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Remember when Black Friday was actually on Friday? I do — and I remember my local Walmart setting up for purchased returns exactly on Monday morning like clockwork. That’s because the spike in consumer behavior from Friday to the following Monday was highly predictable. Up until five or six years ago, seasonal spikes were safely bound by time and contact center channel, which made capacity planning relatively clean.
Today, we have multiple weeks like Black Friday. In addition, Cyber Monday has created an entirely new category of shoppers who expect a style of digital offerings and communications across retailers. Not only do we have to deal with less predictability in the shift of consumer behaviors, but all of this becomes more challenging when we consider that the overhead price of preparation is greater than the actual utility of our seasonal communications.
According to my colleague Abi Chandra, “Imagine owning a two-seat car that you bought to handle the standard day-to-day of life — getting to work, grocery shopping and going to the occasional movie. But, at Thanksgiving, you have 30 family members flying in to visit. To accommodate this, you buy a bus to transport them around to family outings over the weekend. When they all leave, you now own a bus that you park in the backyard. You also own all the maintenance and taxes on that bus. Sure, it’s sitting unused now, but you take consolation in the fact that you’re prepared for next Thanksgiving. But, your family is growing. In the back of your mind, you wonder if that new bus will be big enough for next year.”
The bus analogy is a picture of how many companies manage their voice channel capacity in the contact center to meet the needs of a seasonal spike. Arguably, the most painful part of this is the cost, which includes buying more capacity than you actually need. And that’s because your reputation depends on it.
And this isn’t true for just the retail contact center. Insurance open enrollment, tax filings and government programs play out the same story. The challenge of capacity planning and cost of ownership involved is actually a problem of scalability. The process of pre-securing capacity for seasonal spikes — or any kind of sudden increase in future call volumes — happens because the underlying technology only scales with manual intervention with premiums on time. The inherent scalability and automation of a properly designed cloud contact center solution solves that problem altogether.
Automated Capacity Meets Modern Needs
Let’s revisit our Thanksgiving family weekend and use a cloud version of a two-seat car — one that handles our day-to-day life. In this scenario, whenever we pick up new family member from the airport, the car adds an additional seat automatically. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or 31 in this airport trip; the cloud car continues to expand to meet the immediate needs of everyone in the party. When they get out, the car scales down to its minimum configuration of seats. The bottom line: No matter how many customer calls come into your business’ contact center — planned or unplanned — neither you nor your customers know that they’re using a freshly up-scaled system to handle the immediate increase in capacity.
And the Genesys® PureCloud® application was designed specifically — from its beginnings — to handle these particular problems. From a high level, let’s look at how the PureCloud product changes your business processes.
PureCloud Scalability and Your Contact Center
First, all of the time spent preparing the underlying technology goes away. A typical business using a traditional contact center solution does all of its planning and equipment purchases in July, configures in August, battle tests in September, tweaks in October — and then hopes that all the capacity backups are ready for the spike in customer service volumes for November and December. In a cloud world, that time is better spent on creating and preparing customer experiences that will boost your reputation during the high-traffic moments. You could let the cloud architecture take care of the real-time work of technological capacity.
Secondly, backups and overhead failover equipment go away. The PureCloud application isn’t one system sitting in a single server room that needs another system to be ready in case there’s an outage. Cloud design relies on massive duplication.
At a high level, imagine multiple concurrent copies of a system that are equally capable of handling calls. If one goes down, there are tens or hundreds of other concurrent, live copies already available while the bad one is replaced with a fresh one automatically. This type of resiliency and scalability is active for all your customers’ preferred channels.
It’s worth mentioning that we’ve been focusing on the largest challenge to managing the voice channel. The PureCloud application offers the same treatment for all the contact center channels. In fact, it unifies all channels so you can gain the highest utilization from your agents. The PureCloud app can send multiple, concurrent SMS, email, chat and social interactions to your agents with prioritization for voice. Scalability planning across channels goes away — every agent shares the same interface for any interaction. The cost savings in workforce utilization is significant.
Finally, the cost savings for seasonal preparation is the best part.
The traditional cost of ownership drastically shifts from over-paying for capacity and backups to only paying for what you use. The PureCloud application doesn’t nickel and dime you for scalability — because that capability is already part of the underlying product. Your costs only involve your channel traffic.
Think of it as owning a two-seat cloud car that behaves like a car with 2,000 seats when it needs to — without changing your monthly car payment. You pay for the gas, not the capacity. And you never pay for guessing wrong on the capacity side. You don’t pay for backups, overhead or five-year contracts. Those days are gone. Scalability, resiliency and unified channels are all part of your PureCloud subscription. You agree to a one- or two-year commitment that’s paid monthly. The pay-as-you-go feature lets you turn your operation from a cost center into a profit center.
Be Ready for Anything
The PureCloud application lets you meet the changing needs of your consumers. It takes the guesswork out of preparing for temporary customer opportunities and puts cost controls back in the hands of your investment goals.
With the PureCloud product, you’re ready when your customer interactions spike over the voice channel on Black Friday and when they shift to the digital channel on Cyber Monday.
Take a guided tour of the PureCloud application to see how it can help you meet customer demands and improve your customer experience.
Part 1: You are here; Tis the Season to be a Scalable Contact Center
Part 2: Seasonable Demands Require Scalability and the Human Touch
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