Enda Kenneally gives three tips for creating a business case to move away from old legacy systems and into the cloud.
Contact centre managers are under increasing pressure to achieve more with fewer resources.
Not only do they need to demonstrate their ability to cope with increasing volumes of digital interactions alongside voice calls, they are also expected to keep costs down and deliver outstanding customer experiences.
Surely something has to give?
With digital interactions predicted to overtake voice by 2020, the industry is approaching a watershed. Organisations are going to need to invest in what is often a creaking and unsatisfactory infrastructure, or move to the cloud.
But how can contact centre professionals persuade the business to invest?
The key to securing extra budget is putting together a strong business case that demonstrates how a move to the cloud will not only reduce costs but also add value to the bottom line.
The three tips below should help you put together a compelling business case.
1. Link the Contact Centre to Your Organisational Goals
The contact centre is still perceived as a cost centre in many organisations.
This is often an unfair assessment since the contact centre not only contributes to customer retention, it can also contribute to sales and marketing success.
And a multichannel contact centre can contribute to a key strategic objective for many organisations: putting customers at the heart of the business and delivering outstanding customer experiences.
A cloud-based contact centre can improve the customer experience by empowering agents with a unified view of all customer communications across every channel.
With this information at their fingertips, agents are likely to resolve more enquiries first time, saving valuable time and reducing operational costs.
So, think about the KPIs you are likely to improve by moving to the cloud and calculate a value based on a percentage improvement in each area.
A more joined-up customer experience is likely to improve Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Average Call Handling Time (AHT), as well as agent retention.
This tends to improve when those on the customer service frontline feel empowered (just think how much money your contact centre would save if it had to replace fewer agents each year and kept its good agents for longer).
2. Focus on the Benefits of the ‘Pay as You Go’ Business Model
Until this point, your organisation has probably invested heavily in contact centre technology, paying licence fees for multiple systems as well as investing in costly integration projects that have delivered varying degrees of success.
Simply by adding up this cost of ownership for your legacy infrastructure and showing how it is likely to increase as customer demands increase, it is possible to put together a compelling business case for cloud migration.
Typically, from a technology requirements point of view, organisations might have everything set up on their legacy system.
But what happens if their contact centre needs to expand and add features such as voice recording or multichannel, which typically would come from another vendor, requiring integration and management separate to the system?
All of these additions will have financial impacts on the business.
Many contact centres are now realising that the costs associated with maintaining their traditional PBX and on-premises solutions, while also integrating new digital channels and providing a seamless contact experience, are just too high.
Moving to the cloud does not involve a huge capital investment upfront and can often provide cost savings by offering more flexible licensing arrangements so contact centres can flex the number of system users to match peaks and troughs in demand.
Another benefit of the cloud is that it enables organisations to start small and scale as people become comfortable with the new platform and appreciate its value.
In fact, cloud adoption doesn’t necessarily mean rip and replace all existing equipment. Hybrid solutions are a great first step.
Cloud applications such as call-routing software, customer relationship management systems, workforce management software, call recording software and IVR systems can all run alongside existing on-premises systems.
This approach will help you prove the benefits of a cloud-based solution, without having to rip out and completely replace all existing on-premises equipment in a ‘big bang’.
This can be a powerful argument for securing more budget, showing how the organisation only pays for what it uses on a transactional model, and that more features can be easily added as the team gets more confident and the solution is adopted.
It also gives organisations the flexibility to expand the technology to other areas of the business, bringing further cost savings and efficiency benefits.
3. Show How You Can Meet Future Needs
If changing customer behaviours are putting a strain on your technology set-up now, this is only going to increase in the future, as your customers embrace new social platforms and mobile apps.
Not only can moving to the cloud seem like a very attractive financial option, it can also offer organisations the opportunity to redesign their business processes and workflows around their customer needs, now and in the future.
The right cloud platform will ensure the contact centre is future-proof, offering organisations the freedom to adopt new ways of engaging with their customers without being out of pocket.
If you are thinking about introducing webchat or social channels in the contact centre, most cloud platforms will have that capability already available.
This eliminates the need to go back out to the vendors or evaluate the market space to see what’s out there.
Moving to the cloud will also give you the opportunity to evaluate what business processes are associated with customer interaction and experience, including digital channels.
From the cloud platform provider’s perspective, it’s about engaging with as many business departments and stakeholders as possible, and using this information to adapt the solution so it can meet the business requirements.
Ideally, the contact centre will become the strategic hub for all customer contact, so it is likely that your sales and marketing departments will want to be involved with the deployment.
And, whether you’re offering health services, financial services or running a retail operation, it is likely that specific departments will need to contact customers at some point in the customer life cycle.
All stakeholder groups should be involved from the starting point, including the evaluation phase.
By ensuring that each department has a chance to share what their specific requirements are, you can increase the strategic value of the contact centre.
Making the Move
Once you have worked through all the guidelines in this article, it will become increasingly clear that moving to the cloud has both short-term and long-term financial and operational benefits.
More than that, it will help you move the organisation towards a more customer-centric culture, which is going to differentiate your brand and even contribute to its long-term survival.
Against this potential, it can also be worth considering the cost of doing nothing; at some point, your contact centre will no longer be fit for purpose. And nobody wants to become a dinosaur.
To find out more, visit www.westuc.com