The Cloud - the future for customer service?

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, 85 per cent of IT Executives now consider Cloud as a viable option for delivering IT projects; with 3 out of 4 organisations that have purchased a Cloud service saying they will purchase further services in 2012.Predictably, ‘traditional’ Cloud services such as Data Backup/ Disaster Recovery, Email and Data Storage services are the ones organisations say they’re most likely to increase adoption of in 2012.  However, Executives also say they’re interested in receiving additional Communications services from the Cloud - with 26 per cent of Executives stating that they expect to adopt more Collaboration Services, 20 per cent expecting more CRM services and 18 per cent more Unified Communications services.
This growing interest in Cloud Communications services will come as no surprise to contact centre IT professionals who have witnessed a huge rise in Cloud adoption in recent years.  Indeed, one leading Cloud analyst firm has suggested that the global Cloud contact centre services market grew by over 40% in 2010 with similar figures estimated for 2011 and 2012. 

There are many reasons why Cloud services are the ideal way to deliver contact centre services.  Many customer contact requirements are short term or seasonal, for example, so pay-as-you-go services that can be turned on and off as demand dictates can be far more economical than buying an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) or Dialler and then committing to a large number of advisor licenses.  Because there’s no need for upfront capital investment, the Cloud also brings advanced (and relatively expensive) new technologies such as speech analytics and campaign optimisation within the reach of much broader audiences.
Other typical benefits of Cloud contact centre services over Customer Premise-based Equipment (CPE) include: the ability to quickly launch new customer campaigns, less requirement to carry out internal system integration, inbuilt business continuity and disaster recovery, and support for virtual contact centre working, including homeworking.
Perhaps the killer benefit of Cloud contact centre services though is much more obvious.
When an organisation employs the services of a Cloud contact centre vendor it hands over more than just the running of its contact centre technology to a third party.  It hands over control of a vital element in its operations – and the effectiveness of a Cloud partner can affect efficiency, productivity and ultimately customer experiences and sales/service results.
Specialist Cloud contact centre vendors such as Ultra employ experts with decades of experience in running the operational and technical aspects of leading UK contact centres – and it is how we use that expertise to enhance operational efficiency that’s key to why many organisations have turned to Ultra.
For clients that contact us with requests and problems, we deliver unmetered 24x7x365 support.  However, our support is not just reactive.  We also work proactively to monitor calls for performance issues such as traffic fluctuations, advisor availability and network glitches – liaising with clients to suggest improvements on an on-going basis.
Many organisations have already bought into the idea of Cloud-based real-time performance monitoring, choosing to use network-based specialists rather than employ in-house managers and analysts such as ACD and Dialler managers.  Other organisations have chosen to supplement their in-house teams with Cloud infrastructure, operational and telephony experts, using their skills to spot problems, identify opportunities to improve productivity, and create new strategies to improve quality.
All types and sizes of customer contact operation – from five person service teams to advanced multichannel centres with thousands of advisors – are now benefitting from Cloud services.  The bottom line is that a Cloud contact centre solution offers the same technology benefits as CPE, plus a whole lot more, to contact centres of all shapes and sizes.  In addition, with Cloud service vendors such as Ultra, you get an extra proactive level of performance monitoring support that provides the assurance that you have experts looking after your technology, leaving you free to look after your customers.
By Robert Bates, Commercial Director, Ultra Communications
Tel: 0207 965 0207