The case for cloud is now closed. The business case for cloud-based call centres is irrefutable – it is almost always better to leave the procurement, configuration, operation, maintenance and updating of a complex technology platform up to the hosting provider.
The host, after all, has the economies of scale to offer a fixed, reasonable monthly charge, the vendor relationships to procure the most cutting-edge technology, and the specialist skills to keep it in mint running condition.
Then there are the cloud-specific advantages, such as the ability to provide just enough capacity for your business peaks and troughs, with flexible charges to match this “elastic” delivery.
But not all providers are equal
In practice, of course, not all hosted providers are equal, and the problems of using complex technology don’t go away by simply going the hosted route. In fact, customers will experience a world of difference in choosing between the following two types of providers:
* ‘Box droppers’, that drop the minimal on-site equipment needed to operate the remote system (phones, PCs and Internet gateway), along with minimal instruction, and then retreat behind a shared-call service number; and
* Consultative providers that take the trouble to help ready the customer’s technology for cloud delivery (including line redundancy and quality of service), manage change (including training), and weave the system into business processes and goals.
Major success factor
Choosing right can mean the difference between success and failure of your cloud implementation.
It is as important as choosing the right solution and service delivery model, since it influences everything – basic set-up of the technology, operation, trouble-shooting, quality assurance and technology refreshes.
By choosing a partner with a service-centric, consultative approach, customers can be sure that core issues such as their call routing and queues are set up with the help of the experts, reports deliver the best possible analysis for their business type and goals, and their system functions with optimal quality and productivity.
A proven, hosted call centre technology provider that wraps its technology in a solid service offering offers many other benefits, including:
* A single point of contact – the best call centre technology host providers can cite many cases in which they’ve arranged an end-to-end solution, from data lines to the solution itself, its assembly and integration into company systems, and project management.
* Optimal routing – providers with past experience can offer call routing configuration that ideally suits companies with your characteristics.
* Optimal reporting – experience can again mean the difference between struggling to match hundreds of report templates against your needs and finding the correct few right away.
Having the right hosting partner will make a visible difference from the get-go. Setting up a call centre is a rare skill, and any company attempting to do so without solid support from their tech provider will, at best, spend months to iron out the issues.
Multiple competitive issues might arise from this, such as loss of market agility and high cost.
With the right support your learning curve can be shortened to weeks. Look for providers with the credentials that cite a full house of proven skills and the willingness to be operationally involved.
Jed Hewson, director of 1Stream