Call centers and the cloud: a perfect fit
Does this sound familiar? Your growing business needs a highly professional call center to handle incoming customer calls, but building that operation from the ground up seems overwhelmingly complex and expensive. You’re not alone, as companies of all sizes struggle with the costs and logistical challenges of setting up their own call center. Thankfully, modern technology is making that process much easier and more affordable, with the introduction of cloud-based call centers.
Just as computer software, data storage, and other business functions can be provided “as a service” over the internet, so too can the call center operation. Cloud services allow companies to quickly deploy, manage and enhance the overall performance of their call center function while keeping their costs well under control.
Here are a few major advantages of a cloud-based call center:
Low barriers to entry
In the not-so-old days before the cloud came along, the masses of data that call center operators accessed from desktop workstations had to go to physical in-house servers and storage centers that had a finite capacity and required a lot of maintenance and calibration. It was an everyday sight to see a harried manager or a member of in-house IT staff wrangling wires, trying to cool a server room, or pursuing all of those other mundane tasks related to taking care of the physical part of digital data storage. None of that applies when your call center software and data is stored in the cloud. Rather than invest millions of dollars in a proprietary system and on-site hardware (plus people to maintain it), you subscribe to an Internet-based service that is ready to use at a fraction of the cost. The cloud service provider – not your business – assumes the risks and responsibilities of owning and maintaining the equipment.
The cloud model makes it possible for small businesses to afford high-end call center services, and you can start with as few as three agents. The simplicity of the cloud-based software means that agents can be trained in a single day, compared to a week or more with an on-premise PBX. And for businesses that require PCI or HIPPA compliance, many of today’s cloud-based offerings come pre-equipped with that functionality.
Whether you call it flexibility, scalability, or “on-demand,” one of the greatest advantages of cloud services is that they allow you to easily throttle capacity up or down to meet the needs of your business. This type of convenience is perfect for call centers, which are always adding and dropping volume in volatile, dynamic fashion.
This guide from EvolveIP shows how many companies “oversubscribe” when it comes to phone lines, and how dynamic workloads cause headaches. These are the types of problems that cloud services are built to get around: with on-demand service, your business can scale up (adding agents, storage, etc.) to fit capacity and drop back down when that capacity is no longer needed. Many cloud service providers offer flexible contracts that are especially useful to seasonal businesses that experience huge spikes of demand at certain times of the year.
Cool call center features
On top of scalability, call centers in the cloud also offer an enhanced set of capabilities that were limited to traditional in-house systems. For example, in addition to calling, customers can work with agents through various online channels such as chat, IM and screen sharing.
And when it comes to measuring performance, many cloud services make it easier to measure key productivity indicators that are so important in a call center, from call minutes to operator calls, to amounts of bandwidth used on a network. Other tools provide user-friendly metrics that gauge customer sentiment, preventing managers from having to listen in on entire customer calls. Best of all, agents don’t have to be in-house to receive guidance from management: anyone working remotely can be tracked in the same ways, as long as they are in the cloud call center environment.
Summing it up, the cloud is perfect for the call center because it gives companies a lower-cost way to build or augment their call center function; flexibility to scale up and down as needed; more advanced tools to optimize business results.
But not all cloud providers are created equal. And that’s where your trusted telecom advisor can be of service. An advisor like Green Telecom Group can help you determine your call center needs, research the most appropriate products and services for your business, and structure a deal to ensure you get the best possible performance at the best price. Contact us today at 949-252-8800. Ask for Robert or Steve.