The Contact centre in it’s truest form has been around since the early 50’s and mid 60’s with the introduction of Automatic Call Distributors (ACD) it enabled what we now know as our more “traditional” call and contact centre environments, the ability to direct large volumes of calls with specific routing options the Call centre was born.

It’s continued to evolve as technology, digitisation and SaaS has been developed over the year up to current day where you can have an entire contact centre built from the comfort of your armchair and it’s been growing probably since around 2004 when more cloud based contact centres started to emerge.

But what really are the advantages of having a cloud based service for your contact centre, why is it important, what benefits can it give and is it right for your contact centre or is it just for the big boys who have high volume capacity?

Here we explore some of the challenges contact centres face and how Cloud based Contact centre services can help improve some of these challenges. Let’s explore the challenges that the typical contact centre faces.

  • Managing call demand effectively
  • Creating highly engaged and motivated employee
  • Having flexible channels for customer communication
  • Having multiskilled agile workforce
  • Managing multiple systems
  • High operating costs through, equipment, office costs and people

This isn’t an exhaustive list but a lot of these challenges when looking at contact centre based cloud solutions can be resolved so let’s look at how and what’s available to help tackle some of these issues.

Managing Call demand

Cloud based services will in most cases include some intelligent routing software and cloud based IVR technology – this allows for huge opportunity to manage calls before they even reach an agent.

With the ability to fuse directly into your CRM system by clever Application programme Interface (API) links in the cloud, you can identify your callers within the IVR and provide self service opportunities for customers to avoid speaking to an agent unnecessarily.

What’s the added by product of this for Customers that still go on to speak to your agents, well you’ve already established the identity of your customers and in some respects if you have used Natural language routing you already have an idea of what they want to discuss which has significant ability to reduce down the average handling time in your contact centre which enables you to handle more calls and meet service levels better which in turn has a positive impact on customer experience metrics such as NPS and Customer satisfaction

Creating highly engaged and motivated employee

We know that contact centres can suffer from high attrition which has a direct impact on our ability to service our customers, but it also has a high cost on recruitment and training resource with a revolving door on new entrants in some contact centres. Having highly engaged and motivated staff can help resolve this and whilst traditionally we may use sweets, chocolate, wine and donuts to help motivate this is only a short-term sugar rush fix.

Gamification in the contact centre provided though Cloud based technology is a growing business with more contact centres gamifying metrics such as handling  time, customer feedback, productivity and displaying this real time through effective use of API links to CRM’s and customer feedback and telephony dashboards from hosted providers, this has the ability to motivate and inspire the work force to be better, creating healthy competition, league tables and personal motivation for teams to compete. The visual displays available through wall boards now replace your white board or A frame with flip chat paper and helps keep the focus and emphasis on the customer.

communicationHaving flexible channels for customer communication

It used to be that the only way for a customer to contact you was to write to you, usually in the form of a complaint or call you. Then with the digital age we evolved a little bit more with the introduction of email and that helped speed up the process but also created more demand for the contact centre agents and new workflow and response times to manage.

Customers now have using the cloud a plethora of ways to engage with you which can help reduce demand and increase First contact resolution, emphasis on CONTACT rather then CALL these days. Omni channel communication platforms using the cloud allow Customer to interact with you in their chosen medium, SMS, Call, Email, Web Chat and even now CHAT bot, automated pre-loaded and intuitive chat systems that can interface with your customers in an almost human level.

Having multiskilled agile workforce

What are the benefits of so many flexible options for your customers to engage you on? Well firstly it allows your customer to decide how they want to engage as their preference and if we get this journey right it creates huge fans and advocates of your customers who then become great brand ambassadors for your customer service! It also reduces the VOICE demand on how many agents you physically need available to service your customers demand, Web Chat facilities often mean agents can chat to multiple customers, 5/6 potentially per agent so makes significant gains in productivity.

What’s more the Cloud based solutions makes it very easy to change skill levels of agents from Web chat to Voice skills interchangeably allow you to have a flexibly blended workforce that meets the demands of your customers.

Managing multiple systems

Often On premise solutions means that the contact centre needs a server in the building and a network in which to pass information back and forth, this is often slow and in a  lot of cases needs an overnight cycle to “refresh” and also often expensive in house IT functions to help service all your systems, there are multiple licenses to consider and expensive service contracts, not to mention that the technology can quickly become outdated.

Cloud based technology is at the forefront and can be easily updated in the cloud with minimal to no interruption to your customer experience or agent experience ad with most cloud based solutions being totally configurable they can pluOmni channel Cloud technologyg into other cloud based software as long as there are API links available to do so, which means you can link all your systems together and allow them to talk to each other.

The benefits of this can be significant in ease of application for your call centre agents, instead of waiting for long load times as the system loads the data, cloud solutions load quicker by accessing relevant data as and when it’s needed which has a direct impact on your Average handling time and with all things under one roof navigation for your agents becomes an added by product which can save seconds if not minutes on transactions.

High operating costs through, equipment, office costs and people

Quite possibly one of the biggest advantages of Cloud based technology is the flexibility and ease of roll out. When the Covid pandemic hit, if we were in a different time this could quite possibly have crippled the contact centre industry, but almost overnight using Cloud based contact centre technology contact centres transformed to more remote working contact centre teams.

Moving your contact centre from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution has significant gains in how agile your workforce can be and how lean you can be with your operating costs. Working from home has almost become the new norm thanks to cloud-based contact centre solutions. This has transformed the landscape for the contact centre industry with agents in some instances becoming more product and more engaged as they develop a newfound work-life balance that wasn’t possible with lengthy commutes to and from the office. The upshot of all this is contact centres are looking at the size of the office they need and how many seats they require which ultimately could save a significant amount on contact centre operating expenses, which can be reinvested into optimising customer experience even further.

So in conclusion……

The upside of Contact centre cloud solutions does inevitably mean that the traditional contact centre could become a thing of the past with row upon row of agents sat next to each other in a  busy bustling environment, and whilst that makes me sad as I love the “noise” of the contact centre, I’m also excited to see where this could take us and how this could evolve even further. The traditional ACD contact centre has evolved and even the smallest contact centres are embracing Cloud based solutions and more providers continue to pop up and the market fills this technology will become more cost effective and evolve with each new enhancement that is pioneered to better serve our customers.

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