Everything You Need To Know About Cloud Contact Center Solutions (FAQs)
What Are Cloud Contact Centers?
A cloud contact center—sometimes referred to as Contact Center-as-a-Service, or CCaaS—is a type of cloud-hosted software that enables businesses to deliver customer support across multiple communication channels, from almost anywhere.
Traditional call centers required organizations to use on-premises hardware and usually only supported customer communication via phone calls. Cloud contact centers have evolved from these legacy solutions, removing the need for hardware and instead providing a centralized hub that routes all inbound and outbound communications over the internet. This makes cloud contact centers much easier to deploy and maintain than their legacy counterparts. It also enables customers to contact the organizations using their preferred method of communication—including phone, email, chat, text messaging, and social media—and makes it easier for organizations to route calls to relevant agents, enabling them to deliver more streamlined customer support.
How Do Cloud Contact Center Solutions Work?
Because a cloud contact center is hosted in the cloud, using virtual servers, storage, and network resources—rather than being tied to a server or physical site like a legacy call center. Because of this, customer service agents can access it from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, a desktop (or cell phone), and a headset. To achieve this, cloud contact centers comprise three main types of technology: Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) systems.
IVR systems are usually the first thing that the customer will interact with when they call an organization’s customer support line. Their purpose is to work out why the customer is calling, so their call can be routed to a relevant agent. IVR systems usually present the customer with a virtual “menu” of reasons why they might be calling, then enable the customer to choose an option by pressing a number on their keypad or by saying their request out loud. Some IVR systems even use speech recognition and sentiment analysis to predict a customer’s emotional state, which helps to personalize the experience.
Once the reason for the call has been established, the cloud contact center uses ACD systems to automatically route incoming calls to available agents that are qualified to help with the request. There are two types of intelligent routing that could come into play here: attribute-based routing which connects customers to agents based on their needs and the context of the call; or priority-based routing pushes the most urgent calls to the front of the queue. Both types of intelligent routing ensure that the customer is directed to a qualified agent in the right department as quickly as possible.
The cloud contact center uses VoiP to connect customers with agents. VoiP is a technology that turns audio into digital data and sends it over the internet. When the customer’s voice data reaches the agent, it’s transformed back into sound so the agent can hear it through their headset. This eliminates the need for physical phone lines, which means the agents can receive calls from anywhere (well, anywhere with an internet connection).
Cloud contact center software also integrates with other communication platforms, such as email and social media, so that customers can reach the organizations via their preferred communication channel. As with phone calls, the cloud contact center assigns all incoming messages to a relevant, available agent. To ensure that all communication data is kept in sync, cloud contact centers also integrate with CRMs. This means that, if a customer were to send a message and call, both instances of communication would be logged, making it easier to keep track of the request and deliver a seamless customer experience.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Cloud Contact Center?
If your organization delivers customer support, there are a few reasons that you might benefit from implementing a cloud contact center:
- Maximise productivity and improve customer experience: Cloud contact centers enable you to provide an omnichannel customer support experience, which means that your customers can contact you via their preferred means of communication. Additionally, by automatically and intelligently routing calls to a relevant, qualified agent, cloud contact centers can speed up ticketing processes and reduce hold times, both of which help improve response times and customer experience.
- Better manage your workforce: Cloud contact centers provide analytics and workforce management tools that can help you optimise your customer service operations. For example, you can use historical data to predict when you’re likely to be most busy and make staffing decisions around that to ensure you’ve got the right number of people working.
- Gain insights into your customer base: The same analytics tools can help you gain valuable insights into your customer base and why they’re calling, so you can improve your services the next time around. For example, if a lot of customers are calling in response to a marketing campaign, you know that type of campaign works and is valuable.
- Scale when you need it: Because cloud contact centers are cloud-hosted, you can easily scale up your solution to accommodate higher request volumes and customer demand as your business grows. Instead of having to install new hardware, you simply reach out to your contact center provider to upgrade your subscription and set up new agent accounts. Additionally, you can add on support for new communication methods whenever you want to, without having to build any new hardware.
- Reduce upfront costs: On-premises call centers require you to invest in expensive equipment such as data centers, servers, routers, workstations, and power supplies. Then, once you’ve bought and installed this hardware, you have to maintain it. With a cloud contact center, the provider handles all of this for you off-site—you just pay a monthly subscription fee for the service.
What Features Should You Look For In A Cloud Contact Center?
When comparing cloud contact centers, there are a few features that you should look out for. These include:
- Omnichannel customer service: One of the main benefits of implementing a cloud contact center is that they enable you to connect with your customers through various communication channels. Look for a solution that offers support for any methods you want to use to reach your customers, including inbound and outbound calls, chat, social media, email, and video.
- Reporting and analytics: Your chosen solution should offer in-depth reports into each agent’s call duration, quality, and performance, along with call trends and patterns. The best cloud contact center solutions also offer AI-driven analytics that help you improve customer engagement and workforce productivity. Specifically, look for a tool that: logs customer histories, which your teams can use to respond to requests more efficiently; tracks calls and reason for calling, so you can predict your workforce capacity and better plan your staffing; and uses conversational analytics to log customer drop-offs so you know when and why the conversation ended.
- Security: Look for a solution that uses industry-standard encryption protocols to secure your and your customers’ data during transit and at rest. Your solutions should also offer granular access controls that enable you to define role-based permissions for your agents, supervisors, and admins. This means that each user will only be able to perform authorized actions based on their job role.
- Compliance and auditing: Your solution should create comprehensive audit trails of all system changes and user activities, including access attempts. This can help you detect unauthorized activity, respond to incidents, and prove compliance. If you’re operating in a highly regulated industry, you should also look for a solution that has relevant compliance certifications.
- Integrations: In order to provide a seamless customer experience and communications hub for your workforce, your cloud contact center needs to integrate with your existing technology stack. Some of the most common tools it should integrate with are your CRM (to pull in customer information from across the company), your call monitoring system, your knowledge base so agents can quickly troubleshoot during calls, your workforce management system to optimize staffing, your instant messaging/team chat application, and your single sign-on tool for simplified login.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR): IVR is likely to be the first point of communication any time a customer reaches out to your business. Your cloud contact center should use a smart IVR system to take down key customer details when they first contact you. This system should have personalized greetings and local language optimizations, and it should be able to respond differently based on caller ID, account status, and in instances where there’s a known issue with a product.
- Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): Your cloud contact center should use ACD to automatically route calls to relevant, available agents in the right department. This will help minimize hold times and ensure customers are connected with people in the right department that can help them.
- Intelligent routing: The best cloud contact centers use intelligent routing to connect callers with the agent that best fits their need, rather than the first agent that’s available. This helps minimize call handling times, maximize active engagement, and improve customer satisfaction.