Cloud, the ‘New Normal’ for business continuity and performance

Cloud has been crucial to maintain business continuity and facilitate remote working during the COVID-19 health crisis. The businesses that had already transitioned to this new environment are reaping the benefits. Those who haven’t are learning, at their expense, that Cloud is not just a ‘nice to have’ but is an essential tool for survival today – and tomorrow.

COVID-19: reinforcing the case for the shift to Cloud

Before the pandemic even started to disrupt business, the contact center industry was already widely migrating to Cloud. Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant report anticipated that, by 2022, contact center as a service (CCaaS) would become the preferred adoption model for about half of contact centers, up from about 10% in 2019. “CCaaS solutions offer technology that mostly aligns with the “getting connected” pillar of great customer service, providing foundational capabilities,” noted Gartner in the report. The list of benefits for customers, agents and consumers is undoubtedly long: deployment in just a matter of days, reduced costs and capex, instant scalability and elasticity, data visibility and accessibility, enhanced security, more distributed model of operation, etc. Cloud can also help seamlessly integrate emerging technologies such as automation or AI, so they can all be added incrementally and continuously as the business requires.

Supporting the ‘Work from Home’ Agent (WFHA)

However, the advantages of Cloud became even more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the shift to Cloud now likely to exceed recent predictions. During the height of the crisis, social distancing forced contact centers to embrace the Work-From-Home (WFH) model. Going forward, contact center managers will have to consider allowing agents to work from their home, or from the contact center and home as part of a ‘blended’ WFH model, since this will become the ‘New Normal’. Businesses will need to diversify their contact center agents across multiple sites and throw in WFH to guarantee business continuity whatever the next crisis may be, while also reaching out to new remote competencies. Cloud technology allows this virtual support of operations and remote agents outside the traditional model, while ensuring that all contact center teams receive access to the same tools and experiences, wherever they are.

Cloud’s flexibility enhances agent and client experience

As agents adapt to the ‘new normal’, with an acceleration of the digitalization of the customer journey, delivering a seamless cloud-based omnichannel customer experience across all contact points (phone, email, chat, messaging and all social media) is key: ensuring business continuity means adapting to the new customers’ communication preferences, especially digital ones. An all-in-one Cloud contact center platform can harness data from all sources, applications and touch points and then convert it into real-time and historical actionable insights. Cloud-based contact center technology also supports seamless integration of self-service, analytics and AI tools such as chatbots and virtual assistants to flatten the curve of incoming calls and focus agents on the more complex conversations. All these capabilities, plus the benefits of native integration with CRM applications, will enhance the overall experience of both agents and customers with full contextual data, helping the customer feel looked after and valued at a time of uncertainty.As a brand’s reputation remains its more valuable asset, Cloud contact center platforms will become a key differentiator for the organizations that want to handle any changes in the market and adapt seamlessly, at record speeds.

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