Welcome to the Age of the Customer. In this era, identified by Forrester a few years back, digitally savvy customers are changing the rules of business. Today, the expectations of customers include brand interactions and experiences that are entirely seamless and completely effortless, regardless of the location, time, or touchpoint. Even organizations without a traditional call center are leveraging cloud-ready contact center technologies to drive increased revenue by way of improved customer experiences and increased productivity.
Businesses are going to extremes by investing in services to ensure they are where their customer is, whether that means through voice, chat, social media, email, or even text. Just 15 years ago, the average consumer typically used two touchpoints when buying an item; today, according to Marketing Week, consumers use an average of six touchpoints with nearly 50% using more than four. It’s important to note that while younger consumers typically prefer chat, email, and social media when contacting a company, older consumers’ outreach method is largely by phone.
Companies, regardless of size, can no longer expect to operate a successful service or technical department without integrated, cloud-based engagement solutions that support meaningful tools such as company-wide visibility, real-time CRM updates, inter-company file sharing, and storage. Moreover, the need for tracking, employee training, accountability, and management becomes much easier with features provided by modern call center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions like call recording, transcripts, and tracking.
Non-traditional call centers can reap many benefits from CCaaS too. Companies looking to improve their customer engagement and satisfaction KPIs are using CCaaS for integrations with their CRMs and social media or applications like Slack, for example. In addition, CCaaS enhances data storage security, which is paramount not simply for companies that retain customer data such as phone numbers and email addresses but for organizations that require credit card information and therefore must comply with PCI-DSS regulations.
From the customer’s viewpoint, CCaaS offers several additional benefits, such as reduced hold times, decreased time to problem resolution, and quite often, a one-call/one-touch resolution to their issue or concern that prompted the outreach. With the immediate nature of our communications today, customers rarely have the patience to follow up with a company repeatedly for the same issue and having to do so will often result in poor customer satisfaction and potentially negative reviews or feedback on public forums and social media. A recent study found that as soon as next year, customer experience will likely overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Utilizing the most up-to-date methods to not only communicate with customers but resolve their issues should be a top priority for businesses of all sizes.
What to look for in the field
It is vitally important that partners selling CCaaS look beyond organizations that have traditional call centers. As illustrated above, even companies without a true call center are potentially prime candidates for a cloud contact solution. Any company can leverage the functionality of CCaaS to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.
Here are some less traditional prospects for CCaaS solutions:
1. Companies with multiple locations and/or remote employees
▪ No onsite hardware/servers or installation required
▪ Reduces overhead costs with less onsite employees
2. Companies that have adopted other cloud solutions (like UCaaS, SD-WAN, MPLS, or Office 365)
▪ Multichannel integration to let agents field queries from customers’ preferred communication channels, including social media, mobile, live chat, email, and voice calls.
▪ They probably already have the infrastructure for a CCaaS solution
3. Businesses with small IT departments
▪ There does not need to be a dedicated person to maintain the software. The provider is responsible for keeping everything up-to-date and running smoothly.
4. Companies that have scheduling departments (like medical offices and beauty salons with multiple locations)
▪ CCaaS provides the security some such businesses need for compliance purposes
▪ Small businesses with multiple locations benefit from streamlined communications between offices and simple implementation/scalability
5. Companies looking for business continuity and/or disaster recovery services
▪ The call center will remain up and running in the event of a power outage because the infrastructure is housed in geographically redundant data centers.
▪ Most carriers guarantee 99.99% uptime
6. Businesses that have to meet security regulations (like companies that take credit cards for payment or must comply with GDPR)
▪ Providers must adhere to specific requirements for data security regulations such as GDPR. Businesses that need to adhere to these regulations can rest assured that their data is being transported/stored securely.
There are many other potential markets for CCaaS as well. Any business that cares about customer experience, in fact, will thank their IT provider for recommending this technology.
Amanda Johnson is the marketing communications manager for TBI, a telecommunications master agent. Amanda is responsible for creating content and campaigns as well as carrying out internal and external communications programs; she also develops educational materials to enable TBI’s partners to sell emerging solutions. You can reach Amanda at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.