The emergence of cloud-based servers is positioning call centers to evolve into being a full-functional multichannel contact center, however this movement is also putting pressure on companies to upgrade their call centers in a new environment.
Cloud-based systems offer a way to gain new capabilities while saving on capital costs, slowing obsolescence and reducing dependence on scarce IT resources, according to a benchmark study conducted by Ventana Research.
The U.S. call center and telemarketing industry will see $23 billion in revenue in 2012 – roughly $5 billion more than 2011 due to significant job growth. In 2011, there were 336,000 telemarketing employees.
However, upgrading to a cloud call center is not without challenges, because according to Richard Snow, vice president and research director at Ventana Research, “simple call centers that handle only phone calls have been made obsolete by the need to support multiple channels of communications.”
Consumer communication preferences have changed, and as a result, companies on average now support five channels of communication in their centers, he noted, with 37 percent supporting six or more – the most popular being inbound calls (still tops), e-mail, outbound calls, fax and postal mail.
While security and integration with on-premise systems remain concerns with regard to cloud adoption, “the top contact center in the cloud vendors recognize this and have made every effort to ensure their services run as efficiently, effectively and securely as most on-premises systems, leaving the choice of implementations as much an emotional decision as it is a technical one,” Snow said.
One of the biggest motivators for companies to upgrade to a cloud call center is thecost-savings benefit. According to research from Datamonitor, contact center outsourcers saw significant cost saving benefits from home based agents compared to contact center facilities. Based upon estimates from brick-and-mortar providers, cost savings estimates can vary between 20 to 30 percent, Fred Côté, president of Kunnect, recently noted.
Call centers operating in the cloud have little upfront costs, so revenue is preserved while investment is returned, this recent related report also explains.
In the cloud, the call center solution is hosted, which can be significantly better than a premise-based solution. Any cloud solution comes with its usual benefits of lower TCO, predictable monthly costs, increased uptime, no upgrades or maintenance, and immediate access to features.
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