This article originally appeared in CLOUD COMPUTING Magazine
It’s been the reality for some time. Mid-size to large contact centers have had more mature, innovative cloud offerings steered in their direction. Small centers with 50 agents or fewer, however, have had to settle for less functionality, reliability and security from less proven contact center providers. Interestingly, a majority of today’s contact centers have fewer than 50 agents, and they often have the same core requirements as their larger counterparts. Thus, the small center market has been significantly underserved in the cloud.
Good news. This is changing. Market leaders are now offering powerful, simple and cost-effective cloud solutions designed specifically for small contact centers. And not surprisingly, these offerings are inherently more mature and scalable. Small centers no longer have to settle. They now have access to the same cloud platforms as the big boys. The cloud is the great equalizer.
Accordingly, many small centers are asking, “Is now the right time to move to the cloud?” Exploring this is imperative. While not for everyone, many are finding the answer to be, “Yes.” But such a move is not something to take lightly. It’s important to do your homework first. So, where to start?
Qualify the cloud for your small center
Corporate strategy usually drives technology decisions in the contact center. The cloud may help address pressing strategic imperatives. Begin asking some basic qualifying questions to see.
- Is providing exceptional customer service a priority, and will it differentiate our business?
- Has the customer experience suffered due to a lack of resources, expertise, and/or budget?
- How can we offer the same level of service as large contact centers without the same IT army?
- Is there a need to deploy new capabilities more rapidly?
- Can we accomplish more by outsourcing the job of keeping systems up-to-date and running?
If you determine that the cloud does make sense for your small center, you’ll want to begin dialogue with cloud contact center providers. The list is extremely long (likely over 100 providers worldwide), so it’s important to quickly narrow the field.
What to look for in a small center cloud solution
Start thinking about the kind of solution and provider you want to bring on to help enhance the customer experience. Explore the following.
- Level of maturity – are the technology and provider proven?
- Breadth of functionality – what applications are supported?
- Simplicity – how simple will it be to turn-up and manage?
- Risk level – what kind of risk reduction measures are available?
- Scalability – how scalible is the solution in terms of agents and functionality?
Important next steps
Once you’ve qualified the cloud and been educated on viable options, build the business case and see if providers will let you test drive solutions. This is easy to do and can really help in the evaluation process.
The cloud has become the great equalizer and may indeed help your small center play big and turn customer service into a competitive weapon. It’s definitely worth exploring.
Visit www.inin.com to read more about moving your small contact center to the cloud in “A Practical Guide to Understanding if the Cloud is Right for your Small Contact Center,” from which this article is adapted. Then learn more about the Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) Communications as a ServiceSM Small Center Edition, CaaS Small CenterSM.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi