We spend a lot of time talking about cloud-based contact center solutions. So much that you might imagine that most call centers run in the cloud. This isn’t true. In fact, research published last year by Nemerets discovered that only 14 percent of companies use cloud-based solutions for customer service and call center operations. That leaves the other 86 percent either adamantly opposed, neutral or still investigating what the cloud will bring them.
The benefits of cloud-based call center solutions are well-known. They allow companies to immediately launch new contact center capabilities for a low monthly fee and little to no upfront capital and no hardware expense other than phones and computers, no software licensing fees, and no implementation or maintenance team to hire. They allow smaller contact centers to afford the kind of advanced functionality they never could have hoped to attain with a scaled-down premise-based solution. Agents on a cloud-based solution can work from home or from remote locations, and companies can ensure coverage in the event of call spikes, outages or weather problems.
So what’s holding so many companies back? While part of it may be simply a lack of knowledge or will to make changes, other objections are more practical. According to Genesys’ (News - Alert) Max Ball in a recent blog post, there are some sticking points for tech-savvy companies when it comes to cloud-based contact center solutions. These include:
Telephony costs. According to Ball, some cloud vendors require users to consume their telephony services as part of the contact center offering. While this works well for some companies, for others it simply increases telephony costs.
Security. Many companies perceive cloud-based solutions are insecure and fear letting go of private customer information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, financial or medical information. They believe the information is safer kept on the premises and in the company’s intranet.
Amortization of existing equipment. While cloud-based call centers do save companies money, many organizations have existing equipment that isn’t paid for yet. Splashing out on a new contact center solution seems to them like double-paying for functionality.
There may also be lingering memories of the first generation of hosted solutions, many of which were found to be poorly designed or poorly utilized by the staff of companies that implemented them. Other common objections to the cloud, such as fear that home-based employees won’t really be working when they are supposed to, are largely unfounded thanks to today’s workforce management solutions and unified communications that keeps track of each worker’s presence.
In truth, the legitimate objections can be overcome by partnership with a trusted cloud call center partner. 8x8 (News - Alert) Inc., with its Virtual Call Center solution, can flex to meet a contact center’s needs and it houses its platform in a secure Equinix (News - Alert) data center located in Washington DC in order to meet FISMA, SSAE16 and PCI requirements. It provides secure separation between tenants, ensuring data can’t be intercepted -- layer 2 isolation creates a boundary that cannot be crossed – and the company offers virtualized firewalls for maximum security.
At this point, it’s safe to say that there is little keeping contact centers both large and small from the cloud except unfounded fears and a lack of understanding about opportunity.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey