Your contact center – no matter how large – has a place in the cloud.
Sure, it can be daunting to make the leap. It’s always daunting to invest in better service, and the biggest operations are the most sensitive to risk.
But the biggest operations also have the most to gain.
So what are the hurdles a large contact center needs to clear? And are the rewards really worth it…
What challenges slow cloud deployments for businesses?
In our last post, we explained how you can migrate ACD systems to the cloud. Just that might seem like a big enough challenge. True, it’s not something to take lightly.
But is moving your entire contact center to the cloud really much harder?
I would say no, not really. It’s like painting one wall in a room compared with painting all four. Either way, you’ve got to cover the carpets and buy the paint…
What do call centers want from the cloud?
Call centers are usually motivated by more adaptable customer experience, more flexibility and lower costs. When you pick the right partners, that’s exactly what you get.
But call centers also have the same fears.
- Will they be able to guarantee an enterprise uptime SLA?
- Will they be able to ensure a high level of quality?
- And can they keep control of their processes?
Let’s answer those questions.
1. Can a cloud contact center guarantee uptime?
Uptime is all about ‘counting the 9s’. Two 9s means 99% uptime – a dire situation. Whereas five 9s of uptime means 99.999% – the holy grail.
It’s definitely a target worth chasing. Think about this: a 24-hour contact center with 99% uptime has 7.3 hours downtime per month.
99.9% means 43 minutes downtime.
99.999% means just 26 seconds.
In practice, enterprise SLAs for call centers aim for close to four 9s and above.
So, how do you get that reliability from the cloud? It turns out that’s actually easier to do with a cloud-based service than with either an on-premise system or with a 100% privately hosted system.
How to ensure an Enterprise uptime SLA for your cloud call center
- Ring-fence your deployment so it’s never impacted by other services
- Manage deployments of updates strictly – only deploy stable, mature branches of each service in a rolling update model
- Deploy in self-healing, virtualized clusters that expand capacity dynamically
- Deploy in multiple zones and regions
- Use a deployment model that’s compatible with multiple cloud platforms: AWS, Google Cloud, Azure
- Establish defined triage and service operating protocols across all components and all vendors (subcontractors/subprocessors)
- Since many inbound telecoms routes are deployed by carriers into single resources, create fallback and rapid recovery procedures
- Since call centers and telephony uses components and infrastructure which are under the control of multiple parties, establish processes for managing the end-to-end network that all align with the same service level objectives.
“It’s not all about the tech. Processes around monitoring, triage and change management play a huge role in achieving high uptime. We work with enterprise customers to define the detection, reporting and process for every imaginable eventuality. In practice, this is vital to routinely operate at four 9s uptime.”
Katrin Geske, Head of Customer Success at babelforce
Around three-quarters of contact centers cite better uptime as a motivation for switching to the cloud. There’s clearly more confidence in the cloud than ever before.
It also shows how far the price point for securing redundancy has fallen below the cost of on-site systems.Good times!
2. Can a cloud contact center guarantee quality?
The short(ish) answer is that there are a lot of factors to balance, from app and media channel hosting through to decent hardware. Any telecoms provider you consider needs to demonstrate how they’ll account for each of them.
How many carriers?
The number of carriers and integrated service providers makes a huge difference to quality and uptime. For example, babelforce uses over 40 carriers and 300 service providers to make sure service is totally consistent.
Flexible call platform?
Here’s another vital factor. Does your call platform provide enough flexibility to make changes and optimize network traffic for voice media across all your enterprise routes?
Many cloud platforms will essentially lock you into a black box. The telecoms, IVR, ACD and agent connections are all proprietary and unitary. That makes you entirely dependent on a single underlying provider, which will not work for most enterprise call centers.
Your platform has to have enough flexibility to handle complex network and infrastructure requirements and to fit into your existing and evolving IT environments.
This is an essential part of guaranteeing the highest quality calls across end-to-end routes. If you can’t decide which components to use, then it’s a simple fact that you’ll be limited when it comes to optimizing voice quality for calls.
3. Can a cloud contact center retain control?
Control is often the first thing to go out the window.
Keeping control comes down to your integration strategy. Say you go with an out-of-the-box SaaS platform. Control over your call processes is gone because you have to use the tools you’re given.
Sure, public APIs can open up some customization, but only if you have the IT resources to constantly develop and integrate with them.
‘… not all SaaS solutions are created equally from an integration perspective. These systems have a strong propensity to become data silos in their own right, particularly when purchased by business units independent from IT.
We strongly recommend thoroughly evaluating any SaaS purchase for its ability to easily integrate with existing applications. The rule should be: no integration capabilities, no purchase.’
Lisa Loftis, CMS Wire
Getting locked in to a vendor contract also takes away a lot of your decision-making power. (Namely, the decision to drop that vendor.)
So – your integration strategy needs both a degree of customizability and no lock-in. In that case, you might need to consider hosting across multiple infrastructure vendors.
Using multiple vendors can solve both issues; you get access to the various tools you need, and you’re not too over-reliant on any of them.
What about evolving our processes?
Factors like uptime, reliability, quality… they’re very important. You can’t do anything until you’ve guaranteed them.
But they’re not the exciting bit.
The exciting bit is getting substantially more flexibility into your call center processes. As we’ve discussed, public APIs can open up customization… but only if you have the IT bandwidth to develop and integrate with them.
That’s why no-code platforms have become a leading option for large call centers. You still get a high level of customizability, but without the need for large software projects.
In fact, with a good no-code platform one person on your operations team can create new (and automated) call and process flows in a matter of days or hours.
Time-savers like automated data entry, virtual queueing and personalized call routing might seem out of reach now. But with the right integration strategy and the right no-code tools, they could easily become a reality.
One of the key benefits of moving to the cloud is automating… everything!
Ready to learn how?
Then get Your (free) Guide to Call Center Automation now!