While many contact centers are finding that hosted solutions are providing multiple benefits – both financial and organizational – the change-over to the cloud has been a little less transparent to the overall business world and to the customers that contact centers service. Customers don’t care (on the surface) whether the agent they are speaking with is using a premises-based system or a cloud-based system, but they might if they need the advantages the cloud can offer regarding the quality of customer service they’re being offered.
In its CEO Signature series, NASDAQ recently interviewed Mike Burkland, CEO of hosted contact center solutions provider Five9 (News - Alert). NASDAQ’s Carmen Roberts asked Burkland about the benefits of the cloud-based model.
“As you know, the cloud is really the future in terms of how enterprises are deploying software,” he said. “And we’re cloud software for call centers. Historically, these systems have been on-premises, hardware and software, very IT-intensive systems. By moving those contact centers or call centers to the cloud, we’re providing them with huge business agility advantages, agent productivity advantages and cost advantages.
Burkland provided an example how these solutions might benefit a company, specifically speaking to the flexibility and geographical advantages they can provide.
“Today, most contact center agents or call center agents are coming into work logging into on-premises systems that are significant hardware investments in the IT infrastructure within these large enterprises, including the telecom that’s part of that infrastructure,” he said. “Today, we’re actually allowing and enabling enterprises to put their contact center agents in really any location. All they need to be an agent on our system is a laptop or a PC, a headset and an Internet connection. It’s that simple. Everything else is in the cloud.”
Roberts notes that this model would be very attractive to small to medium-sized businesses, particularly those that can’t afford robust versions of premises-based systems. But she asked Burkland how Five9 is attracting larger customers that can and do afford large premises-based installations.
“Very large enterprises are shifting to the cloud,” noted Burkland. “As they move their other mission-critical applications – CRM and other business applications – to the cloud, and this is happening across many large enterprises today, they’re also looking to move their call center technology to the cloud, more tightly integrated with CRM systems like Salesforce and other solutions that are in the cloud. As more and more enterprises move those CRM solutions to the cloud, it’s a perfect fit for them to also move their contact center technology with us to the cloud.”
So while the cloud may not offer very large enterprises the kind of attractive cost savings that they can smaller business, these cloud call centers offer something else: the kind of easy and smart integration with mission-critical cloud-based applications that can improve the customer experience…something all companies should be aiming to achieve, from the smallest to the largest.