Despite the increasing number of customer service channels available, most people still turn to the humble telephone when they want to contact a business. As such, your business’s contact centre remains central to maintaining customer interactions and relationships.
For this reason, as managers continue to wake up to the technology’s many advantages, cloud infrastructure has become the fastest growing sector of the call centre market.
In addition to the cost benefits, cloud contact centres offer scalable ‘anywhere, anytime’ access, easy integration with existing systems, and a wide range of features that help businesses deliver excellent customer service.
If you’re one of the many managers contemplating leveraging a call centre in the cloud for the benefit of your business, here are 10 questions you need to ask yourself now.
- Do you want a managed or non-managed service?
Opting for a provider that offers a managed service means they will work with you to understand your requirements before building a system to meet them.
On the other hand, if you choose a non-managed service provider, you will need to have a much greater understanding of your exact requirements and preferred network configuration pre-purchase. So if, for example, you don’t have staff capable of configuring a cloud call centre network, a managed service will free up time and resources, and make things a whole lot easier.
- What telephone numbers do you need to include in your network?
When creating any telephony network, knowing the numbers you want to use and ensuring they are available for your chosen provider to work with is fundamental. If you are working with a provider offering a managed service, this is likely to be part of the installation process. If it is not, you will need to compile a list of all your numbers to ensure your provider can use them to route all incoming phone calls on your behalf.
- Do you fully understand all your technical requirements?
When moving to a cloud telephony system, you need to ensure your network is geared up to handle the increase in traffic it will encounter when your voice channel moves to Internet Protocol (IP).
It is important to consider what type of interaction your cloud provider will have with your existing infrastructure. Again, if you opt for a managed service, your provider will typically provide support to ensure your network meets the technical requirements needed.
- Who will need access to what and when?
With the implementation of any cloud call centre, different people will need different levels of access and the use of different features. Therefore, after ensuring your network is ready for the cloud, you need to consider your approach to access rights.
Pertinent questions at this stage include: what features will your middle and senior managers need access to? Are these different to the features your sales team will need? And who is going to be the system administrator for your cloud call centre network?
- What type of routing solution will you need?
After determining who will need access to what within your team, you can start to map out your call routing requirements. First, consider all the different reasons why your customers might contact your business. You can then start to review whether the calls of some customers should be priority routed depending on the context of their inquiry.
- Do you want to integrate customer-friendly solutions?
Some businesses frustrate their customers by using interactive voice response (IVR) systems that are too complex or difficult to navigate. A major benefit for cloud call centres is that they can easily incorporate computer telephony integration (CTI), which allows for the provision of intelligent IVRs. From a customer-friendly perspective, intelligent IVRs offer the possibility of dynamic menus that will help your customers speak to the correct person, faster.
- Do you want reports that monitor metrics and data?
A cloud call centre with CTI offers the opportunity for your service provider to compile smart reports. With such a wealth of data potentially available, you will be able to access reports that provide detailed insights on important sales, service and marketing metrics. These can include things like the number of prospects your agents are currently engaging, customer satisfaction scores and retention rates, all of which can be used to generate a better understanding of your business’s sales and customer service successes.
- What training will you need to provide?
The return on investment (ROI) of any technology is limited to the benefit enjoyed by the end user. Therefore, investing time in effectively training your staff on the new cloud telephony system effectively will pay for itself many times over. It’s worth noting that, if you elect to go with a managed service provider, they will often provide training to help you and your staff get the most out of the system.
- How much ongoing support will you need?
Any contractual agreement with the supplier of your cloud solution is likely to include technical support. The level of ongoing technical support provided by most service providers is tiered by cost and designed to suit varying requirements. Using your knowledge of your team, consider exactly how much hand-holding is required to get your new system working and operating smoothly on an ongoing basis.
- Can a Salesforce Open CTI adapter improve sales and service?
Salesforce’s cloud technologies help nurture growth by ensuring businesses can better maintain their customer relationship management (CRM) platform, without having to make a huge investment in hardware and software.
Salesforce Open CTI allows all kinds of integrations and applications to plug into Salesforce in the cloud. As a result, it provides a wealth of benefits for helping call centre agents deliver sales success and excellent customer service.
Want to learn more about how Salesforce Open CTI can help your business deliver better customer service over the phone? Then take a look at NewVoiceMedia’s whitepaper, ‘The Advanced Guide to Salesforce Telephony Integration: How to Compare Salesforce Open CTI Adapters’.
Share this article
About Ashley Unitt
Ashley founded NewVoiceMedia to exploit the obvious benefits of putting an enterprise-class contact centre in the cloud, and now serves as Chief Scientist, leading the architecture and research teams.
Prior to NewVoiceMedia he spent ten years at Teamphone.com Ltd developing innovative CTI software solutions including voicemail systems, hot-desking products and an open source gate keeper.
Ashley's blog will focus on security, PCI-DSS and general cloud computing issues.
Outside of work he spends most of his time running around after his two young children. You can follow Ashley on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aunitt.