With technology moving incredibly quickly and consumer behaviour seemingly changing overnight, the hub of customer communication cannot afford to fail to match that rapid pace of change.
This shift makes it an interesting time in the contact centre industry. It’s at a tipping point where the early adopters have already made the jump to the cloud and the rest are either starting to make plans for their migration, or at least become open to the idea of cloud where they weren’t before.
A report by Magnetic North, titled ‘Ahead in the cloud: why contact centres are moving to cloud based solutions’, outlines the views of 100 decision makers in contact centres in the UK, looking at where they are in the cloud adoption curve, and what the reasons are for those making the move.
The standard patter for why any area of business is moving to the cloud tends to focus on the benefits, but what the report discovered about the cloud drivers in the contact centre industry is somewhat different. Yes, there are acknowledged benefits, but there are also a number of ‘push’ factors driving contact centres from their current on premise solutions.
As mentioned, consumer behaviour is changing rapidly. People are using an ever-broader variety of means to communicate with each other, via email, social media and mobile, and the expectation is that they should be able to communicate similarly with businesses. This means it is becoming absolutely imperative for any business that cares about customer service to be able to have multimedia capabilities.
Unfortunately, the on-premise technology that most contact centres are currently using is hindering this. Over half of contact centre managers and directors said that their legacy equipment is preventing a multimedia roll out. And this is having serious knock on effects for these businesses; just under 50% said that legacy equipment is preventing their contact centre from meeting KPIs, and 54% said that it is a financial drain.
It’s also impacting these contact centres’ ability to be compliant with industry regulations. As the communications landscape is changing, contact centres are coming under an increasing number of regulatory requirements, and their legacy technology is not enabling them to meet those requirements.
>See also: The 7 myths of cloud contact centres
Perhaps most interesting though, are the non-technology related drivers. A huge 65% of contact centre decision makers using on premise solutions indicated having serious issues with their relationship with their current technology provider. They stated that either suppliers don’t understand their business, are only seen when issues occur or the contract is up for renewal, or are ‘constantly trying to get money out of us’.
It seems that whilst on premise technology is now failing to meet requirements for modern consumer communications, the solutions providers themselves have shot themselves in the foot by failing to offer a better service to their customers.
The on premise contact centre technology solutions providers have historically offered little in the way of service, selling mainly hardware and licenses while relying on a captive market to maximise the value of the sale.
It seems that the cloud now poses a real threat to these companies, offering cost savings on a dramatic scale and changing the market dynamic completely. For many traditional vendors it could well be a case of ‘too little too late’ as early adopters help to prove the business case and credibility of the cloud-based contact centre
Cloud-based contact centre solutions can offer significant savings over on premise, and this was the top reason for making or considering the move for our contact centre decision makers.
The second was flexibility. A cloud based contact centre can offer flexibility for the business in a number of ways. The first is in licensing; rather than pay up front for what you predict will be your maximum agent requirement throughout the year, a cloud solution allows you to scale up and down according as you go according to the needs of the business.
There is also working flexibility; contact centre agents can work from home. Then there is the flexibility of the technology itself; as the entire system is cloud based, new features can be added as and when without requiring any disruption to the service or expensive hardware upgrades.
Reliability is another benefit seen as a driver, offering significant benefits here in terms of backing up data such as call recordings in more than one datacentre location, for example.
As with many other areas of IT, cloud adoption is becoming inevitable rather than optional for the contact centre. But it’s interesting to see that the reasons for this shift are not simply that it’s cheaper, or even that the technology is better placed to deal with modern communications.
It’s clear that there has been a long period of contact centres getting poor service from their providers, and that we are now on the brink of seeing a complete change in how the market works.
Sourced from David Ford, managing director, Magnetic North