Ross Slogrove, UK and Ireland Country Manager at Cloud phone system provider Ringover, explores the role of Cloud-based software in the changing customer service landscape.
Customer service channels have evolved. Now more than ever, instant responses are desired, and somewhat expected by consumers, igniting a shift in how we do customer service – the decline of the call centre and rise of the contact centre, bringing its own set of challenges and technological developments to tech.
Call centres have traditionally been a first port of call for housing customer service representatives all in one place to handle queries, complaints and sales enquiries. Whether they’re making or receiving calls, call centres have traditionally been a customer service essential. However, as consumer expectations become increasingly digital, an evolution is on the horizon.
New kid on the block
Enter contact centres – the futureproofed successor of the call centre. A contact centre is a hub for managing customer service across several channels, not just phone calls. Agents typically deal with phone, email, live chat and social media to handle queries and complaints from customers.
With conversations starting from across several cannels, it’s absolutely crucial for contact centres to have a comprehensive software and business system strategy to ensure all queries are handled in a timely way and ensure agents don’t get burnt out. Supervising a contact centre is considerably more complex and costly than a call centre, so managers need to take a considered, strategic approach.
This is where CCaaS (contact centre as a service) comes in: a Cloud-based contact centre system designed to be seamless, futureproofed and scalable. With CCaaS, contact centres subscribe to a software and pay a monthly fee to be licensed to use it. Then, agents can download the application form any device and get to work.
Happy staff, happy customers
Opting for Cloud-based software has so many benefits for contact centre agents and customers alike. Contact centres have some of the highest rates of staff turnover out of any industry. According to contact centre recruitment specialist Blue Arrow, one in five centres experiences an annual staff turnover of over 30%. So, any technology that can make agents’ jobs less stressful and more enjoyable is crucial to business ops.
CCaaS solutions streamline all communications channels into one omnichannel platform for a seamless user experience. Customer data can be pulled from any source and presented in one platform, preventing erroneous or missing information input. This gives agents the right information at their fingertips to deal with customer enquiries quicky and efficiently.
It’s possible to integrate different pieces of software together to create one seamless platform. Ringover’s cloud calling platform can be easily integrated into contact centre solutions like Intercom, relieving agents of repetitive, time-consuming tasks. All telephone conversations are automatically recorded in Intercom to save agents time they’d otherwise send creating tickets and entering call logs.
Thanks to the nature of CCaaS solutions as downloadable applications, they also better suit the future shape of work. Contact centres don’t have to be large office spaces with several agents working together – they can be, and are increasingly – somewhat remote. Opting for CCaaS enables contact centres to offer agents the option to work remotely. As long at their device is connected to the internet and the application is downloaded, agents can access all of the information on the system from anywhere.
It’s not just agents that benefit from CCaaS, but customers too. Customers crave choice in the digital age. If they’re contacting a company, they want it to be on their terms, using their preferred communication channel. While contact centres by nature deliver on this expectation, CCaaS software is essential to making the actual conversations productive.
CCaaS solutions easily collect and analyse customer data in one space, which gives companies insights into consumer opinion and the drivers of their buying decisions to shape marketing strategy. Uniting all of this from several sources into one platform prevents information from building up in silo across several incompatible systems, allowing agents can easily access data in one place to deliver a more personalised service that makes customers feel valued.
Being cloud based, CCaaS allows users to build automated flows designed to elevate customer service. For example, for calls, smart routing allows contact centres to create their own customer rules to route calls according to their needs, applying data from CRM (customer relationship management) or other business tools. Whether it’s contact assignment, skillset or location, it’s possible to direct calls to the most suitable agent available handle customer enquiries for enhanced service.
While contact centres are a customer service powerhouse, having the correct software in place is crucial to successful operations. On-premise solutions may have once been the superior choice, but opting for cloud-based CCaaS products is key to giving contact centres the enhanced capability, flexibility and scalability to meet customers ever increasing expectations.
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