2 May 2019

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The 5 Benefits of Using a Cloud-Based Contact Center

Business Internet Service by Tom Collins

Are you a new business trying to decide between cloud-based contact center technology and an on-premise deployment? Nearly half of global contact centers have already deployed cloud-based solutions, according to IDC research. One-third of the remaining organizations surveyed by the researchers are currently in the process of transitioning from premises-based solutions to the cloud.

A lot of companies of all sizes are moving to cloud-based contact center technology. Why, you ask?

Mid-sized organizations and contact centers with 300 and fewer agent seats are among the fastest-growing sector of the cloud contact center market. However, enterprises and small businesses are also quickly replacing their on-site data centers and technologies with technologies such as voice-over-IP phone systems (VoIP) and Unified Cloud Communications (UC or UCaaS). Businesses of all sizes can stand to gain better cost structures, uptime, reduced overhead, and more. We’ll show you five of the most common reasons that organizations of all sizes and types can benefit significantly from adopting cloud-based contact center technology.

5 Cloud-Based Contact Center Benefits

Regardless of whether your organization is new to contact center technology or transitioning from a longstanding premises-based solution, you're aware that customer communications are critical to the reputation and success of your business. If your contact center technology doesn't work consistently or effectively, you could risk damaged customer relationships or frustrated employees. By transitioning to the cloud, organizations are unable to unlock unified communications, including centralized customer communications across multimedia channels such as voice, chat, social media, customer relationship management software (CRM), and email for a more streamlined customer experience.

According to the IDC study, one of the most commonly-reported benefits among organizations who have transitioned to cloud-based contact center technology is improved customer service (72%). Three-quarters of organizations report gains from adding new tools for customer interaction through unified cloud apps, including new social media features or chatbots. While stronger customer engagement and satisfaction can have a direct impact on your customer retention and profitability, other research-supported benefits of adopting cloud-based contact center technology can boost your entire business. These include better cost models, 24/7/365 uptime, reduced overhead, no hardware depreciation, and reduced waste.

1. Better Budgeting

The costs of a premises-based contact center system are unpredictable and generally require a significant, upfront investment. Organizations must pay for a considerable amount of software and hardware before agents can begin taking calls. In general, a premises-based deployment takes 7-24 months, and creating change within the technology environment requires 9-12 months. The initial costs can be prohibitive for bootstrapped startups and small-to-midsized businesses.

Cloud-based contact center technology offers organizations of all sizes the ability to move from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model to an Operational Expenditure (OpEx) model. Two-thirds (66%) of organizations surveyed by IDC cite better budgeting as a top-five benefit of cloud contact center adoption. By outsourcing technology and maintenance to a vendor, organizations can unlock a predictable, transparent monthly billing structure. By paying for the costs of the system over time instead of upfront, small businesses can invest funds towards growth, research, development, and other areas which can drive profitability.

Learn more about how the overall lifetime costs of cloud solutions compare to premises-based options in 10 Factors that Impact UCaaS System Total Cost of Ownership.

2. 24/7/365 Uptime

What is a good uptime for a premise-based contact center? It's hard to estimate since few organizations admit publicly that internally-maintained systems fail. What is clear, however, is that customers feel it first hand when communications are unavailable. 86% of customers are willing to pay more to do business with a brand that consistently delivers a great customer experience in 2019. With customer trust at all-time lows, dissatisfied customers are more vocal than ever before, telling 13 of their friends on-average about a bad experience. A premises-based system which doesn't work reliably could be an absolute liability to your bottom line.

With the right cloud contact center partnership, your business can achieve near -100% uptime in communications technology. Prioritize partnering with vendors who offer an uptime guarantee of 99.999% or higher, which is backed by a service-level agreement. Atlantech Online protects customer resource availability with best-of-class business continuity planning, including local high-end routing equipment in our Rockville and Silver Spring, Maryland data centers and both local and remote backup locations. We further protect client continuity by connecting our data centers directly to high-speed, high-bandwidth fiber connectivity for low-latency, direct-peering connectivity for our clients.

3. Reduced Office Overhead

Cloud-based contact center technology can be extended to a global, remote workforce. This can connect your contact center over multiple geographic locations, or allow your business to extend connectivity to a new talent force of home-based contact center agents. In many cases, your IT team or vendor can even remotely provision this connectivity to home-based agents and remote workers through convenient, remote "zero-touch" provisioning through a web-based administration portal. Most premises-based communications deployments lack the flexibility to support a remote workforce, and the vast majority lack convenient zero-touch provisioning capabilities.

When your organization isn't bound by the physical limitations of premises-based contact center technology, your business can gain the ability to reduce office overhead significantly. In challenging and high-cost real estate markets such as the greater Washington DC Metro area, this can save small and quickly-growing businesses an enormous amount of money each month which can be redirected into growth.

Not only is reduced office overhead a benefit to the company's bottom line, but it's also appealing to employees, too. Research has found that employees of all ages who are given the opportunity to work from home are much happier and better engaged with their work and “massively more productive.” 70% of the organizations surveyed by IDC cite “better agent efficiency and productivity” as a top-five benefit of adopting cloud-based contact center technology.

4. No Hardware Maintenance

There's little question that maintaining a premises-based contact center technology ecosystem is a time-consuming burden for the information technology department. To properly install and implement a new system, the team must plan the necessary hardware, licensing, setup, and test software compatibility before deployment. The IT team must perform regular upgrades and maintenance activities to the hardware and software, purchase new software, and collaborate with vendors to scale the system regularly. In many cases, adequately managing special phone systems, software, and hardware requires specialized expertise and training.

With cloud-based contact center technology, the hardware required for business communications is hosted remotely by a trusted vendor. Your business is required to maintain a minimum of equipment on-site, which is typically limited to routers, phone handsets or softphone clients which would require agent headsets. The handsets are connected directly to IP connectivity. Your IT staff can work to provision and scale the phone system through a convenient web-based portal while monitoring performance metrics the system maintenance and hardware monitoring to the vendor. This allows organizations to redirect internal talent resources, and in some cases, even avoid hiring internal IT resources.

5. Less Waste

As your contact center grows, it's necessary to scale your phone lines. With premises-based architecture, this requires organizations to purchase new capacity--including hardware and software. Many businesses do not need the same contact center capacity year-round. If your business is one of many organizations who hires seasonal employees to cover peak demand for several months each year, you may be forced to make an expensive investment to cover annual demand and pay for unused capacity many months out of the year.

Cloud contact center vendors offer a flexible approach to billing which is based on the total number of phone lines and features used each month, allowing your organization to avoid the waste of paying of unused licenses, hardware, or capacity. If your business call volume slows down drastically each January, ensure a prospective vendor will allow you to scale down your service on an annual basis and pay according to use.

Do You Have Enough Broadband Internet?

More than half of all the contact centers worldwide are powered by cloud-based technology, and it's clear why organizations of all sizes are making the switch. Moving your call center from premises-based technology deployments to a cloud-based contact center can benefit all stakeholders. You're likely to experience happier customers as you unlock more reliable communications and new, multimedia Unified Communications tools. You can improve employee satisfaction and engagement with new remote work options. Your business can benefit from reduced waste, less strenuous IT activities, better cost forecasting, and superior uptime.

Appreciating the potential rewards of cloud technology requires organizations to have sufficient bandwidth and data connectivity to support crystal-clear constant cloud communications. Also make sure you have enough call appearances available on your SIP trunks. 

To learn whether your business is currently wired to support a cloud call center, we recommend the free eBook: The Insider’s Guide to Fiber Internet Connectivity. Give Atlantech Online a call directly for a no-obligation consultation about your specific implementation, contact center needs, and to learn whether your building is wired for fiber.  





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.