Key Things to Look for in a Cloud-Hosted Contact Center Solution
Cloud hosted contact center services present a viable way to have a call center for your business, without breaking the bank. There is no capital expenditure, no need for a large IT team to keep things running, and overall operational costs is low since everything is hosted. Plus, it is easy to expand operations seamlessly, since hosted services are scalable depending on the needs of your business. Whether it is for sales or customer service, businesses now have an affordable option to set up a contact center hosted through the cloud.
The following are the key features and top considerations when you’re looking for a contact center for your business:
Self-managed, Easy to Use Solution
One of the most important questions you should ask before committing to a call center plan is “can an authorized person change any aspect of their plan in just a short period of time?” In a traditional on-premise contact center, it can take a team of system integrators months to tie-up all the hardware and software needed to implement a suitable call plan. With a cloud-hosted contact center solution, most of the hardware is not a burden for the end-user since it is situated elsewhere. The software on the other hand, should come in pre-integrated modules for IVR, call recording, and other features, and just requires configuration to match the needs of the business, thus removing the need to start programming from scratch.
The ideal hosted contact center should be manageable to anyone who’s knowledgeable in the business, with or without advanced tech knowledge. Basically, anyone who can navigate through an e-commerce website should be able to handle managing a hosted contact center. If the depth of the application requires back office integration know-how, then you might want to get a specialist for a manager. But overall, the right contact center solution allows users to develop call plans in just a matter of hours and make changes in minutes.
Going Virtual in All Aspects
By going the hosted route, everything became “virtual” for call centers. Taking your business to the cloud, means you can now make and receive calls from anywhere. In fact, call center operations can also be set-up and monitored from anywhere in the world and in multiple locations as well. Even in separate offices, it is as if your employees are all under one roof. All you need to set up an agent is a phone and a PC with a reliable internet connection. All the tech needed to run the contact center is hosted in the cloud, and most of the hardware are on the service provider’s end.
Telco-grade Architecture and Security
As with all “hosted” services, security should be the top consideration for anyone looking for a cloud-based contact center solution. Make sure that the service provider runs their systems on telco-grade architecture, complete with fault tolerant platforms, multiple layers of security, and servers with very minimal downtime. For example, RingCentral boasts of having seven layers of security, including physical, infrastructure, and data-level security. Always ask for a copy of the security policy and see what they have about data encryption, activity logs, and user access security, and even physical security of servers.
Option to Add Applications to Improve Your Contact Center
When choosing the right contact center solution for your business, ensure that there are available applications to “upgrade” your contact center plan, and that there is room to integrate other functionalities in your system. You may want to start small and simple, with just a hosted dialer application. But make sure that you have the option to add other applications in the future, like call recording or IVR, depending on the needs of your expanding business. Even when you’re not getting any of the “add-ons” they’re offering, it would be best to take note of these features for future reference.
Weighing the Total Cost of Ownership
No matter how big or small your business is, it pays to make sure that investing on a hosted contact service provider makes sense financially? Prepare a total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison over a period of time between on-premise contact center costs and hosted contact center costs. If you had an on-premise contact center before, you can accurately identify the difference in TCO.
Future Proofing Your Contact Center
When choosing a hosted contact center provider, make sure that they have a strong technical development and service delivery team so that you can have tailored applications that meets the needs of your business. You may start small, but you should already have growth and expansion in mind, and that translates to keeping your options for your call center open and flexible. The team working behind your call center app development should be able to provide a clear application development roadmap, including concrete plans for further development of services.