The term call center evokes the idea of an office full of employees with headsets answering customer calls. This model has been around for decades, but traditional call centers have physical limitations, such as data centers and phone systems only accessible on-premise.
As technology changes, call centers are starting to look a little different. Many now consist of agents working from their home offices (or anywhere else, for that matter), taking advantage of cloud call center software. And it’s not just the physical limitations that are gone. Cloud technology has freed up call centers to evolve in multiple ways.
This post will provide an overview of what a cloud call center is and the advantages of this new iteration of the call center.
What is a cloud contact center?
A cloud-based call center or contact center makes all the tools and services necessary to run a contact center available on the internet. This eliminates the need for on-premise hardware.
Before we continue, let’s take a quick look at the difference between a call center and a contact center.
- A call center offers customer support exclusively over the phone.
- A contact center encompasses all the methods of communication businesses and customers use today, such as phone, email, SMS, chat, and more.
Traditional call centers continue to be limited by on-premise hardware and data centers that are costly to install and maintain and don’t provide much flexibility. However, thanks to cloud software, call centers have become more adaptable. With the right cloud contact center solution, businesses can scale programs as needed and provide better support to customers.
Learn more about cloud contact centers and the features to look for when choosing a platform.
How do cloud-based contact centers work?
Like all cloud-based services, cloud contact centers store data in distributed data servers rather than hard drives. Cloud contact center software allows businesses to build the exact solution needed through application programming interfaces (APIs) rather than adopting immutable hardware and software.
APIs are tools developers use to create software applications and provide the infrastructure for software components to interact. That way, you don't have to build and deploy complex communication services yourself to get your contact center up and running.
Building with APIs also gives developers the flexibility to set up the channels and features they want and scale as needed. This means you can start out with a cloud call center focused only on voice, then add new channels—such as messaging, video, and more—depending on your business needs.
Advantages of a cloud-based contact center
Freeing your contact center from on-premise technology is just the beginning. There are many other advantages to moving your contact center to the cloud. Here are some of the top benefits.
1. Improve customer experience
Many of the benefits of a cloud-based contact center ultimately come back to this all-important one: it improves customer experience.
Long hold times and endless interactive voice response (IVR) menus can create a negative experience, which has a direct impact on your business’ bottom line. In fact, Twilio Segment’s recent guide, The Next Generation of Customer Engagement: 5 Trends to Watch, reports that consumers are willing to pay 13% to 18% more for a better customer experience. Additionally, 45% said that an impersonalized experience can lead them to abandon a brand for good.
Although you would never create a bad customer experience on purpose, the constraints of legacy contact center systems can make it difficult to keep up with evolving customer expectations. With APIs, however, you can create an experience focused on anticipating your customers’ needs and providing top-notch service.
2. Scale your contact center elastically
As your business needs shift, you shouldn’t be constrained by your contact center licenses and hardware. When you build a contact center using APIs, you can scale up or down as your needs and use cases fluctuate.
Ready to connect with your customers in new ways, such as in-app chat? Since APIs work like building blocks, you can add new channels to your existing contact center. You’re in control of creating the customer experience you need to stay competitive without worrying about capacity and hardware planning. And since APIs are available on a pay-as-you-go model, you can scale your program without the risk of oversubscription charges.
3. Iterate frequently
To provide a superior customer experience, you need to experiment, gather customer feedback, look at your metrics, and continually evolve with your customers’ needs. However, businesses with complex legacy ecosystems can’t iterate quickly because it often takes months of meetings, expensive consultants, requests for proposals, and negotiations to make any changes.
With a cloud call center built on APIs, you can use analytics to track, measure, and frequently iterate so you can continuously improve the customer experience.
4. Expand global reach
As you expand your reach to multiple countries, a cloud call center provides a deep inventory of local numbers and reliability through global carrier connectivity. This allows you to skip the contract negotiations with carriers in every country where you do business.
And because APIs are cloud based, you can get instant multiregion connectivity and on-demand phone numbers from a single platform. This global infrastructure lets you provide a local experience anywhere in the world, adding new country coverage without codebase changes or dealing with the quirks of global connectivity.
5. Increase reliability
Cloud-based contact centers aggregate the requirements of tens of thousands of customers, offering greater reliability than what most businesses can afford to implement independently. When you move your communications into the cloud, you can expect uptime that exceeds the 99.99% service-level agreement. That means the cloud platform is only down, on average, less than 0.01% of the time (under one hour per year).
Additionally, cloud-based contact center APIs connect calls through carriers worldwide using geographically distributed data centers. That means optimally routing calls to reduce latency and provide the highest quality customer experience. This level of reliability is difficult to find in premise-based call centers.
6. Control costs
You might think that with all of these benefits, APIs must be the most expensive contact center option out there. But actually, it’s the opposite. By moving communications into cloud-based software, you can create a multichannel contact center with a modest investment.
Rather than enforcing a set of certified applications and relying solely on in-house developers for innovation, Twilio draws on a vast pool of developers who constantly build their own solutions and share the code with other Twilio users. Armed with this knowledge, your in-house team can build, integrate, and test with little impact on your operating budget.
7. Employ intelligent routing
When there’s a queue of customers waiting on the line, connecting them to the right agent as quickly as possible is a high priority. A cloud-based call center with intelligent routing allows you to do this.
There are 2 types of intelligent routing: attribute-based routing and priority-based routing. Attribute-based routing assesses the needs and context of each caller and connects them to the most qualified agent available. Priority-based routing, on the other hand, lets you elevate the most urgent calls to the front of the queue. With both types of intelligent routing, you not only meet customers’ needs quickly but also provide a better experience overall.
Intelligent routing isn’t just beneficial for your customers, either. It also increases agent productivity by ensuring they work on the right task at the right time.
8. Access call tracking and analytics
One of the most important features of a contact center is the ability to gather information about your customers.
Do you know who’s calling you and why? Are they responding to a marketing campaign? Or, are they unhappy about a product glitch? A contact center built on APIs gives you access to necessary call tracking and analytics to help you keep track of incoming and outgoing calls, measure the value of marketing spend, compile information about call times and agent performance, and more.
9. Control your roadmap
The above benefits have one underlying theme in common: when you implement a cloud-based contact center, you control your roadmap. In short, you have the freedom to build the exact customer experience you want with the capabilities you need.
Because you aren’t locked into a vendor’s limited roadmap or restricted by the abilities of telecommunications hardware, you can start building your contact center with APIs right away in the web languages you already use.
Build a cloud call center with Twilio Flex
True to its name, Twilio Flex is a flexible cloud contact center solution that allows you to deliver a positive customer experience across channels from a single, powerful platform. With this agile platform, you can launch your cloud contact center in a matter of days, then adapt and scale it as your needs evolve.
Flex puts all the relevant customer information at agents’ fingertips, giving them the context they need to deliver personalized service. Plus, contact center supervisors can generate reports to track performance without using code.
Request an interactive Twilio Flex demo today to see what this platform can do for your business.