How well will your call center technology be serving you in five years? Or 10?
Frequently upgrading your call center technology can take a toll on your wallet, your productivity and your business continuity. To be truly effective, enterprise contact centers need a long-term solution that’s nimble and that can ebb and flow with the ever-changing technology trends of the telecommunications market. If you’ve ever invested in a costly on-premise solution only to discover a new, incompatible technology trend two years later, you’ll begin to understand the huge value of cloud in terms of future-proofing your call center technology.
And organizations are catching on to the value of the cloud for future-proofing: IDC’s latest report shows that U.S. spending on cloud contact center services is expected to grow to $1.6 billion by 2018; 77% of on-site contact centers are either already using cloud or evaluating transitioning to a cloud or hosted contact center.
The secret to a risk-free cloud transition: a single-application start
But let's face it: transitioning to cloud from an on-premise system, no matter how outdated, can be a hassle and can even threaten business continuity and the quality of customer service. So here's an approach to cloud that gives organizations the future-proofing organizations want without the unnecessary risks: do a quick start with a single application.
Let’s take a look at just two call center applications that can easily be a first step into to the future-proofed cloud: call recording and virtual agent desktop.
If you’ve ever tried to implement on-premise call recording, you’re already aware of the drawbacks. In addition to the time and expense of the implementation, selective call recording is clunky, and the addition of call analytics, while interesting, is no substitute for 100% call recording. The addition of media forking capabilities to IP phones and session border controllers has moved much of the on-premise recording profit margin to the equipment manufacturers, so providers end up passing on the complex implementation—and its costs—to the customer. And here is the recording industry's dirty little secret: the expense associated with on-premise server hardware, SAN/NAS storage, Microsoft Windows and SQL licensing, VMWare and other platform components are not typically included in the vendor’s pricing.
Cloud-based recording solutions, on the other hand, circumvent all of the aforementioned challenges and are just as easy to remove as they are to install—a boon for future-proofing. With a cloud call recording solution, gone are the days of selected recording, and gone is dependence on computer telephony integration (CTI).
For more information, download Why Cloud Call Recording? Cloud vs. On-Premise Technical Analysis white paper.
Likewise, if you’ve ever had to endure the hassle of installing a half-dozen software applications to each desktop at a brick-and-mortar call center or mailing remote agents CDs or USB sticks and walking them through the installation process, you probably already understand the future-proofing value of a virtual agent desktop application. A software-based tool—complete with an array of hosted applications—eradicates the need for on-premises hardware, enabling call center agents to work from home by way of an easy-to-use interface. It provides agents with the same capabilities—like security, CRM integration, chat tools and telephony controls—they have at their fingertips while at the office. Furthermore, the interface allows supervisors to contract with call center agents from external locations to handle high call volumes when they arise, thereby scaling up the workforce and increasing productivity. And the biggest benefit of all is that upgrades and application changes are all made uniformly from a centralized database, so the burden of changes is moved from the remote agents or the local IT team to the cloud service provider.
How does a cloud service such as a virtual agent desktop help to future-proof your call center? It’s just as easy to uninstall as it is to install. If your cloud provider isn’t keeping pace with technical innovations, it’s easy to switch providers, unencumbered by sunk costs or capital expenditures that still need to fully depreciate over time.
How cloud applications future-proof your call center
Cloud-based benefits such as these are inspiring more businesses to move to virtual technology. As a matter of fact, the Evolve IP and CCNG 2014 North American Call Center Survey revealed that 70 percent of respondents who currently use premise-based call center technology plan to move to the cloud. In addition, 61 percent of call centers employ agents who work in disparate locations. As such, you would be wise to keep pace with your competitors by deploying cost-efficient and flexible remote working software.
So, start thinking ahead for your call center and adopt a solution that you can depend on for the long haul. Here are the top ways cloud applications such as cloud-based call recording or virtual agent desktop could add value to your call center’s business venture:
- Increases security: With a variety of cloud vendors in the space, you are at liberty to select a provider with the highest level of cloud security and hack prevention. (We blogged about five cloud security measures you should always ask about here.) For virtual agent desktop, insist upon two-factor authentication to ensure that only the agent authorized to use a particular desktop can gain entry to it. In addition, look for vendors that offer end point scanning to assess potential vulnerabilities with each log in, so that your virtual desktop is regularly audited. For cloud call recording, look for a minimum of 256-bit AES encryption. Some providers also offer on-the-fly call encryption so that the live call isn’t vulnerable to hacking. Additionally, be sure that each call has a unique encryption key, so that hackers can’t decrypt one call and get access to the entire database.
- Expands your recruitment pool: When your call center offers technology that employees can access away from your brick-and-mortar location, you entice more digitally savvy candidates to your hiring pool. For example, our virtual desktop solution comes complete with the cloud-based Citrix XenApp—a robust feature set of communications tools—that agents can use by simply logging onto their desktops no matter their geographical location. With a technological edge like this, call centers can recruit the best talent from around the globe.
- Reduces telecom spend: Hosted solutions enable call centers to avoid capital expenses associated with on-premises-based infrastructure. With our virtual desktop solution, you’ll only pay for the time your agents spend using the virtual service, without wasting a dime on licensing fees or unused equipment. What’s more, our virtual platform allows you to scale up and down as necessary without incurring additional fees, that is, you only pay for actual usage, nothing more.
While there may be some concerns that cloud is simply the next trend that will be replaced soon by 'The Next Big Thing', we’d argue that since the cloud is so flexible, it’s a valuable tool for future-proofing your contact center. In the absence of huge capital expenditures, it’s not only easy to select the right cloud provider for you; it’s also easy to evaluate security and recruitment performance and change providers much more easily than with an on-premise solution. There’s much to be said for living in the moment, but when it comes to your call center technology, keep the future top of mind. Find out more ways to future-proof your call center here.