Over the last year, we’ve seen much of the workforce shift to remote work as companies adapted to operating during a global pandemic. With this transition, businesses turned to digital technologies powered by the cloud to support their contact center operations. In addition, some organizations have taken it one step further by transitioning their contact center operations to fully remote settings to provide customers with online and contactless customer support.
As teams navigate the new distributed contact center landscape, IT and business decision-makers are evaluating how to make the most of the new cloud-based services they’ve adopted. IT teams that have recently migrated to the cloud are in a position where they can leverage cloud-based tools for everyday use and to scale their services for future growth.
Despite the well-known benefits the cloud offers, such as flexibility, scalability and ease of use, there are still a few challenges that teams can encounter as they navigate a new deployment. Remote contact centers are no different; however, by learning how to address some of the common pain points of cloud migration, businesses will be well-suited for continued growth. Cloud-powered contact centers can scale services and support as needed to accommodate the realities of an uncertain future.
The following are a few best practices to help guide IT teams through some of the common challenges they might face as they adjust to their new cloud contact center.
The Option for Increased Scalability
As a digital-only tool, the cloud does not come with the same physical limitations to scalability that on-premises infrastructure brings. Cloud-based systems make it possible for enterprises to scale quickly in a way that is critical during times of economic uncertainty. For contact centers, cloud-based solutions enable companies to swiftly adjust their support team operations as economic factors directly impact their customers, purchasing patterns and their support needs.
One roadblock that IT teams and business leaders can face after moving to the cloud is scaling their offerings without interrupting their existing services or operations. An option that can be useful in streamlining the scaling process and tackling this hurdle is autoscaling. Autoscaling is the process of dynamically allocating resources to match performance requirements. It brings together the capacity of a resource, as well as the instances of a resource. In contact center settings, this means that the business can scale the number of support representatives working at any given time and location to match the demand. Contact centers with remote operations can scale up or down based on their preferences to ensure they are providing support to customers whenever and wherever they are located.
Autoscaling makes the most of the flexibility of cloud-hosted contact center environments, while simultaneously reducing the need for an operator to keep close tabs on the performance of a system. As the number of support requests change over time, contact centers can assess performance needs to determine if they need to allocate resources elsewhere.
Information silos are another common challenge that can hinder communication and collaboration in contact centers. This can be especially problematic with larger companies where there are multiple contact centers and channels for customers to contact support. In many cases, these silos can be avoided if businesses have a unified overview of department IT investments. However, as more department-specific SaaS tools become available to help automate processes, silos tend to emerge.
In remote contact center operations, information silos can hinder a customer support representative’s ability to locate information about the customer’s order. These information silos can be detrimental to the company’s ability to provide support to the customer, which could have long-term impacts on the company’s reputation.
To bridge the gap between multiple cloud systems that are not compatible with one another, one option is to utilize Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) providers. iPaaS providers can bring together data and applications from different sources and help companies communicate internally in a more effective way. Remote contact centers can work with their IT teams to determine if the iPaaS route makes sense for their operations. As more departments turn to IT investments to ensure resilience against future unknowns, the need for clarity and cross-department integration is critical.
Selecting Cloud Communications Services
After migrating the contact center to the cloud, one of the most important next steps that companies can take is ensuring they have the right solutions in place to enhance their communications. There is a wide range of cloud-based tools that contact centers can use to strengthen and streamline communications. With all the options available, choosing the best cloud-based telecom tools may be overwhelming. Below are a few common configurations for cloud-based communications that decision-makers can consider if they are looking to adopt more cloud-based tools in their contact centers.
- Purpose-built software solutions. Purpose-built software solutions are industry-specific and are pre-integrated into a workflow. In this structure, communication is an embedded capability within an essential and valuable software solution. As an example, contact centers supporting businesses in the hospitality sector can use “purpose-built” solutions to send reservation reminders and allow customers to reach out to customer support while they are staying at a hotel. Industry-specific contact centers can also leverage this technology in a sales scenario to manage communications within their customer relationship management tool.
- Cloud-hosted PBX technology. Cloud-hosted PBX makes it possible for an organization to experience the least amount of disruption to contact center services, while continuing to provide the same capabilities that customers are familiar with. Use cases might include making and receiving calls from customer service teams using a handset or placing a multiparty conference call. The technology eliminates the need for a physical phone and helps power the remote contact center landscape.
- Be Your Own Carrier (BYOC) model. The BYOC model is based in Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) and makes it possible for developers to build and tailor communications within their applications using APIs. BYOC technology helps developers sidestep the complexity involved with running network infrastructure while also helping them keep their customer experience under control. Businesses leveraging a BYOC model will have full control over the communication capabilities of their contact center.
With the global pandemic touching all elements of business, it’s clear that some elements of consumer and work activities will be changed forever. One of the most important lessons that contact centers can learn from the pandemic is the importance of remaining flexible and adaptable as a means of helping the business survive. Additionally, putting the right measures in place now will help companies invest in resilience against unknowns.
By having a deeper knowledge of the steps to take before, during and after cloud migration, IT leaders can shift their operations and communication efforts to maximize their own IT and communication applications. Instead of becoming a Band-Aid solution to the sudden need to work remotely, cloud adoption can help businesses continue to sustain operations and help them thrive in the future.