By Andrew Leatherland, Contact Centre Product Manager at GCI.
A recent Frost & Sullivan survey of almost 2,000 IT decision makers globally reveals that 90% of companies have deployed at least some of their Enterprise IT applications in the Cloud; in fact, the largest has moved as much as 50% of their business applications off their premises. So why are companies looking to the Cloud to create an extraordinary customer journey? There are many reasons, but the key ones we experience are speed of deployment, moving to an Operational versus Capital Expenditure model, simple scalability, greater flexibility, easier management and support, and the ability to access new applications, features and functions as soon as they are needed.
When moving to the Cloud is on the agenda, the Contact Centre is often one of the first areas to make this transition, with 36% of organisations having already moved their customer-focused apps to the Cloud and 50% more expecting to do so within the next three years. Depending on the organisation, IT managers tell us they see immediate benefits from making the shift; topping the list are easier data storage, greater flexibility, and access to advanced features and capabilities.
But, with all the above advantages considered, four key areas of opportunity stand out for Cloud-based communications in the Contact Centre:
1. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
The need for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for the Contact Centre should be clear: whether an outage or interruption is man-made or the result of a natural disaster, companies cannot leave their customers without support when they need it.
Companies can start by implementing several best practices, including smart site selection, multi-shoring, supporting home-based workers and, most importantly, moving key data and applications to the Cloud. Once considered to be a luxury, service providers are now expected to offer redundant datacentres as standard, to ensure their customers will always have access to their apps and services.
2. Harnessing the power of Big Data and Analytics
Analysing “big” and “small” data can have measurable impact on the bottom line. Big data – which has received a lot of attention in the past few years – provides information on user behaviour and larger trends in the market, and it can span everything from broad demographics and census data to industry news, competitive rollouts and market performance. By tracking what customers and prospects are saying and doing on social media and community sites as well as when they interact with your company provdies a good sense of what they are looking for from the products you sell, why they buy when they do, and how to better meet their needs.
3. Channel of Choice
Many companies struggle to support the growing number of channels their customers want to use for sales and support, but a Cloud-based solution can make it easy and cost effective to do so. Mobile, web, social, communities – all offer opportunities to reach new prospects and keep existing customers engaged, regardless of where they live or how and when they choose to do business with your organisation. As your customers use these new channels to conduct research, make purchases and receive post-sales support they are sharing their experiences with friends, family and colleagues. These encounters will then shape how others see your business and whether they also want to buy from you.
Companies that want to stay competitive must enable exceptional experiences across all these new channels, but also deliver them in a way that is fast and flexible, and that controls costs. Cloud-based solutions deliver on all of these, with easy deployment support for mobile, social and online interactions whenever you are ready to implement them, negating the worry about the time and expense it takes to evaluate, buy, deploy and support new media.
4. Close the culture gap
It’s critical to empower all your employees to own your customer relationships and make agility and responsiveness top priorities. Again, this goes well beyond the bounds of the Contact Centre and includes executives, managers and employees across the organisation. After all, it requires a company-wide effort to always put the customer first, and your Contact Centre solution should have great training and support to ensure that message gets through.
On the customer side, this means ensuring that the channel of choice is always on, so you can deliver an immediate, satisfactory response. On the business side, one of the biggest challenges lies in understanding and supporting all the people and business units that touch a given customer along his or her journey…from awareness, to purchase, to service. Your technology investments and organisational processes should make it easy for every employee to do whatever is needed to put the customer first.
Having just recently launched our GCI Cloud Contact Centre – based on Microsoft’s Skype for Business and technology from Enghouse Interactive – GCI have delivered the ability to deploy an omni-channel Contact Centre capability to the mass market for the first time in the UK. Want to know more? Download our FREE Contact Centre resources here and book your complimentary, no-obligation consultation or demo: info.gcicom.net/gci-contact-centre-cch
Andrew Leatherland is Contact Centre Product Manager at GCI.
As a Product Manager with over 25 years’ experience in the Information Technology industry, Andrew is responsible for the growth of GCI’s Contact Centre proposition. Having worked in a number of diverse industries enables him to call upon a wide range of solutions built off experiences from market areas, which include Government (Central and Local), Utilities, Banking and Insurance.