The author of this post is located in the UK.
Legacy contact centre system limitations can be a big roadblock when it comes to designing and delivering positive customer experiences across digital and voice channels. Legacy systems tend to come with a high cost of ownership, are often inflexible, difficult to integrate with one another and were typically designed for a pre-digital age. Until now there was no single solution able to address all these limitations at once. But the of age of cloud-based technology means there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel and many organisations are rushing to the Cloud to overcome these longstanding legacy system challenges.
According to a recent West report, State of Customer Experience 2017, 39 percent of companies have already migrated their contact centre operations to the Cloud, and a further 53 percent are planning to move to a cloud contact centre platform within three years.
But while overcoming legacy systems limitations is a big driver of this mass migration, it is not the only reason. While 65 percent of contact centre and customer experience professionals in our survey say speed of deployment is the biggest benefit of cloud contact centres, there are other key business priorities that the Cloud is well-suited for: improving profitability (63%), ensuring technology keeps pace with changing customer behaviours (67%) and security (37%).
So, if you are planning to move your contact centre to the Cloud, here are three top tips to ensure a successful migration that results in a great customer experience:
1. Understand Your Customers’ Communications Preferences
Make sure you know how your customers would prefer to deal with you. Web self-service is something most consumers welcome for simple enquiries and straightforward transactions. Similarly, SMS messages can be a useful way of keeping your customers informed, and saving your contact centre agents for more complex enquiries. Increasingly, be aware that customer’s choices may change over time or based on the issue in need of resolution. Flexibility and customer accommodating options are key.
2. Assess the Technology Platform Prior to Purchase
Though we often speak of the Cloud as if it were a large, homogeneous thing, we should remember that not all cloud systems are created equal. Of course, moving to the Cloud does not require the same level of capital investment as on-premises equipment, but it is a change that will affect the satisfaction levels of your staff and of course your customers. So, it is vital you evaluate your choice of cloud platform carefully. To realise the full benefits of the Cloud, you should be buying into a future-proof platform that is designed at its inception for multi-channel contact and integrates easily with your other systems, including your CRM system.
For optimum benefit, we would recommend selecting a solution that can wrap around your current business processes – rather than the other way around. Or you may want to improve your business processes, by building multichannel options into your workflow. Either way, it is vital to do thorough research before making the switch – find out what your business requirements are and investigate whether the providers you are evaluating are able to meet all those needs. Consider the market reputation of your chosen provider too. It is important to ensure that the company that will be providing you with essential technology has a good track record.
3. Make Sure Your Cloud Platform is Future-proof
It is only a matter of time before digital contacts overtake voice in the contact centre. In fact, in our study 88 percent of contact centre professionals anticipate this change within a few years. But remember while messaging may be the preferred customer channel for certain demographics today, digital communication and customer behaviour will continue to evolve. In order to keep up with customer expectations, it is worthwhile to take time to think about what future-proofing your contact centre really looks like.
How much does your provider invest in R&D? Will their technology architecture integrate easily with your current and future systems? Will you have to pay for new features and functionality, or is it included within your contract? Make sure you have a tick-box of future-proof requirements to help select your vendor. If you are well-placed, to respond to changing customer behaviours, then you are well-placed to develop competitive edge and future business survival.