Contact Centre Lanscape Heads to the Clouds

Contact centre managers are putting multiple customer communication channels at the top of their priority list in 2014. A survey by cloud-based contact centre solutions provider Magnetic North, has found that 44% see managing customer experience across multiple channels as a key challenge of the next year, while 40% are concerned about ensuring technology keeps pace with changing customer behaviour. However there are some stark differences in challenges reported between organisations using cloud-based vs. on premise contact centre solutions.

Overall the research found that contact centre managers top five challenges for 2014 are

1.Managing the customer experience across multiple channels (44%)
2.Ensuring technology keeps pace with changing customer behaviour (40%)
3.Driving operational efficiency and cost savings (34%)
4.Developing agent skills-sets (31%)
5.Making the transition to a cloud-based contact solution (28%)

However, the picture changes significantly for contact centre managers in organisations operating with cloud based solutions, with none considering multiple channel communications as a challenge. For these, most said that their next challenge is developing agent skill sets (67%), presumably in order to ensure their workforce are capable to communicate across these new channels. In comparison, among those in organisations using on premise solutions with no plans to switch to cloud, an above average 60% were concerned about multi-channel.

Among those who are planning to move to a cloud based solution in the next 12 months, 60% consider managing this transition to be the biggest challenge they are facing.

Despite this focus on multi-channel communication, it seems most contact centre managers are still sceptical about social media as a customer service channel. Only 14% considered integration of social media into the contact centre a challenge they expect to face in the next year.

David Ford, Managing Director, Magnetic North said: “As customers and the technology they are using to communicate with businesses evolves, it is no surprise that keeping up the pace with that evolution is considered to be the biggest challenge facing contact centres. It is also not surprising that contact centre managers in organisations still using on premise solutions with no plans to switch are more concerned about multi-channel communication than others, indicating that legacy technology remains a sticking problem when it comes to servicing today’s demanding customers.

“But it is interesting to see that contact centre managers using cloud-based solutions are less concerned about the technology, and are more focussed on agent skills. This highlights the issue that while cloud based contact centre technology can help you manage communication with customers across different channels; you need your agents to have the skills to do this.

Finally for those moving to a cloud-based solution this year, their concerns over managing the transition are misplaced – we can routinely get new customers live within a matter of days.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine

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