This article was originally published in Due. Author: Miguel Noronha.
A cloud contact center is the meeting place between customers and your company. This touchpoint forms a vital layer of your business. It does not just create first impressions. It also helps to organize employee-customer relationships and provides in-depth insights that will help you grow into the future. With a contact center housed in the cloud, growth is just clicks away.
First things first, though: What is a cloud contact center?
To answer this question, it’s helpful to know some history. After all, the way contact centers look and act has changed significantly in just the past few decades.
In the ’50s and ’60s, contact centers were simply a switchboard or a team of secretaries with Rolodexes. When the computer became appropriate for business, contact centers morphed into software solutions that offered a kind of online address book. More recently, workplaces have adopted “on premise” solutions where customer data resides within the organization. The latest iteration of contact center software involves the cloud, and it has taken the concept of customer-company engagement to an entirely new level.
By giving teams the ability to connect with customers easily and rapidly as the business scales, employees can foster customer relationships seamlessly. But while a cloud contact center’s benefits do outweigh those of an “on premise” contact center, some might worry about cloud-based software compromising the security of sensitive data.
Why You Should Not Fear the Cloud
The business world has already adopted cloud software in many realms. McAfee’s “Navigating a Cloudy Sky” study noted that 97% of organizations already use cloud services in some capacity. And as customers continue to join the cloud, the pressure to apply it to more areas of the business will only grow.
For professionals who still have one foot in the analog realm, though, leaping into a cloud-based contact center solution provides several practical and mental challenges. People often imagine the cloud as a vast, amorphous, and impersonal space. Because clouds managed by technology giants such as Google and Microsoft incorporate so many people’s data, they worry that theirs will be lost or mishandled.
The Security Question
It’s the question of security that causes many teams to delay their adoption of cloud contact center software. The same McAfee report also notes that only 69% of business leaders actually trust the public cloud to protect their sensitive data. This is a rational concern. They see media coverage of security breaches and cyber attacks and imagine that these problems go hand in hand with life in the cloud — but that is not necessarily true.
For instance, consider the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, where hackers demanded ransom in exchange for the safety of targets’ sensitive files and data. Although this attack was terrifying for everyone involved, it did not target cloud users. Instead, the hackers simply attached to any storage drives mapped to a letter — think “C:/” or “D:/” — and this ended up affecting more than 200,000 users across the globe.
For this reason, one could argue that being on the cloud offers a protective layer that traditional solutions don’t. Because companies must manage “on premise” systems themselves, the margin for human error is huge. Those who look after information technology within organizations aren’t necessarily trained in data security, and they might not know how to handle these kinds of issues.
On the other hand, cloud data is stored on servers external to your company and is managed by experts who deal solely with this data. Because of this, cloud providers can spot, diagnose, and solve incidents and vulnerabilities before they cause problems for the end user — which can also help you save time, money, and manpower in the long run.
3 Benefits of Shifting Your Contact Center to the Cloud
Now that we’ve address some potential fears, what about the other cloud contact center benefits? Here some of the best reasons to employ cloud-based software for your contact engagement:
1. You will avoid the initial implementation barriers
Implementing traditional contact center software is a costly commitment, as it requires companies to set up a huge, complicated investment of resources upfront. Data is stored on-site in servers, which requires a lot of energy and supervision. This kind of investment usually requires a full IT team to get things up and moving.
With a cloud-based solution, there are no barriers to entry. Simply entrust your data to an external expert and access it via the internet — no IT team necessary. The ease of implementation means your employees can focus on pressing business tasks, rather than fumbling through the fussy first stages of implementing the software.
2. It is highly scalable
Scaling up with an “on premise” solution poses significant challenges. Each level of evolution requires careful planning and reinvestment, which carries a high degree of risk should you need to scale back again. With cloud-based software, you are free to scale up or down according to how your business is growing and changing — all without jeopardizing the investment you’ve already made.
During peak business seasons, you will be free to take on extra resources and pay for them only as you need them — not to mention scale right back down when it’s best for business. Most providers allow you to purchase a package that leaves room for growth in a much more affordable way.
3. The cloud evolves — and it takes your company with it
Besides scaling up your contact engagement center without the hang-ups, the cloud offers you ongoing updates on functionality. If your cloud provider evolves to enhance the user experience, for example, that set of new functionalities is yours without needing to install, understand, or invest in it. This is a valuable benefit you just won’t get with “on premise” software.
Make no mistake: Cloud-based contact center services are the way of the future. A contact center is the vital link between your company and your customers. Place that link in safe hands by entrusting it to a cloud contact center provider, and you will gain the power to scale with ease.
Miguel Noronha is executive vice president of Portugal, North America, United Kingdom, and global accounts at Altitude Software, a global provider of contact center solutions. Noronha has been with Altitude for 20 years and has gained vast experience through his positions as senior consultant, project manager, and director. He is dedicated to helping organizations unify all customer interactions and become more customer-centric.