A good manager knows how to toe the line between customer and employee satisfaction. They relegate well, are modern in their approach, and keep themselves in tune with new developments. In the world of contact centres, what’s the best manager you can have right now? A cloud telephony system.
It’s no secret that India is one of the greatest markets for contact centres and Internet-based communications. Data is cheap and often unlimited. The pool of hard-working human resources is also wide. Why, then, do businesses struggle in making the most of this combination? The answer is the lack of a large-scale global outlook that allows companies to stay ahead of the curve.
The cloud is a limitless resource that businesses can tap into for better content management and a hike in workflows. But with a fear of the unknown, many are apprehensive about making the shift. Before we discuss the benefits, let’s have a glance at the market results of using cloud telephony systems in this scenario.
According to research firm Mordor Intelligence, North America is the largest market for cloud telephony at contact centres, but the Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing in the period from 2019 to 2025.
The cloud-based contact centre market had a value of USD 13.17 billion last year, with companies wanting a systematic approach to capture changing customer preferences. A report from the State of Customer 2017 builds on this trend, showing how almost 40 per cent of contact centres in the UK shifted to cloud-based formats, with 57 per cent planning a move by 2020.
Are contact centres the same as call centres?
Not entirely. The average person—and sometimes even those in the industry—tend to be confused about the difference. But if visualised in a larger Venn diagram, you’ll notice that a call centre’s day-to-day workings are only a subset of the diverse offerings found at contact centres. Other than the voice calls handled at call centres, a contact centre’s services can include faxing, e-mail, chatting over text and video conferencing, plus sharing and working with a website’s direct interface. All of this is oriented to ensure that customers find a company and its representatives on different platforms with ease.
They are built to boost efficiency and optimisation and are better equipped to handle incoming or interdepartmental queries, grievances, information gathering in the form of field generation and feedback, and telemarketing opportunities as compared to a call centre. Naturally, when integrated with a cloud telephony system, this buffet of services can be optimised to a T for improved customer experience.
Why are contact centres making this shift?
Maintenance is a breeze: The setup, licensing and practical application of PBX switchboards is a long-drawn process. It may have been the preferred medium of routing enquiries in the past, but cloud telephony systems easily surpass its capabilities. One, there’s much less hardware to install, learn of, and look after. Two, calling, faxing and conferencing receive an unlimited playing field, as there is no separate charge for every connection. Third, companies get a Web-based dashboard to track user requests and business features, simplifying the work chain for new employees. A high-quality cloud telephony system doesn’t come cheap, but in the longer run, businesses using cloud communication end up reducing their capital expenditure and maximising profits from an uninterrupted workflow.
Companies can eliminate language barriers: Cloud telephony allows employees to connect and work remotely with contact centres, making their physical presence at company outlets unnecessary. This is particularly helpful for when a business outsources its calls, allowing native speakers and writers to address enquiries in local languages instead of pigeonholing customers to communicate in a set manner. It also removes the judgment of accents, pronunciation and ethnocentric tensions, if any.
No more grumbling: We’re talking about both ends of the phone here. Everyone’s familiar with the negative bias towards contact centres and call centres—the image of a dreary employee working thanklessly as a customer waits to connect doesn’t need any reminders.
If the latter’s Internet connection is robust, they’ll always be able to reach out to a contact centre with their queries. On the employee side, cloud storage reduces the strain of foggy communications caused by ageing hardware. The stress of losing call recording data is also reduced.
All information is stored in the cloud versus being docked at the company premises. This not only adds a layer of safety to the communications but also boosts accessibility. The automation also removes a chunk of an operator’s boredom while working, giving them ample space to work on the quality of their communications.
Customer privacy is accounted for: The space for cloaked communication is a feature of cloud telephony that several brands swear by. As contact centre agents connect with consumers, personal information can be hidden on both ends seamlessly for a given period using virtual phone numbers. Each is uniquely generated, and the practice is known as number masking. In the age of data leaks and unsavoury revelations, this number masking recognises the mutual need to establish boundaries in communications.
You get effortless customisation: Who doesn’t appreciate attention to detail? With cloud communications integrated into contact centres, managers can set up software that promise uniform customisation of calls and chat requests. This helps a business tailor their greetings according to holidays, festivals and seasons, offer special deals and automate redressal options, often without even having to connect to an agent. This is a boon when employing non-expert agents who might be incapable of solving a customer’s enquiry or holding their attention in one go.
Businesses can profit from analytics: Cloud telephony promises to register detailed information on every call, chat or data enquiry routed from a customer to an operator. Using these analytics, a business’ contact centre can analyse patterns of consumption, competition and troubleshooting on matters like the average time to solve queries, the volume of daily calls, the number of missed calls, and customer satisfaction. Amping a centre’s positive response rate can be challenging, but the cloud can provide the framework for it to store and parse data over long periods.
There’s scope to scale up: Industries like finance, e-commerce, banking, healthcare, information technology and STEM all see tremendous growth every year. To accommodate a business’ rise in activities and customers, the back end must have the potential to expand and add new features. Depending on one’s Internet connection, a large and indefinite number of lines can be laid when using a cloud telephony system at a company’s contact centre. It also has the wiggle room to add in new tools or upgrade equipment speedily, compared to older PBX systems where the installation downtime encroaches on productivity.
In a nutshell
Customers today expect more from businesses. More clarity, more efficiency, and more user-friendliness. To deliver on this holy trifecta, the world of communications is streamlining itself to a consistent multi-channel approach via cloud telephony systems for long-term gains. Contact centres shifting to cloud communication for its everyday operations is a natural evolution, one that is reliable, secure and adaptable to plans. Meeting customer demands while keeping customers happy isn’t an impossible goal if you know when to upgrade