Businesses now more than ever need to deliver consistent and exceptional customer service to draw in new customers and increase their revenue opportunities. However, the ever-changing needs and behaviors of customers may present a challenge to any organization, especially in the contact center business. To help keep up with customers’ expectations and the evolving needs of today’s contact centers, they need to strengthen their communication tools and strategies across all channels.
But how can contact centers deliver seamless and superior customer experiences? In this article, Ron Lambert, the Director of Contact Center Strategy at West UC, explains why contact centers need a cloud-based communication platform to stay relevant and competitive. Lambert also discusses with Voip-Info how their feature-rich and fully managed cloud-based contact center solution helps organizations achieve peak performance by delivering support across multiple channels.
Why Contact Centers are Moving to the Cloud
Ensuring technology keeps pace with changing customer behaviors is a top priority for businesses. In order to deliver winning customer experiences, organizations need to take advantage of the flexibility, efficiency, and cost-saving benefits that the cloud offers.
According to Lambert, companies are switching from outdated platforms to cloud based Contact Center as-a-Service solutions due to the benefits that they bring. “The cloud is such an open world from an integration and an API perspective,” said Lambert. “For companies that have been part of this broad adoption of the cloud, they now have a great deal of flexibility where they can be more reactive and can onboard new capabilities much more quickly, especially when they cross over and use services, solutions, products, and/or APIs from multiple providers.”
Aside from the fact that cloud-based solutions are easier to deploy compared to other conventional systems, The cloud gives contact centers access to a plethora of communication features that enable them to enhance every customer interaction. Viewed by most organizations as a cost-effective and pragmatic option to on-premise solutions, the cloud is indeed becoming a smart and strategic investment choice that enables businesses to meet the needs of its customers and deliver effortless customer experiences across every channel.
Choosing the Right Cloud-based Contact Center Solution
With so many contact center software and solutions available today, organizations need to ensure that they are choosing the right solution that fits their business' needs. Lambert shared that these are the three factors that businesses should take into consideration when it comes to finding the right cloud-based contact center solution:
Channel of choice or customer preference. According to Lambert, in regards to the concept of the channel of choice: individuals communicate the way they want. “The more a person has grown up with a phone in hand, the more he or she is accustomed to various channels or modes of communication,” said Lambert. “And thus, they innately expect whatever channel that users are using the most will, in turn, be the one they will use, too. If today’s unified communications (UC) companies limit themselves and their solutions to voice and email and consumers couldn’t use the latest channels, they would most definitely shop around to find someone who could. Ultimately, it’s about convenience.”
Customer satisfaction and the self-service experience. The ideal cloud-based contact center solutions should deliver an excellent range of features and functions that can help businesses provide superior customer service and support. It should be a flexible and scalable solution that is equipped with sophisticated communications and collaboration capabilities such as call flow management tools, monitoring, reporting, and customer relationship management (CRM) integration.
Overall visibility across all channels. In reference to visibility: it is important to have something that can give insight into prior engagements, which is often referenced as omnichannel. This transition to visibility across channels is one of the crucial features of an exceptional contact center solution. “What I see in the marketplace (and this is representative of the typical consumer) is what West tries to deliver the capabilities and products for small, medium, and large companies or enterprises,” said Lambert. “Ultimately, we want to fit the right product to the right consumer and let them take advantage of the integrations, API support, and more to let the customers extend their communications.”
When it comes to cloud solutions, there are low-switching costs and a big retail market that is slowly growing and changing in the United States. This is why it is important to remember that customers can go elsewhere if you are not offering them the right tools, channels, and/or services that their business' needs. Fortunately, West UC’s contact center solution can make communications easy and ensure a consistent and seamless customer experience.
“West contact center solutions are agent-facing, and thus have an inward user experience,” said Lambert. “As our competitors are making changes in their user interfaces and build the latest and greatest web pages, we try to make products that are as easy as possible to use. We want our products to look and to feel like what customers are used to. It should be something that is appealing for an individual and as a product. And, it is important to use consistency across products.”
What Makes West UC’s Cloud-based Contact Center Solution Stand Out
A leader in business cloud communication and network infrastructure services, West UC aims to help deliver reliable, scalable, and productive communications and build smarter, more meaningful connections through their feature-rich, multi-channel, and fully managed contact center solution.
According to Lambert, below are the contact center solutions from West UC that are their flagship products:
- Cloud Contact Cisco Edition (for Top Tier Clients) - Cloud Contact Cisco Edition (CE) is based on Cisco’s 8CS contact center product. As the top tier solution for enterprises that need scalability, the Cloud Contact CE enables seamless interaction with customers through a variety of channels that include social, video, voice, web, email, and more. “This solution gets into surrounding the contact center with a wide selection of third party products, and Cisco has a long legacy of large, richly-featured equipment,” said Lambert.
- Cloud Contact (for Low Tier Clients) - Referred to as the lower tier, the Cloud Contact is aimed at a customer that has a contact center but is not solely a contact center. “Cloud Contact is a multi tenant solution, homegrown, and does not involve any third parties,” said Lambert. “Most use cases for this tier involve a help desk or contact center with 50 or less users. Also, this tier is only inbound and no outbound.”
- Cloud Contact Pro (for Middle Tier Clients) - The Cloud Contact Pro (CC Pro) is a multi-tenant, geo redundant contact center solution in the same market as InContact or Five9. This solution started as a dialer (so it has rich capabilities as dialer); but beyond that, it is what businesses should expect from similar solutions in that mid-market tier. It allows for multiple channels, has a solid agent interface, and is intended and designed to be managed by the customer. “Developers can also build flows through drag-and-drop to add customization to email, chat, or IVR,” said Lambert. “It also comes with double provisioning with every contract and is easily flexible.”
These cloud-based contact center solutions from West UC has the capability to empower call center agents with its multichannel capabilities and features that improve business productivity and enhance customer service.
But what if a business has yet to switch to a cloud-based contact center solution because of threats like loss of control and security? According to Lambert, West UC has the right solution to solve these issues. “When it comes to loss of control, we actually have a flexible model where everything in our cloud data center is maintained and managed by us, but we allow [the businesses] to do as much and as little as they want,” said Lambert. And to calm or quell any concerns or tensions surrounding the cloud, West UC also enables consumers to focus on their core business. “Likely their IT folks are strung out and are trying to be experts in everything, but instead West can be an expert on a small portion of communications and can deploy your resources for you,” added Lambert.
Trends in the Contact Center Space
Lambert believes that the contact center industry will continue to undergo transformations due to the continued rise of the cloud and other technology solutions. According to Lambert, integrations and application programming interfaces (APIs) are at the forefront of digital transformation.
“When it comes to integrations, there are a number of things to consider: CRM, help desk applications, and more, and so there is a never ending battle to keep up with pre-built integrations,” said Lambert. “Additionally, there are more and more requests for channels that are more messaging-related than standard voice, chats, and emails.”
To learn more about West UC and their range of business communications solutions, visit West UC’s website.
About West UC
West Unified Communications Services is a leading provider of hosted and cloud based communications solutions that include conferencing and collaboration, network services, digital media services, managed voice, and more. For more than two decades, West UC has been delivering and improving upon new channels, new capabilities, and new choices for how businesses and consumers connect, collaborate, and transact. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, the company aims to “make communication easy” by bridging the gaps between people, teams, clients, suppliers, and partners.