Choosing a virtual
contact center to
gain efficiencies

Author: Poornima Apte

Gone are the days of using a toll-free number as your primary source of customer interaction. In today's 24/7 digital world, customers expect to contact you through the method most convenient to them, whether that's social media, your website or something else.

Accordingly, the backend to serve these customers is morphing from a call center to a cloud-based customer service solution. Virtual contact centers, also known as cloud contact centers, help deliver customer service while accommodating the scalability and omnichannel needs that today's enterprises demand.

How a virtual contact center benefits your enterprise

Because an ideal virtual contact center solution is scalable, it drives efficiencies with a range of positive impacts. To start, it eliminates costs from having to maintain licenses and software on-premises.

Looking at the bigger picture, a virtual contact center also allows you to focus on digital transformation. Enterprises improve customer service by delegating it to experts while simultaneously increasing employee productivity and satisfaction. Businesses can focus on digital transformation instead of being chained down to delivering clunky customer service solutions that no longer meet the demands of today's digital age.

Measurable performance is another benefit. Sales and marketing professionals need not just shoot in the dark. Sophisticated analytical features within contact center solutions can monitor and track call center analytics with an eye toward data-driven decisions that increase revenue.

Considerations when implementing a virtual or cloud contact center

There are three main considerations when upgrading to or selecting a cloud contact center solution:

  • Connectivity: Unify your workforce with an Automatic Call Distributor that routes voice or digital interactions to the right agent. Ensure that you have VPN technology and broadband connectivity so remote agents can dial in to systems securely and quickly.
  • Multi-channel capabilities: The ability to address all critical channels such as voice, chat, email and maybe even social channels. In addition to delivering customer service at these points of contact, it's equally important to integrate all these backend interactions into one customer relationship management (CRM) system so you can get a holistic view of the customer in context. Such insights can help tailor future customer offers and engagements.
  • Unified communications: The ability for agents and back-office personnel to communicate and collaborate is critical. Integrating your unified communications with your cloud contact center allows you to quickly and accurately direct support to the customer, no matter which agent delivers it.

What other factors should IT consider?

In addition to the essentials for everyday operations, an effective cloud contact center needs to check the following boxes.

Be scalable

Demand for customer service can vary seasonally, so implementing a solution that can scale up or down and only pay for agents you actually use is a must-have, at least in certain industries.

Handle data securely

Consumer privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California's Consumer Privacy Act mandate strict oversight of data as it flows through your enterprise. A cloud contact center solution needs to satisfy all security requirements, especially if it's handling sensitive consumer data such as credit card or patient health information.

Measure ROI effectively

Virtual contact centers have the added benefit of being able to track both customer satisfaction and agent performance analytics. But sometimes processing all the data that's available can feel like you're drinking water from a fire hose.

To efficiently measure the return on investment (ROI) of a virtual contact center, you need to first establish which key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track. For example, the percentage of calls blocked—the number of customers who receive a busy signal when calling customer service—can be a KPI of customer satisfaction. The average time it takes to answer a call and the time it takes to resolve calls effectively are also useful metrics.

While agent productivity metrics illuminate part of the process and help determine customer satisfaction, surveys and other measures of satisfaction such as a Net Promoter Score (NPS) are also important. The NPS asks customers how likely they are to recommend the brand to a friend and can help you connect the dots between virtual contact center performance and customer satisfaction.

No matter the type of business, a virtual contact center solution can be a crucial bridge between your brand and customers. Making sure it's scalable, secure and delivers measurable results can yield rich dividends as enterprises prioritize innovation and digital transformation.

Learn more about the features and benefits of Verizon's Virtual Contact Center and how it can transform your enterprise.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.