- What is a cloud contact center?
- How does a cloud contact center work?
- Benefits of cloud contact center over on-premise contact center
- Key features of cloud-based contact center
- 1. Omnichannel customer service
- 2. Workforce management and wide integration capabilities
- 3. Analytical insight for strategic decision making
- Tips for choosing the right cloud contact center software
- Implementing a cloud contact center for your business
What is a cloud contact center?
A cloud contact center (also called a cloud call center) is a type of contact center that is hosted in the cloud and helps businesses deliver customer support, handling all inbound and outbound communications, from virtually anywhere.
It goes beyond the traditional contact center’s basic functionalities of answering phone calls to resolve customer issues. Cloud contact centers act as a centralized hub to integrate all customer interactions, regardless of the business location and the choice of communication channel. A typical cloud contact center improves customer communications, offering solutions such as interactive voice response (IVR), call recording and analytics.
Interesting read: Different types of contact centers in the market
How does a cloud contact center work?
A cloud contact center operates entirely on the cloud, utilizing virtualized servers, storage and network resources provided by a cloud service provider. It eliminates the need for on-premises hardware, reducing upfront costs and infrastructure management responsibilities.
Instead, cloud contact centers use VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and other cloud-based technologies.
VoIP, short for Voice over IP, is a technology that turns your voice into digital data, compresses it and sends it over the internet. It's like converting your voice into a digital "package" and delivering it online.
A VoIP service provider sets up the call for you and other participants. When the data reaches the recipient, it's unpacked and transformed back into sound that you can hear through your phone or speaker. So, instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP lets agents make calls using the internet.
Example: Let's consider Sarah, a boutique owner facing a flood of customer inquiries after an influencer promotion.
To handle the surge and adapt quickly, Sarah opts for a cloud contact center. She selects a provider, configures the software to her needs and integrates it with her existing systems.
The cloud-based setup allows her to hire remote customer support staff, ensuring seamless assistance from anywhere. The convenience and flexibility of the cloud also empower Sarah to handle the increased demand and provide excellent customer service.
Benefits of cloud contact center over on-premise contact center
There are many ways a cloud contact center benefits you instead of an on-premise center.
Speed up customer response time and augment customer experiences.
Easily scale up or down to accommodate fluctuations in call volumes and customer demand.
Reduce upfront costs and maintenance expenses by eliminating the need for expensive on-premise infrastructure.
Quickly adapt to changing business requirements, support remote work, and add new features with ease.
Support remote teams with flexible workforce management and access to wider talent pools.
But to better understand how a cloud contact center differs from an on-premise contact center, refer to the table below.
Cloud-based contact center
On-premise contact center
Hosted in the cloud by a service provider
Installed and managed on-site by the organization
Easily scalable to meet changing business needs
Limited scalability due to hardware limitations
Enables remote access for agents and supervisors
Restricted to on-site access, limiting remote work options
Relies on cloud infrastructure and data centers
Requires dedicated hardware and server infrastructure
Service provider handles maintenance and updates
In-house IT team is responsible for maintenance and upgrades
Typically operates on a subscription-based pricing model
Involves higher upfront costs for hardware, software licenses and infrastructure
Supports seamless integration with various systems and applications
Integration may require additional resources and custom development
Provides built-in redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities
Requires manual setup and implementation of backup and recovery systems
Service providers offer robust security measures and compliance certifications
Security measures are managed by the organization, which may require more investment and expertise
Cloud contact centers bring specific technical advantages to large businesses.
They are scalable, which means they can effortlessly handle high call volumes, eliminating the need for costly infrastructure investments.
By leveraging contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) models built on cloud contact center, enterprises can achieve significant cost efficiency, paying only for the resources they use. They can centralize their operations across channels and easily adapt to changing customer needs. Moreover, cloud contact centers provide a culturally sensitive, global reach, enabling consistent service delivery across regions.
These technicalities empower large businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences, stay agile, and thrive in the competitive landscape.
Dive deeper: Top benefits of cloud-based contact centers
Key features of cloud-based contact center
Since a cloud-based contact center exclusively allows remote access to agents, it’s important to consider all the features of an ideal one. Here is a three-way broad classification to watch out for.
1. Omnichannel customer service
The top feature of a cloud-based contact center is that it empowers you to provide a truly omnichannel customer experience. It helps you map multiple touchpoints in the customer journey and proactively reach out to them on their preferred channels. Since you can handle all customer communication over inbound and outbound calls, chat, social and even video — simply through an internet connection, you can:
Build a complete 360-degree view of the customer, with context brought in from all the channels
Reduce the need to manually rely on third-party tools to fetch context during live interactions
Ensure consistent, carefully- interconnected experiences that reflect the voice of your brand
2. Workforce management and wide integration capabilities
Since a cloud-based contact center is hosted virtually, you don’t have a direct way to manage your team that’s spread across multiple geographies. And so, another important feature you should look out for is a robust system for workforce management.
Agents must be equipped with an integrated system that helps them do their jobs independently — with minimal intervention, if any.
And to make that happen, good cloud contact centers empower them with AI that helps them improve customer engagement in real-time.
Get complete customer context at every step through your integrated CRM and APIs
Strengthen your team by enabling agents and supervisors to collaborate on cases with complete customer histories
Gauge your workforce capacity and plan your staffing intelligently — for example, more skilled agents during a website downtime
Engage customers through AI-powered responses, contextually built after analyzing customer sentiment, intent and tone
3. Analytical insight for strategic decision making
A feature or benefit of a cloud contact center is its ability to equip agents, supervisors, and decision-makers with the right insight, the helpful analytical thought.
Gain profound customer insights by merging data at every touchpoint
Know exactly when and why customers drop off with real-time conversational analytics
Find out why your customers are contacting you and be ready to troubleshoot their problems in time
A contact center in the cloud that has excellent analytical tools can be really helpful. It not only helps you quickly figure out what the current problems are, but also allows you to identify specific patterns in the questions and concerns people have.
Tips for choosing the right cloud contact center software
You now know what particular features you need to look for in your cloud contact center software. To find a solution that ticks all the boxes, follow these tips below.
1. Have clarity on your requirements
A cloud contact center benefits businesses the most when implementing one that aligns with their goals. So, brainstorm and chart clarity on “why” you need a cloud contact center.
Decide on your customer service objectives like fixing low CSAT or high average handle time
Analyze current volumes, patterns and intensity of labor needed to solve cases
Decide on your preferred communication channels
Evaluate budget, investment and cost considerations
Seek expert input from internal stakeholders like your IT head, CX lead and frontline agents
All in all, take into account every aspect that gives you clarity on why you need a cloud contact center.
2. Choose for high reliability and uptime
Ensure that the cloud contact center solution has a reliable infrastructure with high availability and uptime guarantees.
Disaster recovery mechanisms: Look for robust backup, redundancy and failover systems to quickly recover and resume operations during unforeseen incidents or outages.
Proactive monitoring: The solution should have monitoring tools that continuously track performance, detect issues and resolve them promptly to minimize service interruptions.
High availability guarantees: Verify the documented service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees high uptime (e.g., 99.9%) and compensations for any breaches, ensuring reliable and accessible service.
Scalability and load balancing: Assess the solution's ability to handle increased call volumes, dynamically allocating resources and utilizing load balancing mechanisms for optimal performance.
Regular maintenance and updates: Inquire about scheduled maintenance windows and timely software updates to minimize disruptions and address security vulnerabilities.
These tips will help you select a cloud contact center software with robust infrastructure and minimal service interruptions.
3. Don’t sideline security and compliance
Verify that the cloud contact center solution provides robust security measures to protect sensitive customer data.
Data encryption: Ensure that the solution offers proper encryption mechanisms to protect private data during transmission and storage. Look for industry-standard encryption protocols like SSL/TLS.
Access controls: Verify that the solution provides granular access controls, allowing you to define roles and permissions for agents, supervisors and administrators. This functionality ensures that only authorized personnel can access specific data or perform specific actions.
Compliance certifications: Check if the solution provider has relevant compliance certifications, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or ISO 27001 certifications depending on your requirements. These certifications demonstrate the provider's commitment to meeting stringent security and privacy standards.
Audit trails and logs: Evaluate whether the solution offers comprehensive audit trails and logs that record user activities, system changes and access attempts. These logs can be crucial for compliance audits, incident investigations and detecting any unauthorized actions.
4. Opt for conversational IVR
When setting up a cloud contact center solution, go for conversational IVR.
Unlike its traditional counterpart, conversational IVR collects context and key details from customers, while also enabling intelligent routing based on specific criteria. Now, let's dive into the technical nitty-gritty:
Natural Language Understanding (NLU): Conversational IVR is a smart system that understands customers' responses in a more human-like manner. It can comprehend complex utterances, handle variations in speech patterns and accurately extract intents and entities.
Context collection: Conversational IVR, with advanced speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP), can capture the context of customer interactions. It understands customer intent, gathers vital information and personalizes the experience.
Key detail extraction: With Conversational IVR, extracting important details from customer responses becomes a breeze. It utilizes techniques like intent recognition and entity extraction to identify details such as customer account numbers, order IDs or descriptions of the issues faced. These details speed up call routing and issue resolution.
Intelligent routing: Conversational IVR takes routing to a whole new level with its intelligent capabilities. Here's what it offers:
1. Last agent routing: Connects customers to the same helpful agent. This way, your customers enjoy continuity and avoid repeating information.
2. Urgency-based routing: Prioritizes calls based on predefined urgency levels — ensuring that critical or time-sensitive matters are promptly addressed.
3. Skill-based routing: Routes calls to agents with matching skills through customer context and identified intents.
Let AI play matchmaker: Advanced AI ticketing systems like Sprinklr can automatically filter and find the perfect agents for each case, so you don’t have to manually compare skills to find the best-qualified talent for every ticket.
Integration with customer data: Conversational IVR seamlessly integrates with customer databases, CRM systems, or other relevant data sources. This integration empowers the system to provide personalized experiences by addressing customers by name or referring to their previous interactions.
Voice biometrics: This technology analyzes unique voice characteristics to let the IVR verify the caller's identity securely, reducing the need for lengthy authentication processes.
5. Be sure of its integration capabilities
The entire idea of a cloud contact center is to create a self-sustaining customer service ecosystem. A cohesive system that gracefully fits well into your current tech stack like a Tetris puzzle.
Extensive integrations with your internal systems let your agents virtually cross any hurdle they face with a customer online. Here are the types of resources your cloud contact center should integrate with:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to pull in customer records for reference
Knowledge base to access troubleshooting information and make helpful recommendations to customers during calls
Call recording and monitoring systems to enable call center quality monitoring and performance measurement based on real-time data
Workforce management solutions to optimize staffing needs in your contact center and keep your customers, leadership team, and stakeholders happy
6. Expand supervisor surveillance
Cloud contact centers may introduce a sense of disconnection between customer service agents working remotely. There really is no solid way to track, evaluate, and rectify performance gaps in team members who aren’t all working on-site.
And so, keep in mind to select contact center software that allows you to build and customize supervisor dashboards. These dashboards provide real-time performance tracking, allowing supervisors to monitor their teams and intervene when necessary. Additionally, they generate customer service reports to evaluate your cloud contact center’s performance against industry benchmarks.
When supervisors regularly monitor their agents, they can also effectively create optimized agent schedules, forecast customer demand, and allocate resources accordingly.
Implementing a cloud contact center for your business
Imagine being India's leading telecom service provider, facing an enormous surge in customer interactions during and after the pandemic.
That's exactly what Vi (Vodafone Idea Limited) experienced.
Challenge: With social media mentions skyrocketing and the digital revolution sweeping the nation, they needed a solution to maintain flawless voice and data connectivity.
Solution: In their quest to conquer this challenge, Vi turned to the power of a cloud contact center solution. And they found their knight in shining armor with Sprinklr Service.
Once left to handle millions of queries on its own, Vi used Sprinklr Service to monitor and engage customers across social media channels. With floods of comments and inquiries pouring in, Vi needed a strategy.
Sprinklr's AI models swiftly detected urgent requests, allowing Vi's team to prioritize critical issues.
But it didn't stop there. Sprinklr kept a watchful eye on every social platform, ensuring no customer concern slipped through the cracks.
Outcome: The results speak for themselves. Net Promoter Score (NPS) skyrocketed by a jaw-dropping 500% in just six months for social media interactions. And let's not forget the icing on the cake — a 30% improvement in time saved through brilliant, cloud solutions.
Read the full story here: How Vi reimagined digital care during a 2x surge in social interactions during the pandemic
Traditional contact center software falls short in integrating diverse customer touchpoints, leading to fragmented experiences.
Sprinklr’s cloud contact center is the transformative solution that unifies care across 30+ digital and traditional channels. Powered by advanced AI, it combines customer communications and invaluable insights. With a customizable supervisor console, agent analytics, live chat and self service. Sprinklr empowers businesses with seamless, satisfying experiences. Complexity fades, replaced by unparalleled customer satisfaction. Embrace the future of customer care.
Frequently Asked Questions
A cloud contact center is a customer service solution hosted in the cloud, allowing businesses to handle customer interactions through various channels like phone, email, chat and social media. It offers flexibility, scalability and remote access to customer service resources.
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