The cloud is among the top technology trends that have transformed the contact center industry. In 2020, Cisco found that more than half (62%) of contact centers planned to implement a cloud contact center within the next 18 months. A Deloitte survey during the pandemic saw this number increase to 75% over the next two years.
Many benefits have fueled this rampant trend. For starters, the cloud offers greater scalability to contact centers, enabling operations to grow with the business. It also facilitates a more agile approach to CX as the contact center can install powerful applications with just a few clicks of a mouse. Alone, these advantages over on-premise software enable significant ROI.
Yet, there are hundreds of cloud contact center solutions to choose from – each with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. It is, therefore, difficult for contact centers to decipher which will best meet its needs. However, many of the leading solutions share several traits. Let’s untangle these after discussing the meaning of cloud-based contact center technology in a little more detail.
What Is a Cloud-based Contact Center Solution?
The cloud offers a global network of dedicated servers that users and their systems can access via the internet. As such, it eliminates the need to host software applications on-premise or on privately owned servers and mainframes. Instead, contact centers can partner with a software vendor that hosts applications on remote servers (owned by the company or by public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google). Users can then install the software via the internet.
Every cloud-based contact center follows this methodology. In doing so, many offer an end-to-end solution that provides agents with call, text, messaging, email, social media, and even video capabilities. Companies can then engage with customers across multiple channels.
Also, these solutions often provide the necessary tools to engage in workforce planning, build reports, and monitor performance. Such applications are hosted remotely – i.e., “in the cloud”.
What Are the Benefits of a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution?
Typically, a good cloud-based contact center solution will allow users to:
- Quickly set up the contact center– Cloud contact centers are fast and easy to set up. IT professionals can do so remotely, using just a single license. A good internet connection is all that is necessary.
- Adopt new technologies with ease– Users can add capabilities to the contact center through a native connector. Application programming interface (API) integrations are also often available, enabling users to combine the best features of various cloud solutions.
- Reduce in-house effort– With a cloud-based contact center solution, there is no need to devote in-house efforts to solution maintenance. The vendor will roll out software patches, security fixes, and updates via the cloud.
- Gain from remote managed services– Not only does the vendor update the cloud contact center remotely, but they often oversee the entire implementation and configuration process. For medium-sized businesses without a large IT team, this is ideal.
These benefits are universal across cloud contact centers. However, no two solutions are exactly alike. They will offer different apps, integrations, and functionality. For many companies, deciding which is most suitable is a minefield. Get it right, and the contact center can harness many emerging innovations that add genuine value. Get it wrong, and many sleepless nights lie ahead.
Yet, to move forward with confidence, it is essential to understand the characteristics of a good cloud-based contact center solution.
What Are the Characteristics of a Good Cloud-based Contact Center Solution?
When choosing a cloud-based contact center, look for the following key features:
- Automation features – The solution should automate core contact center processes like call routing, queue management, and desktop activities. Such a solution reduces the pressure on agents and enables contact centers to provide better service without adding seats.
- Remote work capabilities – A cloud solution, by definition, is accessible on any device or system. Therefore, the platform should offer a feature-rich mobile interface that agents can use without accessing their desktops. Agent assist, omnichannel routing, and other features shield be available on every device.
- Contact center analytics – The cloud allows users to process high quantities of customer interaction data without capacity constraints. Why? Because the company stores no data on-premise. The solution should include an AI-powered analytics engine to maximize this capability.
- Regular updates and prompt support – The solution should have a clear feature roadmap and online support so that users can report bugs or request new features. As such, vendors must have a reputation for responding quickly to support requests.
- No hidden costs – A reputable cloud vendor will offer a simple pricing structure where companies pay for what they use. In other words, business leaders should know the costs they will incur upfront for an exact number of seats and a predetermined set of features. Since providers will send automated bills at the end of every month, according to this criteria, this is a crucial characteristic to remember.
Our Recommendations for a Good Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution in 2022
Itching to invest in a cloud-based contact center? Well, there are many options available in the market, which is perhaps both a blessing and a curse.
Genesys has two offerings in this segment – Cloud CX, which is hosted by Genesys, and Multicloud CX, which users can host on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or Adobe infrastructure.
NICE is another company that provides its flagship CXone solution within the cloud. Like many others, it provides an open cloud platform, which allows for an array of API integrations.
An additional familiar name is Cisco Webex is also a leading offering in this space. Others include Salesforce, Zendesk, and Avaya. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. After all, the market is rapidly expanding, with Gartner predicting that cloud-based contact center solutions will rake in revenues of $17.9 billion by 2024.
In such a crowded marketplace, contact centers should engage with numerous vendors to find the solution that best meets their needs. Yet, to set contact centers off on a path to success, Gartner releases a Magic Quadrant guide to assess a selection of cloud contact center solutions annually.
To uncover the latest results, read our article: Gartner Magic Quadrant for CCaaS 2021