The Customer Contact Council, a division of the Corporate Executive Board conducted a study of more than 75,000 people who had interacted over the phone with contact centre representatives or through self-service channels such as web, voice prompts, chat, and email. The research addressed three questions:
How important is customer service to loyalty?
Which customer service activities increase loyalty and which don’t?
Can companies increase loyalty without raising their customer service operations costs?
Two critical findings emerged from this study.
- Delighted customers don’t build loyalty – reducing the effort it takes to get their problem solved - does.
- Making it simpler for customers can help improve customer service, reduce customer services costs, and customer churn.
And yet how many times have you called a company to resolve an issue and end up in a never ending loop. Pressing “0” is no longer an option to speak to a human being. The biggest problem is dated technology. Contact centres spent a fortune on on-premise technology that now limits the way they want to do business. 5-10 years ago, having an IVR system was state of the art. Now you might want to add a new outbound department or make part of your service offering, self-service. It’s only now that you want to improve process and efficiencies that you realize the limitations of your existing solution and not to mention the costs associated with improving what you have.
Cloud contact centre solutions give contact centres the flexibility they need when they need it. Making it simple for your customers is as easy as making it simple for yourself. To be at the leading edge of the industry you need to be on top of your game, deliver the best, and keep up the pace in the changing market. You can’t do this if you are constrained by dated technology.
There is a reason why so many businesses are moving to the cloud. The options are endless. It’s time for contact centres to move to a multi-channel operation where customers can contact your business how they want, knowing that their query will be resolved with a postitve customer experience.
Download this free guide: Generate Revenue & Save Money by Switching to Cloud
Gartner just released its annual projections on the worldwide IT spend over the next two year. This research includes hardware, software, enterprise, and telecom sales. The results found that spend will increase $3.8 Trillion, a rise of 4.1% on 2012. Of this number, the biggest spend, $1.69 billion, will be spent on telecoms.
One trend on the rise, consistent with many of the new global customers who have selected Solgari, is the use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Many of Solgari’s clients rely on smart phones and tablets as they travel to various locations and have the need to loop in home and remote workers. Solgari Cloud Communication Services such as Cloud PBX and Contact Centre services allow customers use their smart phones to access their business at any time.
Gartner’s findings continue to reinforce the drift away from on-premise and more reliance on cloud-based services, helping lift the burden away from significant software and hardware investments.
The norm for contact centres tends to be a dated PBX system that is paid for and fully owned with no maintenance or support costs tied to the old infrastructure. One of the most common responses we hear when doing a cost analysis is
“We don’t pay anything for our current system and it hardly ever goes down. If something were to happen, we can get a technician to call out for €750 a day.”
The reality is, that the technology itself is not costing anything but overall, running 10 year old hardware is costing your business more thanyou realize.
Many contact centres have been forced to change the way they run their contact centre services. This is due to several factors:
- Several disparate systems
- Lack of functionality
- New locations or remote/home workers
- Additional service offerings
Technology based on Need/Demand
The functionality available with cloud communications allows flexibility and efficiency that is often not accounted for. For example, with cloud-based contact centre services, organisations are able to remove disparate systems.
15 Inbound contact centre service agents
10 outbound contact centre service agents
20 general employees (marketing, finance, management).
With traditional contact centre technology, this contact centre would require one system for the entire organisation. With cloud-based contact centre services, businesses buy what they need: 15 ACD seats for the inbound reps, 10 outbound seats for a predictive dialler, and 20 cloud PBX seats for the general business staff who do not require the various contact centre functionality. In addition, they are available on a per user per month basis. This is essential for seasonal contact centres where the volume and number of agents can fluctuate drastically.
Expansion/Remote or Home Workers/New Locations
With traditional contact centre technology, it is difficult to accommodate remote employees. There may not be a work from home policy within your organisation but the ability to have remote workers in the event of a natural disaster or human error affords your business and contact centre to be fully operational in any location at any time.
This is similar for many new location expansions into new markets. Many businesses that are looking to expand may not necessarily settle into a new office or may find a temporary office location. With cloud contact centre solutions, there is no hassle of fixed ISDN lines that need to be moved and setup. This drastically reduces the overall maintenance costs that many contact centres face with traditional contact centre technologies.
Last but certainly not least is the need for integration or enhanced functionality. Traditional on-premise contact centres have several disparate systems to accommodate for various services within the contact centre. For example, ACD for inbound agents, a separate solution used for predictive dialling for your outbound agents, and yet another solution for call recording. Also, traditional on-premise contact centre solutions are limited in the ability to integrate to a CRM solution and rely heavily on importing and exporting files on a nightly basis.
With could contact centre services, you have the choice of a single vendor that can offer full functionality based on the agent and that directly integrates to a CRM service of your choice. Streamlining these process significantly increases efficiency and productivity. Contact centre managers are offered a single tool to monitor their entire contact centre from their customizable dashboards.
In addition, cloud contact centres offer multi-channel service capabilities such as SMS, Social Media, and web chats.
Many of these enhanced capabilities offered by cloud contact centre services tend to be overlooked when evaluating the cost of a paid for on-premise solution that is no longer supported or maintained. However, if considered correctly, can increase efficiency and productivity of your contact centres making your business more profitable.
Do you have the technology in place to avoid frustrating your customers? This is why so many contact centres are moving to cloud-based contact centres. The ability to play marketing messages, allow your customers to request a call back, and ensuring that customers are getting to the right agents and departments are only a few of the enhanced functionality available with cloud-based contact centre services.
More than half of the consumers questioned in the survey revealed they spend 10-20minutes per week on hold. This amounts to 13 hours per year and almost 43 days on hold in a lifetime.
The study by TalkTo polled 500 consumers and determined that 58 per cent feel frustrated about being put on hold whenever they call businesses.
48 per cent believe calling a business is unproductive because the people on the other end are not helpful and it takes forever to get an answer.
The independent consumer study reveals how annoyed consumers are with the customer service phone experience and the fact they are wasting what amounts to 13 hours per year and almost 43 days on hold in a lifetime.
So why not ensure that your customers are getting through to the right people. With the right IVR solution in place, your customers can navigate their way to the right agent; someone that specializes in the customers query (skill-based routing), someone they have spoken to in the past, or the option of having a call back when the next agent is available. Cloud contact centre services like Solgari can also offer tools such as surveys and marketing messages in order to maximize the time your customers do spend on hold. Customer feedback through surveys is a great way to determine what your customers would like from your organisation.
The options are endless. It’s time for contact centres to move to a multi-channel operation where customers can contact your business how they want, knowing that their query will be resolved with a postitve customer experience.
Regardless of the size of business you are, if you require a high level of communication with your customers, then you need to rely on the right tools to give you the flexibility to work the way you need. Every contact centre is different. Some are purely inbound, some outbound, and some blended. Some contact centres require after care support for their customers, and some would like to be more automated using interactive voice response services. No matter the reason or the way you do business, the one common factor is the solution must be easy to use, cost effective, and scalable. When considering moving to cloud contact centre services, you need to remember that the technology should work for you. Gone are the days where you have to adapt your contact centre to work around the technology.
Today, cloud contact centres offer scalable solutions that can be setup any way you require, including accommodating remote and home workers. However, before you start searching for a cloud communications solution for your business, you need consider a few criteria.
Understand your Goals and Objectives
What would you like the cloud contact centre solution to achieve for your business? If you could have your entire wish list of feature functions, what would it achieve for your business? This exercise will allow you to better measure the performance expectations within your organisation. For example, do you have multiple objectives such as sales and support? Or will you just be managing sales and support will be managed elsewhere? Do you require multi-channel communication such as email, social media and chat? Determining these criteria will help you weed out solutions that can’t meet your business requirements.
Understanding your Operations
Before you evaluate cloud contact centre solutions, you need to identify your own operations. What solutions do you have in place? What are the limitations? Is it scalable? What is the existing solution costing you? What are the benefits and drawbacks of staying with the existing system? What is the cost of staying with the solution? What is the worst case scenario? And most importantly, what is your disaster recovery plan in the even that your current system goes down?
Other considerations are future growth. Do you plan on expanding your business in the next 3-5 years and if so, are you planning to branch out to new locations, cities and countries? If the answer is yes, then can your existing system support these future plans? Consider looking for a solution that can scale the way you require and at the pace you need. You may consider employing one or two people remotely to test out a new geographical market. Can the new cloud contact centre solutions support this without a significant investment?
The market is saturated with various service offerings for businesses and contact centres. Without understanding what you need, what your objectives are, your constraints, and your budget, you could be potentially set yourself back to the same position you are in now. In order to clearly evaluate your needs, you need to understand why you are buying to determine what you are buying into.
Slowly but surely businesses are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s getting busier, business is back on track, and people are actually hiring! Careful, we’re not out of the woods just yet! This time around, businesses need to ensure they are doing things the smart way.
Businesses aren’t moving to cloud solutions just because they are tech savvy companies or because it’s the new hype. Cloud technology is here to help businesses become more efficient and afford opportunities that weren’t available before. So this time around, make sure you are on top of your game and start making the right business decisions; decisions that are going to improve your operations and reduce your costs. Work smarter not harder!
When business owners hear Cloud Communications, Hosted VoIP, IP Telephony, they switch off. It’s either something they pass off to their IT department or they think they don’t need the solution. However, if you pay close attention you will see that Cloud Communications is not just a buzz word, nor is it a replacement for your phone system. Cloud communication services changes the way we do business, regardless of the size of business you are.
Cloud PBX is way more cost effective than the traditional phone systems. The most common are the following two scenarios:
On-Premise PBX: businesses running a PBX box are either paying costly maintenance or support to run the dated technology. Or you are not paying anything at all but it’s still running. Unfortunately, not paying anything at all is more a risk than paying the maintenance and support on a yearly basis. If your system goes down, so does your business. Your customers won’t be able to contact you and you will be spending a fortune to either have someone come out and try fix it, or to replace it without much time to research and make an educated decision.
Business Bundle from a local provider: Many smaller businesses are utilizing offers from their local provider; paying for fixed lines, additional phone numbers, and premium prices for long distance.
With Cloud PBX, you remove your fixed lines and your on-premise hardware. Businesses who have moved to Cloud PBX have found savings of up to 40% on the phone system alone, without taking the long distance into consideration. Not to mention additional phone numbers are at no charge and the feature functionality included in cloud communication services is 10 times what one would receive in a standard PBX or business bundle.
Cloud communication services offer features such as an auto attendant, giving your business that professional look and feel. Call forwarding, call recording, call transfer, extensions, and one number for the entire business. Additional features such as follow me, where your phone can ring anywhere you like so you aren’t tied to your desk or having to wait to retrieve voicemail back at the office. You also have access to voicemail to email, individual voicemails, and hunt groups to find the next available employee or team member. All of this functionality for nearly 40% less than what you are paying for with an on-premise or local business plan.
In addition, cloud PBX affords businesses the opportunity to employ remote or home workers. The seamless inclusion of employees in remote locations but still able to answer phone, make outbound calls, and be accessible to customers as if they were in the office. In addition, cloud communication services enable businesses to launch and test small operations in new regions, cities and countries without the overhead expense of setting up infrastructure in the new location.
This is only a few of the benefits of moving to cloud communication services. Download this informative guide on the 5 reasons businesses are moving to the cloud to get the bigger picture.
5 Reasons Why Businesses are Moving to Cloud PBX
Skype and Google Voice seem to be a common tool relied upon by businesses that need to do business in multiple countries around the globe. Companies using Skype or Google Voice tend to vary in size but they do have one factor in common, most agree that they would never use Skype or Google Voice to call customers.
The technical explanation for the poor quality that many face when using Skype, Google Voice, Viber, or any other free tools that allow you to call long distance for free is they use a ring and spoke method to deliver the bandwidth (i.e. they are using your bandwidth even for other peoples calls whilst you are on). They are also using low bit-rate codec’s so they can fit as many calls into the available pipe as possible. When you rely on bandwidth you have no control over you get drop-out, jitter and ‘pop’s’. When you use low bit-rates you get a reduction in fidelity which causes lack of recognition of the caller (something people don’t like!). The lack of high and low-band frequencies when using these free or cheap VoIP services make it sound like you are in an echo chamber at one end and talking through a pillow at the other. It doesn’t matter which of these ‘free’ services you use they will all have these characteristics. No one can sustain providing something for free. That is, no one is that philanthropic.
It’s no surprise why so many businesses use tools like Skype – the bottom line is cost. Until recently, small and mid-sized businesses weren’t able to afford in house PBX telephony solutions. But times have changed and Cloud PBX solutions including VoIP offer more reliable, richer functionality and cost effective alternatives to expensive in house solutions. Cloud PBX services are offered on a per user per month basis and provide businesses with multiple features to meet their own specific needs. Little or none of these telephony features are part of a voice gateway only service such as Skype or Google Voice. The one area of comparison between Cloud PBX and these services are the call costs and quality. Choosing the right Cloud PBX vendor can significantly enhance business productivity and also offer you lower call rates than even Skype or Google yet with perfect call quality. With Cloud PBX, you can call between offices, anywhere in the world for free, just like Skype. The difference is, you sound like you are talking on a landline, without the costs – no jitter, no latency, no echoing tunnels.
The two key drivers of voice quality for a Cloud PBX and VoIP solution are the available data connection and how simultaneous calls are handled. Businesses have the ability to set up Quality of Service (‘QOS’) tests on their data connection to ensure they have sufficient broadband capacity. Calls are prioritized over all other internet applications the business is using and tier one quality VoIP which only allow one simultaneous call per 64KB of bandwidth ensures that call quality is crystal clear. Provided the data connection is sufficient and set up correctly, the Cloud PBX & VoIP service provides a ‘measure of sound’ that allows you to assess the call quality you are being provided. This is proper enterprise standard telephony which is accessible to businesses of all sizes. Businesses using consumer standard telephony such as Skype and Google Drive should really have a good think about this.
Still have more questions? Check out this FAQ for more information.
The short and simple answer is anyone running or planning to set up a contact centre that wants to save money and increase sales and customer satisfaction.
Contact Centre as a Service is affordable for any Small, Medium or Enterprise Level Business:
- Who need to rapidly deploy a multichannel contact centre
- Who require easy-to-use services without lengthy training and implementation times
- Looking to start a contact centre – outbound, inbound, or blended
- Looking to move to a low risk solution that guarantees business continuity
- That needs a scalable future proof solution
- That requires advanced enterprise level contact centre functionality
- That needs to deploy across multiple locations and accommodate home workers
- Needing services such as call blending and call back services
- Utilizing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capabilities
- Require Predictive Dialling functionality
- Integration to CRM such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, Sugar or Sage. Workforce management, or bespoke business management applications
Contact Center as a Service offers businesses a complete solution based on a per user per month basis without the hassle of complex IT infrastructure and capital expenditure. Cloud Contact Centres also offer a simple and cost-effective alternative for organisations looking to move from legacy systems that no longer meet their business requirements.
Is your contact centre performing in a way that maximizes profitability and market share for your business?
Contact centres remain the crucial touch point in customer relationship management. To help companies with additional customer and market share, you must give your customers superior service while delivering measurable business value at low cost. Optimizing operational processes in addition to customer delivery processes, helps contact centres meet these goals.
Reducing costs and improving employee productivity are the most important factors for a successful contact centre. To date, most contact centres have focused on handling customer requests and initiating contact with their customers. It is just as critical for contact centres to focus on the operational process - that is the infrastructure that supports the business. More specifically, the tools that are used with individual agents and across all sites; it is critical to ensure that consistency is delivered globally.
Organisations can realize significant cost reductions – potentially up to 50%, by optimizing contact centre planning. The following criteria can help reduce costs and improve service levels and the ability to meet customer’s requirements with ease.
In considering staff requirements to offset turnover, contact centres are able to decrease costs through effective planning. This can be done by future-proofing your contact centre with cloud based technology such as CRM, workforce management and cloud-based telecoms.
By managing call/contact volume load balancing among contact centres, you can reduce staffing costs. Utilizing cloud contact centre management will offer you full reporting capability to manage your workloads and volumes between offices. With cloud contact centre telephony, contact centers are able to manage their calls anywhere in the world to accommodate for time zones, skill-based routing, and call volumes without the hassle of expensive hardware.
Cloud-based contact centre telephony enables contact centres to manage work schedules, based on workload and forecasting, allowing for decreases in salary costs through efficient staffing processes. This further allows the management of agent productivity at the account level and the business level.
Performance Evaluation and Quality Monitoring:
Reduce administrative time and expenses by ensuring adherence to established processes, procedure, and customer service standards. Solgari Cloud Contact Centre integrates directly into your CRM or workforce management solution allowing for full monitoring of agents, call recording, and journaling to ensure maximum trackability of agent management.
Enable change within your contact centre to be more flexible. Moving from dated contact centre processes to empowering your agents with modern technology that works with your business processes will reduce costs and enable your contact centre to focus on and effectively manage the way in which your customers engage with your business.
Customer Interaction Management:
Implement the right tools to ensure that you offer the ultimate customer experience. This means offering multi-channel engagement, quality score reporting and resolution on the first contact. Improve your customer satisfaction and reduce customer attrition.
Customer Inquiry Management:
Address working with customers to handle inquiries, service requests ordering, and problem resolution. Ensure that you have the right technology in place to support both incoming and outgoing contacts with maximum efficiency through routing strategies and utilizing the appropriate resources. This allows for improved customer experience, quick resolutions and in a customer-focused manner.
All contact centres, regardless of size or number of sites should focus on optimizing the operational processes described above. By enabling your contact centre with the right tools, you can reduce your contact centre costs while increasing productivity.
Contact centres are always looking for ways and means to improve operational performance, either by adopting newer technologies or by bringing improved business processes through people management. This is driven primarily by the fact contact centres need to reduce costs while improving customer service. Contact centre workflow optimization is a pertinent topic across all levels: management, supervisors, and agents.
The information age and changing market dynamics require modern ways of obtaining customer information for contact centres. Contact centre workflow optimization is a next generation framework that focusses on improving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. It aims to:
- Boost customer experience by improving levels of customer care
- Improves contact centre performance in terms of agent productivity and first call resolution
- Leverages existing investments in legacy or packaged backend systems
- Improves adaptability in the customer service architecture for easier business process change management and technological advancements.
- Reduce employee training time and cost by streamlining multiple applications and eliminating application complexity.
Contact center workflow optimization attempts to have a holistic view of the customer experience as well as the technical direction for service-enabled architecture for future integration needs.
Contact Solgari today for a consultation on how you can improve your contact centre workflow and operational processes to offer better customer service and improved productivity while reducing costs.