Cloud-based call centers are no longer the next big thing. In 2020 they’re pretty much table stakes.
In 2008, the adoption rate of centers running on cloud was only 2.2%. In 2017, 62% of organizations have moved into a cloud-based call center (Talkdesk). Today, the numbers are still growing, indicating that on-premise call centers are losing significance.
Seems like business leaders do enjoy this solution. Well, they have their reasons. Let’s discuss them – and perhaps you too will join the club.
On-premise vs. Cloud: the (not so) great standoff
When picking your call center solution here are the things to consider:
1. Setup costs and time
Installing on-premise equipment means you need to buy hardware (servers, computers, phones/headsets, etc.), make the necessary arrangements to fit it all inside your office and invite the provider to come over and actually install it (the visit could be weeks away). This can eat up a lot of your time (up to several months) and money.
A cloud-based system can be set up and used without any investment in hardware or infrastructure. All you need is a strong internet connection and devices with internet or wi-fi access (which most companies already have).
2. Reliability and downtime
On-site equipment might break. It might become outdated and incompatible with your software. All of it implies more visits by your maintenance, which in turn means more downtime and more money spent.
If your cloud call center software stops working, you can simply call your provider. They will fix the problem without coming to your office.
Note: most of the issues concerning reliability and call quality don’t happen because the VoIP technology is bad and flawed, but because of shaky internet connection. If your bandwidth is lacking so will be your call quality. To avoid this, make sure your internet link is strong enough to support your activity.
Cloud contact centers are 27% cheaper and can boast 35% less downtime than their on-premise rivals (Talkdesk).
After setting up a cloud solution, you may choose either monthly or annual subscription (annual should work out to be cheaper). Payments are more frequent compared to on-premise systems, but keep in mind the maintenance costs of such systems.
In short, choosing cloud-based call center software means choosing OpEx over CapEx: shorter billing cycle, lowered costs.
You can’t really scale your on-site call center without spending a fortune. Everytime you install a new desk phone, it needs to be wired to the server. Like, manually. And then it can take a while to add that new phone to your call routing flow.
If you go cloud, scaling is as easy as pressing a few buttons. Chances are, you won’t even need to call your provider. Just download the software to your new hire’s device and they’re good to go. To provide them with access to your virtual call center, just add another user to your online account.
I’m often told that an on-premise phone system is the safest. Hackers can’t get to it if it’s right here, safe and sound. What if I told you that most data breaches occur due to human error or intentional employee action?
Many people don’t trust the cloud because they have a very vague understanding of how it works. However, cloud providers make it their business to ensure potential threats are spotted and handled immediately. Some providers like Nextiva even claim military-grade security in their data centers.
Recent pandemic disruptions have made flexibility in call centers a must. Forcing employees to commute to the office and work wired phones is not just inefficient – it’s unsafe as well.
Cloud-based software enables your team to work from anywhere. All they need is a stable internet connection and a device to make or receive calls. This yields yet another benefit: with worldwide access to call center workforce you can hire the best talent, no matter where they live.
7. Analytics and integration
If you enhance your cloud system with analytics tools, it can offer you great insight into all the important metrics, including AWT, AHT and FCR, to name a few. If you employ call monitoring, you’ll be able to record all conversations to use for onboarding and training. You can integrate a CRM that will pull a client’s call history when an incoming call matches their details. Or you can install an IVR and speech-to-text tools to automatically put down everything your customers say. The possibilities are nearly endless.
You can do these things with an on-premise system but it becomes a nightmare of incompatibility, integrations and licensing.
The key players
Let’s take a brief look at the most popular cloud service providers.
NICE inContact. Small businesses and large enterprises alike can use the software to process inbound support requests and connect with their customers via multiple channels (inbound/outbound calls, chat, email, socials etc). It also offers various call routing features, like IVR, ACD and CTI.
The solution will enable you to optimize your staff’s capabilities through e-learning and workforce management. It can be seamlessly integrated with such CRM applications as Salesforce and Oracle Service Cloud.
RingCentral. The solution is powered by inContact and offers ACD, IVR, and Auto Dialer, among other things. You can access it via a web-based subscription, so it’s essentially browser agnostic.
Advanced routing for enabling customers to self-solve issues, tools to measure and track agent's performance, and skills-based ACD to match clients with agents are just some of the features RingCentral offers. You can integrate it with Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle Sales Cloud.
Avaya Aura. The software enables users to conduct personalized conversations with regular callers based on advanced outreach algorithms and workflow. These algorithms help agents use inbound and outreach capabilities to sell, cross-sell and upsell products to callers. It also assists agents in collecting payments or offering discounts.
Another notable feature is Avaya’s AI-driven agent guidance.
Genesys. The solution helps businesses interact with customers using a variety of communication channels. You can view customer insights and metrics in a single interface and get automatic updates. The solution lets users create IVR flows, enhance agent productivity and customize outreach.
What’s interesting about Genesys is that you can interact using group chats and host and participate in video conferences. Besides, your employees can share and edit documents through an integrated content management tool.
I hope you’re now feeling less reluctant about moving to the cloud. Choose the provider that fits you best and take your call center game to the next level.