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Cloud contact center technology: empowering your employees

Author: Phil Muncaster

Regardless of industry, the customer has always been the linchpin of a successful business. This is what makes contact centers and the employees that operate them among your most important investments. But how do you manage call center agents in a post-COVID era defined by mass remote working?

This is where cloud contact center technology comes into play.

Service matters

As remote working becomes more prevalent across the world, businesses are being forced to consider what they need to accommodate such a transition. While many roles are easily transferable to a home office, the same isn't necessarily true of your contact center agents. Yet, they're an essential first point of contact with your customers. In the public sector, they play an equally vital role in delivering government services, help and advice—especially during times of crisis.

According to Microsoft, 58% of consumers say customer service affects their choice of brand, and 61% have parted with a business because of poor service. A similar number (59%) say that their expectations for customer support are higher than a year ago. Perhaps it's more appropriate to say the customer experience, rather than the customers themselves, is what really makes your call center staff a vital asset.

Cloud contact center 101

Managing contact center agents effectively means enabling them to efficiently and productively work from home. Cloud contact center technology can help by offering a set of cloud-based resources that empower staff to turn their homes into a virtual call center—using just a computer, a headset and an internet connection.

A cloud contact center can offer:

  • Automated call distributor: An omnichannel routing engine based around agent skills that intelligently connects customers to the right call center agent.
  • Integrated voice response: A voice-based self-service software that leverages natural speech to collect caller information and determine the proper handling for accelerating call resolution with fewer costs.
  • Agent desktop: A web-based service that allows the agent to view and manage all of their customer conversations no matter which method of communication is used (chat, email, social, mobile).
  • Workforce management: Software that maximizes operational efficiency by ensuring you have the right number of staff and skills to handle call volumes at any given time.
  • Advanced analytics: These increasingly use AI algorithms to analyze call center data, with the ultimate goal of improving the customer experience and business success.

How do cloud contact centers operate?

Cloud contact centers typically require IP services to function as the call traffic is routed over the internet, which can provide major cost savings, drive operational efficiencies and improve the customer experience.

Great contact center platforms should have traffic delivered by a superior network which can provide a range of benefits, including:

  • International reach so you can ensure no matter where your agent is located he can receive and respond to customer calls.
  • Intelligent call routing that improves the customer experience by directing their calls to the proper agent to handle their needs.
  • Enhanced productivity where agents receive callers' information thanks to automatic number identification and calling party name features.

Getting smarter

Advanced AI-powered analytics are fast becoming an essential tool for call center managers to improve customer satisfaction and employee engagement. According to McKinsey, firms have used them to reduce average handle time by up to 40%, increase self-service containment rates by up to 20%, boost conversion rates by 50% and reduce employee costs by up to $5 million. Knowledge Assist technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help agents in your contact center resolve customer issues quickly, accurately and consistently.

Don't forget security

However, amidst all these opportunities to drive contact center technology improvements, it's important not to forget the potential risks associated. Given their position on the front line of customer engagement, agents handle highly sensitive personal data and payment information and can provide access to customer accounts. This makes them a target for hackers and fraudsters. Over half (51%) of financial institutions now believe call centers are the vector of choice for criminal attacks, with fraudsters using previously breached data to impersonate legitimate customers.

When it comes to working virtually, there may be more opportunities for hackers if the agents' home PC, data and communication channels aren't properly secured.

This makes it important to consider:

●   Technology providers with solutions in compliance with major regulations and standards (HIPPA, FedRAMP, PCI, FISMA, GDPR, CCPA, etc.).

  • Anti-fraud and authentication technology such as VoIP Inbound Anti-Fraud and Authentication features, which analyzes the voice, device and behavior of callers to determine the likelihood of a malicious imposter.
  • Strong data encryption at rest and in transit.
  • Multi-factor authentication for all logins.
  • Regular backups of customer data.

The good news is that contact center technology providers like Verizon do most of the heavy lifting on security, letting you focus on creating the best possible customer experience. With the right technology platform in place, you can create a highly scalable and cost-efficient virtual call center, staffed by happier, more productive employees.

Learn how Verizon's Customer Experience solutions can help you drive business success by improving your customer's experience.