Hosted Contact Center Featured Article

The Cloud Helps Contact Centers Stay Nimble, Study Finds

December 23, 2013

By Mae Kowalke,
TMCnet Contributor

People no longer just call or talk with their friends in person. They text, chat, tweet, e-mail and interact with others through bulletin board systems. So it is no great surprise that people are now expecting the same range of communication methods from companies.

The days of phone-based contact centers are over, indicated by the switch from calling such operations “call” centers to “contact” centers. Businesses today must meet consumers where they are, which means they need more than one communications channel in the contact center.

Meeting this challenge requires new processes, however. It also requires lots of new technology.

There’s not only the need to access these different communication channels, but also the need for skills-based routing to make sure the right agent is covering the right channel, metrics to monitor agents more, switching technology to move among the different channels and analytics platforms to draw trends from the various channels and aggregate the results.

This is one reason that cloud-based contact center solutions are rising to the top; they provide a seamless transition to integrated contact center work, and because they are software-as-a-service the hassle of staying current is offloaded to the hosting provider and not a company’s IT department.

The contact center market reached $1.76 billion in 2012, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) report. Making up the lion’s share of the growth were hosted solutions. While the contact center market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5 percent through 2017, according to Frost 7 Sullivan, the hosted contact center space is predicted to grow by 12.1 percent.

“Cloud is no longer restricted to small or mid-sized enterprises,” said Frost & Sullivan Contact Centers principal analyst, Nancy Jamison. “Organizations of all sizes realize initial concerns related to the cloud, including doubts as to the security, have been addressed by solution providers.  This includes providers' adherence to strict security requirements, including both physical and on an application layer.”

The move also is dictated by the customer, she said.

“Customers are dictating the transformation of contact centers," said Jamison. “And companies are responding by stepping up from a multi-channel approach to omni-channel engagement, which is vital to seamlessly interact with customers from channel to channel without loss of interoperability or history.”

"Fast time to deployment, combined with capabilities related to social and mobile, analytics and integration with the back office, all paint a clear picture of the drivers pushing organizations to wholeheartedly adopt the cloud," she said.

People aren’t just calling any longer, and hosted solutions are enabling businesses to keep up with the change in habits.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker