When it’s not business as usual, technology strategy matters more than ever. And for the call center, it’s critical that IT teams deliver the right technology. This ensures that agents have the tools to personalize the customer experience.
Many outside forces impact IT decisions. Competitive pressures, the fast pace of digital and the constant need to navigate disruption all play a part. And, if disruption is too significant, there’s a massive ripple effect.
For example, things must change if your whole workforce becomes remote. The right cloud solution will bring it all together. But to find that solution, you need to consider several things. That means IT leaders must weigh their options carefully. They have to find the solution that will meet needs for all stakeholders.
Start here. Consider these six must-haves in your cloud-based call center technology to support a remote agent strategy.
1. Innovation over replication
Forrester analyst Ian Jacobs speaks to the importance of innovation through analysis in his article, “Plan for the work-at-home contact center you want, not the one you were forced to build during this pandemic.” At first, many companies had to “prioritize speed over elegance.” But now they have time to reflect. They can analyze what worked and what didn’t. And they can use that information for their go-forward technology strategy.
Taking what worked in brick-and-mortar contact centers and “making it remote” isn’t the answer. The same applies to cloud contact center technology. Hosting the same on-premises solution in the cloud isn’t sustainable. It won’t create the infrastructure you need for the long term. It just extends the same set of limitations, costs and time to adapt to new requirements.
Instead, move to a modern, Software as a Service (SaaS) architecture that’s built for change. This solution should allow you to innovate quickly. Unlike hosted on-premises solutions, a born-in-the-cloud API microservices architecture, also called a public cloud, has the following features:
- More easily supports remote capabilities – It can shift geographic operations and manage unexpected surges in customer inquiries.
- Offers a continuous deployment approach that makes innovations immediately accessible
- Handles billions of API calls each month with easy integration to other systems.
- Proven resiliency, scalability and security
2. Trust, but verify
According to a recent ContactBabel survey, concern over security and fraud inhibits working from home. In fact, 41% of respondents called this their greatest hurdle.
Consider security along two dimensions. First, ensure security of the remote location itself. Second, determine whether your teams have the expertise to keep things secure.
The public cloud is one of the most secure places in the technology world. But it’s still important to conduct careful due diligence. This ensures any cloud application keeps customers, operations and compliance safe.
And the right cloud contact center solution is a partner in security. The solution should mitigate security risks and eliminate potential security issues.
As you consider a move to the cloud, keep these important security parameters in mind.
- Global footprint. This assures data sovereignty and includes the conversion, storage and security of data in compliance with the residing country’s laws.
- Data security. This is the case whether that data terminates within your provider network or interacts with cloud services. Cryptographic protocols like TLS and AES256 ensure secure connection and encryption.To ensure that only the customer who owns call and screen recordings can decrypt them, use individual encryption keys. Multi-tenant environments offer specific security enforcement; barriers and controls should keep each organization’s data completely separated. This allows secure access to only that organizational data.
- Access control. Only give data access to users with proper authority and legitimate business requirements. Authorized users should access the cloud environment using multi-factor authentication (MFA). Log and track all user activities. Review access by privileged users periodically. This includes access permissions using the least privilege principle and role-based access control.
- Application security. This extends to development teams and the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Use an agile development process that includes validation steps. Train teams on web application security with testing throughout the SDLC. Code for a release is subject to continuous ongoing testing and review. Use code scanning and penetration tests that leverage resources and methodologies like Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and SANS Top 25.
- Compliance. Ensure the solution has essential third-party certifications. These include PCI, SOC2 Type II, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, HIPAA, Privacy Shield, GDPR, CCPA.
- Resiliency. Look for reliable and available service based on a public cloud infrastructure. A public-facing status page that’s available from the cloud solution provider adds benefit.
3. Make digital a reality
Your company should be able to add digital channels on the go. It shouldn’t take expensive and time-consuming customizations. So technology leaders need to provide tools that enable simple, digital experiences.
IT teams can help your business better manage volume and maintain quality customer service. They can do this with a cloud solution that offers easy-to-deploy and customizable digital channels. The solution also should be flexible to allow incremental deployment as usage grows.
Simple chat auto-attendant and webchat have an effect on achieving these goals. They can offset some of the load for stressed and overworked work-from-home employees. This lets agents better manage new issues like connectivity and background noise.
Additionally, it should be easy to add automation with rich self-service capabilities. Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bots, social channels and predictive web engagement ensure you don’t miss opportunities. These AI-powered capabilities are even more critical in times of change or uncertainty.
The same routing engine that drives voice telephony should apply to digital channels. This assures holistic customer journeys and unified, reliable data. And it results in clean data that IT teams don’t need to consistently piece together.
4. Make life easier
A cloud solution should make it easier for your IT organization to adapt — both to changes in buyer demands and to new business needs. And it should do it all without the worry of keeping servers running or software updated.
- Easy administration. Setting up and maintaining system configuration should be easier than before. A single intuitive interface reduces time spent on training. And nothing is shut down to install updates.
- Easy development. Look for a broad set of open APIs to build integrations that aren’t available out of the box. These same APIs let you embed functionality in other apps and build custom interfaces. Modern cloud solutions live on these APIs. And that gives you a choice to use your provider’s interfaces or build your own. Or both.
- Easy expansion. It should be fast and easy to install and use tested apps from a partner ecosystem. This lets you access a broad range of enhancements to the cloud platform. Take advantage of applications like real-time analytics dashboards to improve forecasting and scheduling.
5. Make management easy
Security is top of mind for remote work, but managing employees is another challenge to consider. Being distanced doesn’t mean being cut off.
When employees are remote, communication tools like collaboration and video calling become key. These tools allow for coaching and training to continue even outside the office.
Additionally, AI-powered tools offer guidance in real time. They also provide call context, along with full reporting and analytics. This helps work-from-home agents be more productive and autonomous so they can deliver better service.
Source your workforce engagement management (WEM) and contact center tools from the same cloud provider. This will ease the burden on IT teams by reducing the effort and cost of maintaining custom integrations. And it lets contact center staff schedule, track and manage performance across a virtual operation.
Factor these critical capabilities into any go-forward contact center technology strategy. It’s a win for IT leaders and it makes life easier on their teams.
6. Deploy fast; scale easily; grow gracefully
Modern cloud solutions offer the speed and ease to get up and running – fast. Plus, they help you maintain focus on your long-term goals. Lengthy technology deployment cycles don’t work in a crunch. When you need to get work-from-home teams up and running quickly, you need technology that can do the same. Look for solutions where deployment speed is measured in days — or even hours — not months.
In a three-month span, Genesys got more than 500,000 contact center employees up and ready to continue serving consumers from their homes.
- A major financial services company transitioned nearly 10,000 in-office agents to remote work within days. The company plans to enable another 5,000 call center agents to work from home. Additionally, it doubled its record for customer transactions, jumping to three million.
- A Fortune 50 software company shut down its contact centers in a COVID-19 outbreak area. It then shifted all calls to other countries. The company updated its IVR and rebalanced routing to accommodate this change. Plus, it moved thousands of agents around the world to virtual work within days.
- A large state government entity was able to convert 3,000 agents to remote work in a single day. It also onboarded 400 new agents in three days.
“Employees from all three of our call centers are working remotely now and we are maintaining production levels. Without Genesys Cloud this could have been disastrous. The added investment for the solution has already paid off.”
Vice President of Information Systems
Traditional solutions weren’t designed for dynamic growth. They need pre-calculated failover systems that have overhead costs to maintain. These costs duplicate when applied to reach a global customer base. You should be able to scale to meet exponential growth — without major uptime costs.
Cloud-native architecture scales automatically to meet any customer demand without extra overhead costs. This same architecture works for massive duplication and distribution globally. This ensures resilience against outages out of the box.
The right cloud solution supports growth and expansion. By going to the cloud, you can add new capabilities to support remote workers. These include AI-powered applications and integrations with other core business software. Plus, the cloud ensures ongoing access to innovation.
Be prepared for a new normal
Evolving your contact center technology to support an effective work-from-home strategy doesn’t mean you have to move at a slow pace. Cloud solutions introduce rapid speed and cost benefits. They also give you access to the tools you need for success. And they should be part of any call center’s go-forward strategy.
The right cloud solution offers short-term results and provides a foundation for long-term success.