Organizations traditionally invested in their contact center infrastructure, as a standalone premise-based solution, with a view to the long term… that usually meant that they would sweat those assets over a 10-15 year lifecycle. It was solid, reliable, and operated in a controlled environment.
Toss that thinking out the window. That was then. It’s a new reality. Deal with it.
The most successful retailer in the western world is Amazon. At the same time, it’s also disrupting and transforming other industries along the way. Amazon Web Services (AWS) which underpins Amazon.com, has capitalized on its success by extending its infrastructure into becoming the most successful IaaS (Internet as a Service) provider globally, far exceeding its closest competitors, while obliterating traditional Telcos and communications providers.
When it started, Amazon needed to find some way to succeed. How did it do so? By focusing on the customer experience…and delivering it with agile, flexible, and adaptive technologies and processes.
The Amazon Flywheel(1) illustrates this process flow, where the customer experience (CX) is the starting point, and the beneficiary of all the other actions or outcomes. This has been the key factor in establishing the company’s success. This should be a lesson for all companies.
So, how is this relevant to an organization that has an on-premise contact center? Most importantly, it illustrates that customer experience must be adaptable to the customer’s rapidly changing expectations. And unlike in the past, those expectations are not set by the contact center industry, the telecom providers, or a single transaction. They are set by the customers themselves, dynamically changing with every new digital-first/digital-only application, mobile device, or gaming solution they adopt. The intuitive nature of these devices has shown today’s consumers, that ease of use and access to support, can get them what they want, when, and how they want it. It’s not only possible, it’s become the expectation for everything they do(2).
That is until they deal with an organization that’s holding on to their hardware-based contact center which typically only offers voice communications… maybe also fax and/or email…but little else. From the organization’s perspective, on-premise technology is solid and reliable, so all calls will get through and be answered. But, that’s not what today’s consumer expects.
Whether they are a business or retail consumer, customers expect to be able to engage with a company, using their channel of choice, quickly, with minimal effort, with zero aggravation.
On-premise, hardware-based contact centers just can’t deliver on today’s rapidly evolving customer expectations. Never mind tomorrow’s.
Yet, legacy Contact Center technology and its applications are inherently more flexible than you may think. You just need to evolve them the right way. In most cases, legacy technology providers have created migration paths to newer technology while respecting – to some extent – the original investment made(3). Either through commercial migration programs (i.e. financial incentives to ease the transition) or through a hybrid approach, which provides access to the latest and greatest capabilities via software-based integrations. This can be as effective as transitioning directly to the cloud.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) provides organizations with the ability to transition at their own pace to the cloud – without the need for major project budget approvals or use of expensive capital funds or other typical impediments. They can use a proof-of-concept (PoC) approach to integrate new capabilities, demonstrate what these capabilities can do for the organization, proving their value in real-time within their environment with no downtime. Agents can be deployed, commissioned, and trained remotely, while the new and advanced capabilities selectively or broadly deployed as required. The Result? No disruption to contact center call handling capabilities, just the benefits of being able to now handle different ways customers want to engage with your organization:
A CCaaS solution would retain the same data structures and records – and uses any existing custom-developed CRM or CTI integrations… even enabling the seamless integration of advanced AI-enabled self-service tools, putting control into the customer’s hands…where they want it.
In addition, the hybrid approach also provides full business continuity as an inherent advantage of using the cloud. Full or partial implementations can be completed in 24 hours or less, with agents easily added wherever required, and then decommissioned just as quickly and easily.
While Things Change, They’ll Remain the Same, By Evolving
McKinsey & Co(4) predicts that organizations that have deployed remote agents and Work From Home (WFH) programs – soon to be Work from Anywhere for the millennials – are expected to keep these capabilities in place due to the operational advantages they bring, the productivity, and morale boost they provide… while also delivering a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The investments made to achieve this rapid transition have been significant, and organizations will look to maximize the benefits that they, their customers, and employees can extract from them, until the next transformational crisis.
Lastly, when considering the evolution of legacy infrastructure to support the integration of CCaaS, the next logical question is whether or not to extend the organization’s contact center capabilities by integrating it with a UC or UCaaS solution.
Metrigy’s(5) recent study illustrates this trend to integrating UC with CC. Doing so helps the organization benefit from seamless communications and collaboration across the organization while leveraging the desktop application they are most comfortable with – Microsoft Teams
Interestingly, Teams is now only available via the Cloud. As such, for organizations that are windows-based, they are being ‘actively encouraged’ (ahem, more like pushed… LoL) to migrate to the Cloud along with Microsoft. From a positive perspective, this does create an opportunity for organizations to experience the cloud, see the benefits it brings, and the flexibility it provides…along with all the inherent advantages already discussed.
Help make sure your organization delivers the service experience that exceeds customer expectations. Doing so will transform your contact center from a cost center into a revenue generator.