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Hybrid Contact Centers – The New Normal

Reinventing the customer experience inside contact centers

The prevalence of social media and the power of mobile have quickly turned the business world into a customer-centric one. Sure, there have always been companies devoted to excellent customer service. However, today's engaged consumer expects all businesses to master customer experience management in addition to their core business.

It's clear that cutting-edge technology enables companies to more easily deliver on this expectation. The evolution from on-premise contact center architectures to cloud-based technologies as the key customer communications vehicle is a key driver of advances in customer engagement today.

The cloud-based contact center invigorates all areas of the business. Its access to instant updates versus manually installed updates provides a more swift execution of day-to-day activities that traditional on-premise contact centers cannot promise to waiting customers. As multi-channel customer demands continue to mount for contact center staff, the need to deliver technology that is faster to implement is required, along with an improved version of that technology.

The arguments in favor of moving to the cloud are pervasive in almost every industry: quicker deployment, more flexibility, easier upgrades, accessible support, innovation, and more. The contact center industry is moving - perhaps more slowly than other industries - to the cloud, though legacy infrastructure vendors still work hard to convince decision makers to upgrade to the latest on-premise solution. Of course, contact centers need stability and predictability - but on-premise isn't the only option for that now. The belief that an on-premise offering is the best or only solution doesn't - or shouldn't - hold water for contact centers anymore.

Today's contact center looks quite different than it did even 18 months ago. Locking into a proprietary environment may make sense for some companies. Transitioning the contact center into the cloud, though, has quickly become the new normal.

Contact center customers expect instant access to information and almost immediate problem resolution via a growing number of channels: text, web, phone, chat, and whatever new communications tool is sure to emerge. Contact center leaders need an efficient way to attain technology updates and ensure the best service is given. These dynamic businesses are the backbone of the world's customer-centric companies.

However, since legacy on-premise technologies are deeply embedded in call centers, evolving the business' technology backbone can seem daunting. Delivering a positive customer experience, for example, performing well in an NPS survey, requires great customer experiences and high agent productivity.

Contact centers have been rapidly moving to the cloud with recent research showing the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market to grow between 35 percent and 45 percent each year between 2012 and 2015. Why? For a number of reasons:

  • Immediate access to cutting-edge technology: Moving a contact center to the cloud enables customer satisfaction by creating a nimble underlying technology platform. Contact centers can easily add new channels and strategies, satiating the instant gratification customers crave from their experiences at the drop of a hat.
  • Reducing time and cost while increasing speed to deploy new innovations: Besides eliminating ongoing maintenance fees and large support staffs, a cloud contact center allows for better resource distribution, for example, maximizing agent time or the types of queries agents manage.
  • Flexible, scalable programs: A cloud-based contact center can handle bursts of activity during peak times, ensuring a positive experience for customers, continuously optimizing as your volumes and needs fluctuate throughout the day, week, month, and year.

Welcome to the hybrid contact center where best practice solutions are easily deployed through the cloud without the need for significant capital investment. By doing this, investments are protected and vendor lock-in is avoided. Capacity is provided on-demand - scaling up or down at will.

Customers rule. Contact centers that ignore the benefits of cloud technology may not.

More Stories By Matt Edmunds

Matt Edmunds is VP and CRO Contact Center, Collections, Payments at Genesys | SoundBite. He brings 20 years of hands-on industry and operational experience to his role at SoundBite Communications. He leads sales, marketing, services, and product development efforts tailored for these industries. Prior to joining SoundBite, Edmunds was senior vice president of bankcard operations for Outsourcing Solutions, Inc, where he managed all facility, personnel, strategy and operations decisions for four call center sites with 600 full-time employees. In this role, he was a frequent user of SoundBite’s solution. Prior to joining OSI, Edmunds spent almost nine years at Capital One Financial Corporation leading various customer care and collections strategies.

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