Focus on Customer Engagement Instead of Communications Infrastructure

With a cloud contact center platform, the pain associated with adding additional communications channels becomes a thing of the past.

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Focus on Customer Engagement Instead of Communications Infrastructure

For customers, the idea of a “call center” often conjures frustrating memories of seemingly endless hold times and terrible customer service. Fortunately, times are changing. Today, the call center has evolved into the contact center, reflecting the addition of a plethora of new channels of communication between consumer and enterprise.

The phone lines haven’t been entirely abandoned, but modern contact centers have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. They can deliver tech support through SMS messages or real-time chats, promote upcoming events with push notifications, and deploy customer surveys via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. They can also route a task from a number of sources to the contact center agent who will handle it best — that means when a customer service team receives an inquiry via any channel, it’s immediately routed based on the skills required and the priority level.

Keeping Up With Customer Demand

The advantages of a fully-fledged contact center aren't hard to see, but building one can seem intimidating, especially if you're still working with old hardware and software. A contact center that got off the ground in 2010 probably began with an RFP two years prior, and the products used by those vendors in 2008 were likely released around 2005 and designed at the beginning of the millennium.

You can see the problem here, right? Unless you build a contact center that adapts quickly, you'll fall behind before you even start. And because these outdated contact centers required a substantial initial investment, businesses are reluctant to update them. Unfortunately, customer expectations are far from stagnant, and people are now demanding more from the businesses they communicate with: According to Accenture, over 50% of customers leave a brand after just one bad experience. Your outdated software comes with a heavy burden, thwarting the best efforts of your contact center agents at every turn — and if you don't make a change, it's only going to get worse with time.

Businesses cannot take their contact center software choice lightly. They must adopt a communications infrastructure that can grow with their customer engagement needs.

The Customer Engagement Center

Instead of buying an off-the-shelf system, what if you could find contact center software that you could customize to meet your unique needs? Well, you can. Cloud-based contact centers are built with APIs, a new approach to the traditional contact center that provides the flexibility and agility that businesses need to keep up with rapid changes in consumer behavior. Gartner is predicting 30 percent of contact centers will be built with application program interfaces (APIs) by as early as 2020.

Cloud-based contact centers offer substantial reliability improvements. On average, you can expect 99.95% uptime, a figure that premise-based contact centers can’t compete with. This reliability, combined with the convenience of easily adding multiple channels, means that you can focus on the customer experience. According to our recent customer communications report, 66 percent of customers will tell their friends about a bad experience, while 38 percent will switch to a competitor. Few things should take precedence over eliminating these negative interactions.

Omnichannel Made Easy with the Cloud

Customers are using a dizzying array of devices and communications channels today. And they’ve developed expectations that they should be able to communicate with their favorite brands in the same way they communicate with their peers. Our research shows that nine out of ten users want to be able to reach businesses via text, just like they would contact a friend.

In an outdated contact center, catering to this preference means overhauling your entire system and reorienting all your owned software, operations, and strategy around text-based support. And then what happens in one or two short years, when your customers turn to web-based chat or social messaging apps? You're stuck. However, with a cloud contact center platform, the pain associated with adding additional communications channels becomes a thing of the past.

Cloud-Based Contact Center Options

You might be wondering where to begin. Fortunately, there are multiple cloud-based contact center options on the market today.

The Programmable Contact Center Platform

Twilio Flex, the first fully programmable contact center platform, offers the best of both the CPaaS and CCaaS worlds. Rather than a collection of APIs or a packaged contact center product, the programmable contact center platform is both deployable out of the box and completely customizable.

Flex includes an agent and supervisor UI, which drastically decreases the time it takes to get a cloud-based contact center up and running. Although the programmable contact center platform is an out-of-the-box solution, it’s still an open platform based on APIs which allows for unlimited experimentation, updates, additions, and changes in the future.

Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)

Building a contact center with Twilio’s programmable APIs is another great option, best-suited for businesses with developer resources and the time to create a fully-customized customer experience—this is referred to as Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). Rather than building their own communications infrastructure from scratch, businesses can use cloud-based APIs from CPaaS vendors to augment, fully replace, or provide connectivity for their contact centers.

However, the CPaaS approach can require significant developer resources, depending on the contact center’s scope. Businesses need to design their own interfaces for agents, supervisors, and customers, as well as all of the orchestration around their contact center tasks, such as transfers and secure pause for recording, along with single sign-on (SSO) and CRM integrations.

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Alternatively, if you don’t want to build your own software with APIs, you can use software that already exists. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) offerings provide cloud-based contact centers out of the box. These solutions offer speedy deployment, but with limited customizability and scale. They aren’t designed for a company’s developers to iterate when customer or business needs change.

CCaaS is an excellent option for many companies as they’re getting started with their contact center. However, as many of the small and medium-sized enterprises using these CCaaS solutions grow, they find that their software isn’t flexible enough to adapt to their changing customer and business needs.

Reach out to learn more about how partnering with Twilio can help your contact center go from a customer annoyance to a critical component of your business's success.