Cloud contact center solutions are becoming the new standard for customer service.
The cloud-based contact center market is growing at an explosive compound annual growth rate of 23.6 percent, on track to increase from $5.43 billion in 2016 to $15.67 billion by 2020, Markets and Markets projects. Demand for managed services that allow organizations to outsource their operations is driving this growth, especially in the consumer goods and retail industry.
If your organization is considering whether or not to switch to a cloud contact center, you might be wondering how contact centers differ from traditional call centers and whether or not the difference is worth it. Here’s a look at how contact centers compare to call centers and why many companies are making the switch.
Cloud-Based vs. Office-Based or VoIP-Based
The difference between a traditional call center and a contact center is analogous to the difference between a traditional on-premise IT data center and a cloud-based IT infrastructure service. A traditional call center is usually based in an office with a public switched telephone network, or increasingly, a VoIP phone network. A cloud contact center is hosted virtually on a cloud server which is usually based remotely, or less frequently, can be based on-premises on a private cloud.
One major advantage being cloud-based represents for businesses is the ability to run customer service operations from any location. This gives companies more flexibility to hire home-based workers or to outsource their customer service operations to a specialty service. This can in turn help companies cut payroll costs as well as office rent and equipment expenses.
Omnichannel vs. Single Channel
Another difference between call centers and cloud contact centers is the number of customer service channels they handle. Call centers, as the name indicates, specialize only in voice communications channels. Contact centers, in contrast, are omnichannel, integrating the capability of handling voice call tickets with tickets originating from email, web contact forms, instant messenger services, text chat and video chat.
Cloud contact centers’ omnichannel capability extends customers more options for choosing their preferred communication channel. It also provides representatives with a unified interface for viewing all information associated with a particular customer or ticket regardless of its channel of origin. This allows tickets to be passed smoothly from one channel or representative to another without the need to repeat information the customer has previously given, which can speed up resolution time and boost customer satisfaction.
Cloud contact centers can also integrate analytics data from all service channels. This provides companies with a more complete view of their customer service performance. It also makes it easier to customize service for individual customers, which can improve sales as well as customer service.
All-Purpose vs. Inbound or Outbound
A third difference between call centers and cloud contact centers is their function. Call centers typically specialize in either inbound or outbound calls. Cloud contact centers can support agents who handle both inbound and outbound communications.
Being able to field both inbound and outbound communications makes cloud contact centers more versatile than call centers. You can handle all types of communications from a single contact center, including purchase orders, order status inquiries, post-purchase satisfaction surveys and technical support.
In summary, cloud contact centers are cloud-based, while call centers are office-based or voice-based; contact centers are omnichannel, while call centers are voice-only; and contact centers are all-purpose, while call centers are either inbound or outbound. Together these advantages are making cloud-based contact centers the compelling choice for a growing majority of companies.