The cloud is an appealing environment for those contact centers not interested in investing in large capital expenditures to expand their capabilities.

As with any new technology, there are benefits and risks associated with making the move. Each contact center has its own set of unique challenges thus detailed business process mapping is necessary. A properly planned and executed transformation project can make or break your move.

A quick overview of the benefits, concerns and strategies for making the move is a good place to start.

Cloud Benefits

Expense Reduction

One of the key cost benefits is the elimination of large capital expenditures and the ability to make provider payments based on actual usage.

Contact center management can now make strategic decisions about their organization overall without worry that the technology investment will be the main barrier to success. This is especially true when competing against organizations still relying on premise-based contact center solutions. It’s much easier for contact center management to communicate the value of the cloud-based solution to decision makers when the ROI is proven.

Focus on Operations

At the same time, contact center companies can improve agility, reduce technology staff and equipment requirements. It also allows for the support of home-based agents and a virtual environment, allowing companies to reach their goals without building out their infrastructure.

Even Playing Field

Smaller contact centers can now play on the same field with their much larger competitor’s contact centers. Before the arrival of cloud-based technologies, contact centers had to settle for what they could afford in-house. This often meant far less than contact centers with deep pockets.

Reduce Downtime

During periods of business interruption, contact centers using cloud technology are able to quickly and easily reconfigure their campaigns so that their workforce could become home-based or work from wherever they happened to be located. In traditional contact centers agents are connected to the physical location of their technology tools. Now with the help of cloud computing, the technology is available wherever the agents are working.

Cloud applications can be rolled out quickly, a significant benefit given the requirement to get operational as fast as possible, no matter what the circumstances are.

Integrated With Social Media

The number of ways customers can interact with companies has increased significantly with the advent of social media. Now cloud technology is leading the way in listening to all the lines of communication and grouping the conversations together. Phone agents can now see the complete history of the contact they are talking to. This leads to a much improved customer experience.

Cloud Concerns

Like everything else in the business world, there are pros and cons to moving to Cloud Technology.

Tightly Integrated to Business Processes

When a contact center has integrated their operations around one cloud provider and then want to move to another vendor’s solution it will be difficult. File formats, business processes, terminology, reporting are all integrated with your current provider. There will be complexities involved in re-establishing with a new vendor.

Internal Politics

Implementing cloud solutions takes its toll on the existing workforce. There will be obvious resistance to change in the affected functional areas within a contact center. Existing IT staffs may not put their best foot forward. Phone agents have grown accustomed to always doing it one way and now their jobs are changing.

Data Security/Legislation

Every day we hear of another data security breach. When moving your contact center activities to the cloud you give up a certain degree of control. The trade-off is that your provider is exceptionally skilled in keeping data secure.

Your clients may also be very sensitive, in terms of where their data resides and where the hardware is physically located.

Making the Cloud Work for You

Team With Experience

Pick experienced cloud computing business partners. There must be proven experience in the requirements needed to effectively operate within the contact center industry.

Adopt a Multi-Channel Strategy

Many of the new customer contact points are relatively inexpensive compared to the limited contact points of the past. E-Mail distribution, interactive chat, online knowledge bases, community groups, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, can result in significant improvements in customer service when coupled with traditional forms of customer communications.

In this new business environment a contact center company needs to harness the power out of all these channels to deliver a quality service. No better time to start gaining this control than when you’re making your move from premise-based to cloud solutions.

Be Strategic

Moving to the cloud doesn’t need to be an all or nothing project. Select job functions that can easily be transitioned to the new environment. This will help you gain momentum and hopefully support within your contact center.

Once establishing a foothold, then go after the areas that you will gain the most benefit in moving.

Plan for Scalability

The days of paying for seats that you never fill, or being tied down by a contract that was established years ago are over. Cloud architecture should provide you with a way to pay only for what you use, you can then scale up or down based on your contact center’s current situation.

Skills-Based Routing

Identify areas of expertise among your agents and automate the assigning of cases to queues based on geography, product, and type of inquiry is a requirement of your cloud services provider. It’s not just about moving the hardware.

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