterparts?
Let us look at some of the advantages of Cloud Contact Centers:
1. Agent Versatility
Cloud solutions are easy to set up and provide 24 hour service to the clients. Contact centers hire agents from different geographies. This ensures a comprehensive approach to problem-solving in the least amount of time. Having agents from various contact centers gives the brand greater flexibility and also ensures efficiency.
2. Improved Efficiency
A cloud solution does not just increase agent versatility, but also improves their efficiency. The user interface of the cloud solution is easy to understand.Data from all the channels is reflected in real time. Prioritizing customers become easier with features such as IVR. It ensures callback is arranged according to urgency levels. Moreover, this improves agents’ productivity as her/his time is saved and the customer is also routed to the best-suited agent as per their prob
3. Cost Effective
Cloud based solutions prove to be a lot more cost effective as compared to on premise contact centers. Firstly, it is easier to upgrade in case of cloud centers. This further helps in integrating other platforms. Thereby, clients get access to different channels and/or platforms without any significant cost addition.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud based contact centers is the ease with which one can scale their operations as per current demand. Increasing the bandwidth in times of high demand (Peak time) and going back to original size during usual demand.
5. Superior Customer Experience
Having a wide variety of agents with varied expertise gives the organization the capability to handle an array of customer problems. When the agents feel empowered and appreciated, it reflects in their interactions with the customers. Hence, higher, the agent satisfaction, better the customer experience.
6. Multi Tenacity with Ease
A good cloud contact center has vendors which provide seamless up gradation and improvements. One of the biggest advantages of a cloud based contact center is simultaneous and time effective integration of multiple contact centers. This means that multiple contact centers will remain up to date and a lot more secure. A good cloud contact center will be able to able to add on a new user/client in no time.
7. Hire Skilled Staff Across Geographies
The only need of cloud software is internet access and your machine. This enables the companies to hire skilled staff even from different geographies. It ensures best manpower to cater to customer requirements as well as becomes cost effective.
8. Environment Friendly
We all are aware of the increasing need to preserve our environment. Through cloud contact centers, the organizations get to do their bit. Since practically all the resources are shared and are available only when required, no resource is wasted. Apart from having many benefits as it is, this is another way through which organizations can give back to the environment and encourage sustainable development.
Cloud-based contact centers are here to stay. The current notion is that they are most suitable for SMEs Start-ups and for large enterprises, with complex business requirements and highly sensitive data, on-premise contact centers are still a much better choice. Having said that, the decision ultimately depends on your business requirements and the future prospects.