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Essentials of Cloud Contact Centers

In a previous blog, we outlined advantages of moving a customer experience platform to the cloud. If you’ve decided to make the change, you’ll find a plethora of applications and features to choose from. Ultimately, your unique business needs will determine what is included in your cloud contact center system. However, there are some technologies and capabilities that are must-haves for all cloud contact center deployments – here are the ten most essential.

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Enhanced voice response & routing

Improve the customer experience with intelligent routing and automated responses. Features such as touch-tone and roles-based routing get customers to the right agent quickly, reducing frustration. Advanced systems can recognize callers by phone number or location and route them immediately to their designated representative. Inbound interactive voice response (IVR) can provide account information, payment options and responses to frequently asked questions. Outbound IVR can provide personalized messages, administer surveys and other research. Automating and queueing call backs also elevates the customer experience.

Roles and web-based dashboards

Roles- and web-based dashboards allow contact centers to streamline the user experience. Agents, team leads and supervisors each have their own view of real-time information from anywhere. Supervisors and team leads can keep on top of who is doing what and who needs assistance, in addition to seeing individual agent and group performance results. Agents can view their own stats, how they compare with others and their task list for the day. They also get easy access to account information so that they can communicate with customers, and give them answers faster.

Omnichannel capabilities

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True omnichannel capabilities not only support the use of multiple channels to engage with customers, they also provide a consistent and seamless experience and messaging across all the channels and devices used to touch customers. They use a single system to communicate with customers whether it is by phone, email, chat or social network. With omnichannel capabilities, customers can reach out to a company on their preferred channel.

A 360-degree view of the customer allows agents to switch channels mid-conversation for a more personalized interaction. For those companies that have a renewed focus on maximizing convenience, providing a consistent brand and creating an effortless experience for every customer, true omnichannel communication is a must-have for the cloud contact center. Research conducted by Aberdeen Group shows that companies that have an omnichannel CX program achieve a 91% higher increase in customer retention compared to those without one.

Advanced analytics

Speech analytics is another essential for cloud contact centers. It analyzes both live calls and call recordings to prompt agents, spot trends, identify reasons for customer calls, improve quality, measure script adherence and discover training and coaching needs. Intelligence from analytics helps increase first call resolution rates, better manage handle times, improve compliance and provide other actionable insights by analyzing 100% of the interactions agents have with customers, across channels.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

AI and ML fused with other contact center technologies offer great promise for enriching and personalizing the customer experience. Used in conjunction with analytics and voice recognition, AI and ML can process large data sets in real-time to extract crucial knowledge about customers and their journey as well as other valuable business insights. Back in 2016, Gartner predicted that with the help of AI and ML, 85% of customer and company relationships will be able to be maintained without human interaction by 2020. Although it may not happen next year, technology is moving in that direction.

Workforce Management (WFM)

Workforce management helps contact centers improve agent quality and performance, maximize efficiency and workflows, ensure the right level of resources are on hand, and keep customers happy. In addition to automating scheduling using factors such as work rules, availability and SLAs, WFM can send reminder messages about shifts, breaks, training and meetings to agents to improve schedule adherence. When WFM is web-based, agents can access their personal information and perform tasks like requests for time off or bidding on shift and overtime slots from anywhere.

Historical and real-time reporting

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Historical data reporting provides contact center supervisors and managers with crucial information on agents, departments and campaigns. It also provides trends data for customer sentiment and satisfaction, product issues, and host of agent performance metrics such as average handle time, hold time, transfers, call deflection, first call resolution and more.

Real-time reporting provides data on each interaction as it is occurring so that supervisors can coach on the spot or intervene when necessary. Real-time analytics platforms can also provide agents with next-best-action prompts based on what the customer says or an expressed sentiment. For example, if a customer is agitated, the agent might receive a prompt during the interaction reminding them to show empathy.

Comprehensive inbound and proactive outbound

Unified inbound communications solutions manage all inbound channels to enhance the quality of every interaction. They integrate with IVR, recording and dialing systems to get customers to the best agent, faster.

In addition to inbound communications, those companies that take the initiative to provide proactive outbound communications can boost customer satisfaction. Outbound interactions that deliver highly personalized notifications and relevant product and service information to customers via their preferred channel will build trust and loyalty.

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Self-service options

Customers’ need for speed, desire to solve issues on their own and advancements in automation, AI and ML technologies are making it mandatory for companies to offer modern self-service options. According to an article from Forbes, contact centers in the near future will combine self-service and human touch to provide a better customer experience.

In many cases, the customer journey already starts with an automated touchpoint, such as a voice assistant or touch-tone menu. If the customer cannot solve the problem with self-service, they will reach out to a contact center agent. Customers want a seamless experience when transferring from one channel to another. By integrating self-service and human touch into one continuous process, companies will be better able to address customers’ demands for availability, speed and high-quality consistent service.

Robust APIs for integration

Integrating all the software that is used by contact centers and ensure a seamless experience for customers requires robust APIs to unite all the internal and third-party business applications across the enterprise. This allows the contact center to synchronize data and provides agents easy access to the information from a single screen. Equipping agents with historical account information at their fingertips empowers them to respond quicker to customers. This lessens the effort required by both the agent and the customer.

 


What are your plans and your drivers for moving to a cloud contact center?

From small and mid-sized to the very largest, more and more contact centers are moving to the cloud. They see the cloud as a way to reduce their upfront investment, tap into more enabling technologies and control their own roadmap on their own timeline. The ultimate driver is to reduce the effort for both agents and customers, improving the experience with every interaction.