Shifting on-premises contact center operations to the cloud offers a variety of benefits.

An essential component of customer service for decades, the voice-only call center is very nearly extinct, giving way to modern omnichannel contact centers that accommodate multiple customer contact options such as chat, email and text. Today the industry is experiencing yet another evolutionary shift as organizations evaluate whether to continue supporting on-premises infrastructure or migrate to a cloud-based contact center instead.

In the cloud-based Contact-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) model, the contact center platform is hosted or built natively in the cloud instead of installed on-premises. CCaaS providers maintain and develop the service, giving organizations access to the latest contact center technology and applications without a large capital investment.

According to one recent industry survey, only about 30 percent of organizations have already transitioned to the cloud, but 90 percent of the remainder are actively evaluating such a move. For those organizations still undecided, here are some indications that a CCaaS solution might be right for you.

Your customers aren’t happy.

Traditional contact center software doesn’t always integrate well with key business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and unified communications platforms. This disconnect can lead to frustrating experiences for customers — they may be passed from agent to agent, forced to endure long hold times and required to repeat information multiple times.

On the other hand, a CCaaS solution features a tightly integrated architecture that ensures organizations can route calls, emails, web chats and social media interactions using a single queue. Easy integration with your CRM platform ensures that agents always have current customer profile information when engaging with customers, improving the odds of a first-call resolution.

Your agents aren’t happy, either.

Poor application integration frustrates agents as well. They can’t easily share customer or product information across different communication channels, which forces them to frequently switch back and forth between apps and screens. This increases call times and customer irritation. Disjointed apps also make it difficult for agents to consult with other agents and subject-matter experts in order to resolve customer issues.

With pre-built integrations and open APIs, CCaaS makes it easy to move seamlessly between communication channels and business applications. This agility enables agents to seamlessly bring an advisor, supervisor or another agent into a conversation. In addition, the cloud model gives organizations access to wide range of subscription-based collaboration and analytics apps that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive for on-premises usage.

You’re spending too much on hardware.

Organizations with on-premises platforms often try to reduce the likelihood of outages through increased redundancy. They scale horizontally with more servers or vertically with more hardware resources such as disk space and memory. However, this approach adds complexity and creates more potential breaking points.

What’s more, all that hardware is expensive to operate and maintain, and it offers limited investment protection. Given the continual evolution of communication and customer experience technologies, most analysts say contact center technology becomes obsolete in just three to five years.

Scalability is one of the chief benefits of a cloud-based platform. Rather than buying more hardware to support anticipated increases in demand, organizations can usually just add (or remove) seats as needed through an online portal. This feature is particularly appealing to retailers that often must scale operations up or down to meet seasonal demands.

Reporting is difficult.

Contact centers gather significant amounts of data about performance metrics and customer demographics, but much of that information is fragmented within multiple departmental silos. CCaaS solutions provide consolidated reporting across all media types, eliminate the need for multiple databases and create the ability to build geographically dispersed contact centers that satisfy “follow-the-sun” coverage.

Reporting becomes even more insightful with the integration of contact center analytics and artificial intelligence. Such tools allow organizations to pull together data streams from multiple sources to gain visibility into a variety of metrics. In addition, it enables self-service reporting that anyone can use to explore trends and patterns.

Legacy contact center systems represented a significant improvement over old call-center operations that only supported a single communication channel. However, these legacy solutions have become too expensive to maintain, upgrade, and integrate with newer communication channels and high-value applications such as analytics. Migrating to a cloud-based platform can reduce costs, improve the customer experience, boost agent efficiency and open the door to a range of new insights through better data analysis.

Brought to you by IPC Tech — Platinum Certified Mitel Support Partner specializing in connecting your business applications to optimize your communication experience.