Posted by Dan Miller

Contact centers are advancing far beyond the hold music purgatory they once were. A strong catalyst for these improvements is the adoption of cloud based unified communications (UC) technology to improve key metrics. Specifically, cloud UC empowers customers with a choice over which channels they will communicate with an organization.

Forward-looking contact center executives are utilizing Omni-Channel UC to combine presence, voice, video, chat, SMS, and social media in a universal queue. Omni-Channel UC gives agents access to more current information. It also provides new channels of contact and collaboration with customers and delivers greater visibility to peers and managers during customer interactions. Contact centers that utilize Omni-Channel UC consistently improve performance, incident resolution rates, customer retention, and efficiency.

The benefits of Omni-Channel UC in contact centers can be measured in time and costs, but can also be observed in the soft results of customer loyalty, improved agent job satisfaction, and lower overall turnover. Benefits emerge in four distinct areas:

1. The Right Customer Engagement Strategy

A recent Aberdeen report finds that leading companies have dramatically shifted their top objective from efficiency to customer experience and satisfaction. Businesses recognize that engaged customers buy more, promote brands more loyally, and recommend companies more readily to friends and colleagues.

Unified Communications platforms that support Omni-Channel customer engagement help agents serve customers intuitively and personably, while still meeting expectations for quality and speed of service. By putting customers’ preferred method of contact first and empowering agents with collaboration capabilities, contact centers demonstrate a commitment to customer care and lasting customer relationships.

Call centers that utilize UC with Omni-Channel capabilities are able to more effectively prioritize customer incidents across all channels and within a single queue. According to the research, these contact centers increase customer retention by an average of 49% and reduce call abandonment rates by 86%.

2. The Right Cloud Communications Platform 

Cloud-based UC gives call centers a makeover in both look and functionality. Aberdeen also estimates that, 36% of mid-sized contact centers (250 seats or less) utilize cloud UC technology, and 20% of non-users plan to deploy infrastructure in the next 12 months. The momentum is strong, and companies make the shift to capture several key benefits.

Cloud-based UC solutions integrate disparate communication channels and unified communications functionality to deliver a rich, engaging customer experience. Agents interact with customers via their preferred channel, and teams collaborate and share information to improve average wait time and speed of issue resolution. These solutions also enhance cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and produce an overall decrease in average cost per customer contact.

Cloud UC breaks down the figurative silos within an organization, creating a visibility that improves consistency across interactions, regardless of which channel is utilized. Advanced capabilities like WebRTC support third party integrations and enable cloud-based applications to “talk” to each other, further increasing the information and messaging available to agents.  These empowered agents are more likely to meet customer needs.

Forward-looking customer care organizations can leverage cloud-based UC as infrastructure for integrating multiple customer engagement channels effectively. Essential features include:

  • IVR and call routing
  • Instant messaging
  • Chat
  • Email
  • SMS (text messaging)
  • Desktop video via WebRTC
  • Social media integration

3. The Right Security and Compliance Strategy

Many companies avoid the shift to cloud-based solutions because they fear the consequences of outsourcing access to sensitive information. Businesses in highly regulated industries must comply with PCI, HIPPA, CPNI, and other government regulations. The negative implications of a breach are serious and often costly. As a result, these businesses weigh the risks and benefits carefully when considering moving contact center operations to the cloud.

Secure cloud solutions can be the foundation of secure contact centers. Companies like NetFortris continuously update network and application security and are better equipped to employ the most current security infrastructure. NetFortris and other cloud-based providers specialize in regulatory issues and follow correct procedures to keep information secure and contact center interactions compliant.

4. The Right Analytics for Better Trained Agents, Better Results

Advanced Omni-Channel UC in contact centers increases productivity and performance by equipping agents with better tools and timely performance reviews. With increased visibility, agents are given feedback as they engage with customers so they can take action immediately and improve customer experiences with the next call.

Analysis shows that agent productivity is directly related to how many systems they touch and how many screens they utilize. By reducing complexity with unified communications capabilities, contact centers improve agent performance and satisfaction.

Omni-channel tools enable the retention of customer contact information, and appropriate use of analytics helps forecast agent demand and customer issue prediction. With these tools, agents can increase cross-sell and up-sell revenue, amplify the lifetime value of each customer, and decrease the average cost per incident.

If you are looking for a true technology partner, look to NetFortris, an industry leading provider of call center analytics and unified communications solutions. NetFortris can increase the benefits of your contact center strategies and was recently recognized by CUSTOMER magazine with the 2015 CUSTOMER Contact Center Technology Award. Learn more about the NetFortris UC Contact Center on our website.