Cloud computing’s popularity has exploded over the course of the past decade. The technology is no longer limited to only the most high-tech firms – companies of all sizes and sectors now can, and do, regularly leverage cloud-based solutions in a wide range of capacities.
One of the most powerful ways that firms can take advantage of cloud computing is in the form of a cloud-based contact center. Such an approach offers a number of critical benefits that traditional on-premise contact centers simply cannot match.
The potential for cost savings is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages that cloud computing solutions can offer in general, and cloud-based contact centers are no exception. The typical approach to an on-premise contact center requires the business to invest significantly in equipment and hardware. This can be a barrier to entry for smaller firms, and even larger enterprises will feel the sting of such spending.
With a hosted contact center, however, companies do not need to purchase their own servers and other hardware – they simply rely upon the vendor’s systems, paying only for the services they actually use. This means that firms can not only deploy contact center solutions without a major upfront investment, but also ensures that companies do not inadvertently over-invest in their contact center technology. In just about every way, cloud-based contact center solutions provide superior performance at lower costs than any alternative approach.
Another critical benefit that cloud-based contact centers have to offer is the potential for more effective, productive IT teams among participating companies. In far too many cases, IT personnel spend large portions of their time focusing on maintenance, upkeep, and other basic yet essential IT tasks. This is certainly true in the contact center, with its wide array of communication channels and related technologies. This is a problematic approach as it limits the ability of a company’s IT workforce to devote its time and energy to other, more important projects and endeavors. Companies can overcome this issue by simply hiring more IT personnel, but this is obviously a costly approach. What’s more, IT workers are in heavy demand today, making it difficult for many organizations to sufficiently staff their IT departments, even if they are willing to spend significant amounts of money on pursuing that goal.
Cloud-based contact centers provide a powerful solution to this state of affairs. With these deployments, the responsibility for maintaining contact center technology shifts to the vendor. As a result, the company’s own IT staff will be able to redirect their efforts toward projects that can further improve the organization, rather than spending most of their time on maintaining the status quo. This opens up many new possibilities for the business without requiring the firm hire new IT staff, largely thanks to hosted contact center solutions.
Contact center needs will vary tremendously over time. For some seasonal firms, the swings can be extreme, with heavy contact rates during certain months and minimal contact at other times of year. And ideally, as a company expands and grows, it will need to provide support to an increasing number of clients.
With traditional contact centers, the only options for organizations are to either over-invest – ensuring that sufficient capabilities are available but also guaranteeing excessive expenses – or under-invest and expect to be unable to meet demand at all times.
With a hosted contact center, though, companies can scale their capabilities up or down easily and instantly, all while continuing to pay solely for the services they use. This maximizes cost efficiency as well as service capabilities amid changing demands.
Publish Date: September 18, 2015 5:00 AM
When airlines first came about, flying was a luxury. Passengers could look forward to premium meals, luxurious seats, and high-class service. Nowadays, flying is much quicker and more affordable, but it has come at a cost—seats are smaller, three-course meals have been replaced with peanuts and soda, and the relative freedom of the skies has given way to rigid protocols.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that many find airlines annoying. Whether it’s lost bags, unexplained delays, or a difficult passenger in the row behind you, even an aviation aficionado like me has experienced inconvenience when flying.
However, for as much as they burn a hole in our pockets, airlines no doubt experience significant financial obstacles in getting planes off the ground—no pun intended. All told, it costs an airline around $50,000 to fly a single flight from the United States to Western Europe, and a single cancelled flight or diversion can cost an airline in excess of $100,000. Pretty staggering numbers.
And with myriad IT components—from inbound call centers to booking mechanisms and logistics systems, there is no room for error—yet, there are consistently errors. With unified communications, airlines can significantly reduce their inefficiencies. Not only are inbound calls are no longer lost, thanks to unparalleled redundancy, but they’re also able to be processed much more efficiently.
1. Southwest Airlines’ call center receives 110,000 inbound calls per day—that’s 1.25 per second. (IT Today) (Tweet this)
2. In its first six months with a unified communications system, Southwest reduced the total time its passengers spent on hold by 410,000 hours—or 47 years. (IT Today) (Tweet this)
3. Delayed flights, which can often happen due to miscommunication on the ground, cost U.S. airlines $8.3 billion per year on average. (UC Berkeley) (Tweet This)
4. Swiss International Airlines has seen a 20 percent decrease in call costs since implementing unified communications eight years ago. (Colt) (Tweet this)
5. It’s not just inbound call center failures that cost airlines business: in 2010, Virgin Australia Airlines, then known as Virgin Blue, experienced internet booking downtime of 11 days—resulting in $20 million in lost revenue, or an average of $1.8 million per day. (Evolven) (Tweet this)
6. 12 percent of airlines have experienced website downtime equalling more than three days per year. And considering that nine out of 10 new customers will not return to a vendor should its website fail to load, the implications are huge. (Pingdom) (Tweet this)
7. The worldwide revenue of airlines is $556 billion, yet global profits only average $25 million—illustrating how much overhead costs airlines have to deal with, and how much potential there is for unified communications to reduce them. (Statista) (Tweet this)
Publish Date: July 22, 2015 5:00 AM
There may be fewer situations more annoying than calling customer service and promptly being placed on hold. You’re left to wait, listening to the company’s choice of monotonous music and increasingly growing impatient. It may be only a few minutes or it could be more than 30. The longer you have to wait, the less satisfied you are with the organization you’re calling.
When companies put their customers on hold for long periods of time, they’re potentially losing their business. If people don’t feel like they’re appreciated by your corporation, they’re going to go to one where they are. The contact center needs to be efficient and flexible to provide consumers with the engagement they need, which is why businesses should switch to unified communications.
In today’s tech-savvy world, phone calls are on their way to becoming a thing of the past. Email, social media, and SMS texting trump other forms of communication. While the call center is usually favored by older audiences, millennials want the flexibility of communicating with customer service representatives using the method of their choosing. Multi-channel contact centers will be the ones younger generations prefer. According to a survey by the Aberdeen Group, the best services have 89 percent higher customer retention and an 87 percent first call resolution rate.
This can be attributed to the multitude of tools they have at their disposal. Contact centers with UC solutions have access to instant messaging for business, email, SMS text, audio and video conferencing to help customers with any issues they may have. This allows them to communicate with more than one consumer at once, which shortens the amount of time spent on individual customers. It also frees up valuable phone time by eliminating needless conversations for questions that can be answered with a simple text or instant message.
Callers will be more exasperated when they have to be transferred from one person to another to solve their problem. It’s even worse when they have to explain their issue each time. UC tools can limit transfers or eliminate them altogether, Customer Think explained. First call resolution is important to keep the customer satisfied and returning. ThinkingPhones’ system allows call center employees to use various forms of communication to get into contact with experts in the company. Without putting the caller on hold, workers can chat with another employee, use presence to determine the most qualified and available person, conference the person into the call, or transfer it.
ThinkingPhones also has automated call distribution, call routing, and queues to ensure consumers have a minimal wait time and can reach the most qualified person on the first try.
To be able to provide the highest level of customer service, representatives need training and experience. They won’t be able to help someone to the best of their ability if they don’t know how a call should go. UC allows more than one person to be on a call at once, which means the new hire and the manager have access to a customer at the same time, according to Customer Think. ThinkingPhones has listen, whisper, and barge features that gives employers the tools they need to provide premium training on the job. They can listen in on trainees’ phone calls, offer advice through whisper, and enter conversations with barge.
When representatives know what they’re doing and how to quickly get the information they need to offer great service, maintenance costs and wasted time go down and customer satisfaction and efficiency increase. Multi-channel contact centers can deliver a consistent experience while reducing costs by at least 20 percent, Customer Think claimed. With the proper tools in place, customer service boosts retention and satisfaction rates.
Publish Date: July 13, 2015 5:00 AM