Reasons to Switch to a Cloud Contact Center: Improved data and systems integration
By: Chris Recio, Director of Contact Center and Advanced Applications
This post is part three of a 5 part series of reasons why you should switch to a cloud contact center. Up next: providing flexible contact options for customers, and quicker deployment and increased speed to market. Click back here to read part one: increase flexibility and stability
Did you miss part two: How to stay relevant without large initial investments? Click here.
Data! It’s everywhere and it is critical. If you’re not using data to drive the contact center process—that’s customer-facing data to better facilitate the customer experience, not just reporting—your operation is already getting left behind. Traditional contact centers aren’t particularly savvy at data integration. But turning to a cloud-based solution can make things a whole lot easier.
The importance of data in contact centers
Data transforms everything about your contact center. It is an invaluable tool providing valuable insight into your customer and offers you a mechanism for gaining control over business objectives.
Let’s look at a real-life example. I work with customers that will identify an incoming customer using data to decipher whether or not the customer is a VIP Client or some other class of customer. If the customer is a VIP, the customer receives a customized message, their interaction is prioritized over other customers, and their communication is moved to the front of the queue or moved to a specialty queue for priority handling. SLAs are structured around this philosophy, to the advantage of the customer and the business alike.
This simple example is just the beginning. Data can be used in many ways to enhance the customer experience, improve sales, create better relationships and better decision making.
But there has been a long tradition of obstacles where data and their systems meet the contact center solution but cloud solutions can overcome hurdles.
Why cloud-based solutions make data integration easier
The cost of integration has always been a make-or-break option. I’ve seen operations abandon options due to the investment required in attempting to integrate systems and data. I’ve seen contact center operations minimize the value, talking themselves out of the option all at the hands of the painful discussion of data integration.
Thankfully today, many cloud-based contact center solutions are built on an open API structure, and so are many third-party systems that now offer open API solutions, easing the cost and pain of integration. Data integration is critical and having plugins that allow the contact center the ease of leveraging data across systems is really coming into its own.
Look at your iPhone, Samsung, or any mobile device, for example. When you want a new application or process, what do you do? You go to the AppStore, or equivalent, and download the app and you’re off and running. This is how integration should work. Perhaps we’re not quite ready for this much ease of integration, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
The contact center operation can only take itself to the next level of the customer journey through the ease of deployment: ease of adding features and processes, ease of adoption, ease of integration, and speed to market.
For all these needs and obstacles, a cloud-based solution gives almost all contact center operations a great advantage and opportunity to move far into the future, keeping pace with technology and customer demands.
Choosing the right cloud-based solution is important
Some cloud-based contact center solutions do a much better job than others. In my opinion, if the contact center solution is not built upon the kind of philosophy described above, the solution creates a built-in obstacle for integration and brings the contact center operation back to ground zero.
It is imperative that the process of integration becomes easier and easier. Yes, there are all sorts of other issues to take into consideration when it comes to data such as security, PCI compliance, HIPAA, and more. These should all be part of that discussion.
However, the process of data integration should be based on the plugin mentality. Contact centers need to move away from “customized” solutions and look for plugin alternatives and they should choose a cloud-based solution that supports this.
Data is the future of your contact center business and you owe it to yourself and your staff to choose a cloud-based solution that facilitates the use of data rather than hinders it.
Founded in 1997, Inflow Communications is a national leader in unified communications and Contact Centers. With over to 100,000 endpoints under Inflow’s innovative support plans around the world, their dedication to knowledge, innovation, and unrivaled customer support has landed them in ShoreTel’s top 2% in global customer satisfaction, and as a winner of ShoreTel’s coveted Circle of Excellence Partners award. For two years in a row, Inflow is a ShoreTel Platinum Partner, the highest level of partnership, and is their fastest growing partner globally. In addition, Inflow is one of the few Cloud Contact Center providers that offer implementation, ongoing support, and comprehensive consulting and training programs. Inflow services clients across the globe and has local offices in over 10 major cities in the US.