Did Cloud Computing in Obama's Call Centers Help Win the Election?
November 19, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
With the presidential race decided and the campaign messages temporarily put to rest, let’s take a look at some of the technology that was used by the Obama team to ensure him another four years in office. One tool used by campaigns for years is the call center, but now, as cloud computing continues to gain momentum, the virtual call center is playing an even bigger role.
A recent Call Centre Helper report highlighted how cloud computing has extended beyond the consumer Web space, enabling the virtual call center to embrace new contact center software for more streamlined operations and reduced costs associated with day-to-day processes. The pay-per-month strategy lends considerable cost control to the call center, ultimately offering an optimal approach to disaster recovery (DR).
When cloud computing is used within the call center to support new initiatives for contact center software, it’s important that the organization select a proven partner (a.k.a. one that has served the virtual call center environment in the past and understands its unique benefits and challenges). It’s also critical that the organization adopt a multi-channel strategy to ensure optimal communications with customers that prefer channels other than voice.
The multi-channel strategy is explosive right now, as primarily pointed out in a recent LivePerson (News - Alert) survey revealing among a number of key trends for retailers this holiday season, the largest is consumers' appetite for a multi-channel shopping experience.
The organization will do well to invest in contact center software that allows for a strategic approach to cloud computing, but it may not be in the organization’s best interest to migrate the entire call center to the cloud all at once, as a gradual, step-by-step approach has proven less risky. Likewise, it’s also important to plan for scalability, whether that means growth in times of higher revenue or cutting back when the market becomes more difficult.
This escalation process, whether the call center has moved to a virtual deployment or not, should be guided by clear policies. When agents have an expertise in a particular area, they should be connected with customers seeking information in that area. At the same time, if agents are not given the ability to make certain decisions, a clear escalation process should be put in place.
Even with these rules followed, a presidential campaign cannot be won on technology alone. A recent New York Times report highlighted how both sides of the race mined click-stream data to target messages to potential voters. Obama claimed an edge, however, in his use of mobile and online technology to support the game on the ground.
One key strategy for the campaign was to match volunteer agents or callers to the lists received by the campaign. As a result, those making the calls had similar life experiences to those being called, and a persuasive connection was thus more likely to be made. While these remote callers were used in the 2008 campaign, 10 times as many were used to win the recent election.
Conversely, cloud computing was barely used on a broad scale in 2008. Stocked with today’s new and most advanced forms of technology, Obama was able to promote his campaign election in a whole new way, using methods that worked for his team to keep moving promotion forward as they saw fit. It just goes to show how important call centers today remain.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo