08.21.17 / blog
While the many benefits of a cloud-based call center may be tantalizing, it isn’t uncommon for call centers to put off migration to a virtual solution until some issue forces their hand. While these situations may seem unfortunate at first, they could actually be an opportunity to improve your contact center’s performance and bottom-line. In this third part of our series, we’ll explore when it’s time to migrate your on-premise call center system to the cloud.
Legacy Call Center End-of-Life
First-generation legacy on-premise call centers are aging and sooner or later will have to be replaced. Expanding or upgrading on-premise equipment is expensive, and while your existing vendor may be pressuring you to buy a whole new system, this is the perfect time to look into cloud-based solutions. While these next-generation systems offer many benefits, whether on-premise or in the cloud, you need confidence a new contact center will be relatively easy to install, will perform well, and will make a decent ROI.
Cloud-based call centers are easy to deploy, because it’s just a matter of getting a browser to connect to the system; the provider has already got the infrastructure ready and waiting for you to use. A traditional call center can be upgraded to an omni-channel contact center in a matter of weeks (depending on size).
Call Center Hardware and/or Software Upgrades
Even if your on-premise call center is not yet at the end of its’ productive life, it may be time to upgrade, perhaps to keep the call center software up to date, to add new features, or to integrate with other channels or systems. If you are maintaining different contact center systems at different sites, you may need to juggle upgrades between sites to minimize downtime.
If you are questioning whether the benefits of upgrading your old system are worth the risk, hassle, and cost, you could consider a hybrid solution, which can provide all the latest features and channels, in addition to unified cloud routing, predictive analytics-based routing, and a graceful migration path to the cloud. This is particularly valuable to multi-site, multi-system contact centers.
Moving or Relocating Call Centers
There are many reasons why a business needs to relocate – more space, a better location, financial necessity among them. Whatever the case for the move, it might be a good time to leave your old call center system with your old address.
Since cloud-based systems are easy to deploy, and much less expensive in terms of up-front capital expenditures, it might actually be cheaper and/or easier to have your new cloud-based call center ready and waiting for you in your new digs.
Growing and Scaling Your Call Center
If you must have a problem, growth is a relatively good problem to have. At the same time, if your call volume, number of agents, distributed sites, or outsource partners are increasing, it can lead to other problems that aren’t so good to have, such as difficulty scaling your old system, and difficulty controlling and managing the needed expansion. If you upgrade a traditional call center, you have a big capital expense up front for licenses and equipment, and you may still be limited by the number of ports you have.
With a virtual call center, the upfront cost is considerably less, and you will never have to worry about managing and maintaining equipment going forward. In addition, the better cloud-based solutions are scalable from small, middle, and up through large enterprises.
New Contact Center Features
With all the advances in communications and contact center technology, there will be times you need to add new features to stay competitive. While you may be able to get the features you need from your legacy on-premise contact center vendor, how much more will it cost? Does that include the cost of the people implementing the new features?
Virtual call center solutions allow you to get the latest innovations, features, and upgrades faster and at a lower cost. Going forward, you won’t have to manage upgrades, because the cloud service provider does that for you.
Integrating Your Call Center With Other New Systems
Even if you haven’t migrated your on-premise call system to the cloud, other SaaS platforms, such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) can enter the scene at your company. While software such as Salesforce might easily integrate with a cloud-based call center, it might not integrate so easily with an old on-premise system.
Modern cloud-based contact center software provides a unified solution that uses open standards to easily integrate your data, voice, applications, and databases.
Contact Center Service Quality
Customers respond negatively to unreliable situations. Maintaining reliability requires managing uptime and service levels across systems and sites, knowing when things are working and not, and having insight into peak times, loads, and other analytics across all systems. This can be challenging with on-premise equipment.
If your reliability and service levels are suffering, you can migrate to a cloud-based solution, which can provide up to 99.99% uptime while balancing call loads and ensuring the most efficient use of agents in multiple locations.
Contact Center Business Performance
10 years ago the priority was cost reduction, but in today’s competitive environment the focus is on improving business performance through key performance indicators (KPIs). Today’s disparate and distributed systems are not delivering the needed collaboration and integrated views to improve the two categories of KPIs: operational and business.
A cloud solution with predictive analytics-driven routing can improve business performance, as well as operational efficiency and costs. The unified user experience and centralized performance data across channels and systems some cloud contact center systems provide allow agents to provide better service, and managers to better understand and manage operations and business performance.
Combining Call Centers Due to Acquisition or Merger
We’ve all been through it – a company gets bought or sold, and not only do departments have to merge functions across the new enterprise, but call center systems that were originally not designed to work together now have to. You can try to keep the original systems and teams working separately, but it’s difficult to manage and optimize in real-time with no unified view or control of multiple sites or systems.
An alternate solution is to create a hybrid cloud contact center, which overlays some of your existing systems to unify and correlate metrics from the multiple systems and sites. The more sophisticated cloud-based contact centers have the capability of displaying cross-system, channel, and site operational and performance metrics – in real-time. These next-generation cloud call center systems can also drive the behavior of on-premise systems, letting you create centralized routing rules across sites and technologies. In time, you can gradually migrate some sites to the cloud.
In summary, challenging situations can arise that are really opportunities for you to take stock of your existing call center and improve your business by migrating to the next generation of contact center functionality.