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Contact Centre Solutions Jun 22, 2020

Is the time right to rethink your contact centre?

By Ailbhe McDarby Head of Unified Communications & Contact Centre propositions, BT Ireland

The pandemic has seen organisations adopting technologies they weren’t sure about before, and there has been a lot of talk about long-term impact on advancing digital transformation strategies. Day-to-day business processes are the most obvious impact but contact centres are another area that lockdown could have inadvertently changed forever.

Businesses faced regulatory and technical challenges as they enabled thousands of contact centre agents to work from home during the lockdown, but once they overcame the obstacles they found they were able to give their customers an excellent experience. I suspect this will prompt many organisations with large customer service facilities to rethink their approach and consider cloud contact centres more seriously as an alternative.

While sharing many of the same benefits as other areas of digital transformation – agility, scalability, cost savings – cloud contact centres offer very specific advantages to customer engagement. Customer experience is one of the hot topics for organisations running omni-channel businesses and the contact centre is among the most important touchpoints – one that the cloud can make better.

Frictionless and scalable

Think about the role of the modern contact centre and it’s easy to see why the cloud ticks so many boxes. Its whole function is to encourage customer conversations, and the trend is for self-service, where the customer gets to decide how they communicate with you. Webchat, social media and email as well as more traditional phone calls are not just easier to integrate and run from the cloud, they can be made much more powerful and frictionless.

Many organisations are already using ‘bots’ that leverage AI and machine learning to respond to common enquiries more quickly. Escalation paths can be built into the service that will decide when the customer needs to talk to a real agent. These augmented services – people working with AI and data – are the direction of travel for contact centres and much easier to achieve in the cloud.

Offering different channels is important, but it’s also important from a cost perspective to be able to align service levels to demand. This is where the cloud’s scalability comes in. It becomes much easier to increase the number of call agents for peak business times, only paying for what’s required. Free from the constraints of a physical building and desk space, you can ‘flex’ a virtual service up and down and avoid costly overheads. Costs are directly aligned to business needs.

Flexible and personalised

Aligning people, processes and technology in the cloud to give a personalised experience to customers is much easier than on physical premises. The costs and silos of a traditional facility are eliminated and your business benefits from an environment that is flexible enough for changing business needs.

Recent events have shown that nothing is certain. Consumer habits have changed dramatically and it’s a brave business that tries to second-guess what they’ll be doing next. The best defence against uncertainty is agility, which is very hard if you are depending on a contact centre run on legacy systems stitched together over many years.   

With an experienced vendor like BT, moving from traditional contact centre to cloud can be seamless and liberate you from outdated technology that is expensive to maintain. We support over 65,000 agents around the world and have helped hundreds of global businesses transform into agile customer service leaders. If you want to engage in richer conversations and put customers at the centre of your business, we can help.