Keeping your customers satisfied is key to running a great business. To keep them satisfied, a business has to communicate with them clearly, with both outbound and inbound communication. According to Consumer Reports, a whopping 57 percent of respondents “were so steamed that they hung up the phone while talking to a customer service representative without a resolution.” Many businesses handle their communication through an on-premise contact center, but in our age of disruption, the rules of the game have changed. You have better ways than ever to prevent the dreaded hang-up. So, just what is an on-premise contact center, and what are the trends shaping up to change the way on-premise contact centers function?
An on-premise contact center is a call center model where the software, hardware, and infrastructure needed to operate a call center is on a businesses’ property. Rather than, for example, offloading your call center solutions to an offsite third party, an on-premise center allows you to keep communications in-house. The on-premise contact centers fit the image that comes to most people’s minds when they think of a call center — headsets, phone lines, and cubicle farms. Everything is stored and handled in-house. On-premise contact centers are sometimes also called legacy centers because they involve lots of technology, and they often have high installation and operational costs. Hard-wired systems are also difficult to customize. If a business grows from 10 contact center agents to 20, that means the installation of 20 new phone lines, new servers, and so on.
Thanks to the advent of cloud computing and hosted call center software, on-premise contact centers are going the way of the dinosaur and undergoing a rapid evolution into multi channel communication hubs. Our culture has become more phone-averse, and so the demands of contact centers have changed. As an article from Forbes explains, text messages now outrank phone calls as the dominant communication medium of choice for millennials. Furthermore, the last few years have seen an explosion of social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber. Cloud-based call center software now allows call center workers to access a thousands different lines of communication, allowing customers to reach out to a business however they are comfortable. Cloud-native call center software has also facilitated the transition from multichannel to omnichannel communication. This means that a customer could contact the center on Facebook messenger, then transition to a video call with the agent, then wrap up their call via SMS. An omnichannel solution would track the customer’s ticket through all of those channels, allowing a single, continuous conversation to flow frictionlessly among those three different channels.
This digital transformation has brought another seismic change to on-site contact centers: big data. Cloud-based contact center solutions capture and keep the data generated by inbound and outbound call center interactions. Interactive voice response technologies can gather data from customers, remember their interaction history, and thus route them more efficiently. Martech Advisor notes that employing big data enhanced quality of service, training, and security. Customer tracking, for example, allows agents to do their job more efficiently, and it allows the customer to have a personalized experience whether they call twice in a day or twice in a year.
Cloud-based contact center solutions also allow businesses to customize and review their data privacy policies, which is often impossible with hard-wired on-premise contact centers. Business owners can further refine their service by reviewing customer feedback, usage statistics, average handling time, and call transcriptions. Cloud-based software allows a business owner to examine data trends, and thereby make decisions based off of unprecedented business intelligence. Does a higher average handling time result in more satisfied or less satisfied customers? What is the best escalation plan during high-volume call periods? Thanks to cloud-based solutions, these questions, once nebulous and once guessed-at, have numbers-backed solutions.