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4 INTRODUCTION The Evolve IP-CCNG 2014 North American Call Center Survey Results Paper examined the trends, concerns and spending in today s call centers. Specifically we looked at: Cloud-based versus premise-based call centers Disaster Recovery Work from Home Programs Downtime Size of the Call Center The survey results were compiled from a mix of 197 call center professionals who participated in the web-based survey. (Fig. 1) (Fig. 1) 4

5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Evolve IP and CCNG 2014 North American Call Center Survey revealed that call centers are evolving based on new technologies, most notably, the cloud and the features it provides: 70 percent of organizations using a premise-based call center presently plan to move to the cloud percent of call centers are premise-based today. Top investment priorities for call centers for 2014 include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Work Force Management (WFM), and Business Intelligence (BI). Nearly 2 in 10 organizations surveyed do not have a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. More than half of those surveyed do not have the ability for their agents to be fully functional from home in the event of a power outage / disaster at their office percent of call centers have less than 26 percent of their agents working from home, while only 2 percent have the majority of their agents telecommuting. More than half of the call centers surveyed have a multi-channel solution in place. More than a quarter of those surveyed had no downtime in their call centers over the prior 12 months, and another 24 percent only had one incident of downtime over the period. 61 percent of the call centers surveyed have agents working in more than one location. In fact, 10 percent have agents dispersed across more than 20 different locations. 70% plan to move to the cloud 2 in 10 have no disaster recovery plan 61% of call centers have agents who work from more than 1 location 5

6 INVESTMENT PRIORITIES Of the organizations using a premise-based call center presently, 70 percent are planning to move to a cloud-based call center, with 32.5 percent planning to do so within the next 18 months. (Fig. 2) (Fig. 2) For 2014, in addition to investing in the cloud, other investment priorities (Fig. 3) include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), with 40.5 percent of those polled planning to invest in a CRM this year. The next ranked investment priorities are Work Force Management (WFM) (31.5 percent), and Business Intelligence (BI) (31 percent). This indicates that call centers are looking to streamline and improve their processes and gain better insight into their performance. (Fig. 3) 6

7 56.5 percent of call centers with more than 20 locations are planning to invest in BI this year, which is their leading investment priority. For that same subset of respondents, Workforce Management and Quality Management are the next highest priorities with 44 percent. This is due to the fact that larger call centers are more complex to manage and a more rigorous approach to metrics is required to gain those efficiencies. (Fig. 4) (Fig. 4) The highest ranked priority when looking just at those deploying cloud-based call centers is BI (50 percent) while half that number of premise-based call centers are planning to invest in BI this year. (Fig. 5) (Fig. 5) 7

8 CLOUD-BASED VS. PREMISE-BASED CALL CENTERS Of those surveyed, the majority (77.5 percent) presently use a premise-based call center. (Fig. 6) (Fig. 6) Respondents ranked Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity Capabilities, and Scalability as the three leading reasons why call centers are moving to the cloud. (Fig. 7) Other highly ranked reasons included reduced reliance on internal IT resources, work from home program enablement, and new features and upgrades without additional investment. (Fig. 7) 8

9 On the flip side, the leading concerns that organizations have about cloud call centers (Fig. 8) are security and Quality of Service (QoS) and reliability / uptime, with 51 percent surveyed selecting each as a concern. (Fig. 8) Concerns: Cloud-based vs. Premise-based When focusing on the concerns around features of a cloud call center, nearly half of both cloudbased and premise-based call centers were concerned about reliability / up-time. (Fig 9a) Security in a hosted call center, however, is of greater concern (55.5 percent) to those presently using premise-based call centers than those with cloud call centers (36.5 percent) today. (Fig. 9b) Similarly, those with premise-based call centers are more concerned about the internal ability to administer the system, by ten percentage points. (Fig 9c) (Fig. 9a) (Fig. 9b) (Fig. 9c) 9

10 An interesting divergence between cloud-based and premise-based call centers is a 28.5 point difference in the concern for loss of control, with nearly half of premise-based respondents vs. just 20.5 percent of cloud-based call centers noting. (Fig. 10a) Evolve IP INSIGHT IP In actuality, most cloud-based call centers actually have even more control than they do with a premise-based call center in most cases. Using portal and other software provided by their service providers, they can configure their call center queues, call flows, greeting, holiday schedules, and much more with just the click of a mouse. In a traditional premise-based call center, all call center changes must be performed by an IT or similar group with specialized tools and programming skills. More modern cloud-based call centers offer intuitive web-based administration that is designed for use by the call center leadership to make real-time adjustments to meet their service level goals. Location of Data Centers was also of more concern to premise-based call centers with 20 percent of premise-based being concerned vs. just 7 percent of cloud call centers. (Fig. 10b) Another differing opinion was that 68 percent of cloud-based call centers are concerned about QoS/ call quality, which is 23 points more than the 46.5 percent of premised-based organizations that selected QoS/call quality as a concern. (Fig. 10c) This reveals that not all cloud-based solutions and service providers are the same. While it s great to be able to take advantage of all of the features available in the cloud, it is clearly critical to find a provider that provides quality service without jitter or latency issues. (Fig. (Fig. 10b) These three concerns illustrate the importance of vendor selection! (Fig. 10c) Resource Alert! Click here to download 15 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Call Center Provider. 10

11 Not Every Cloud Call Center Provider Is the Same The leading reason (78.5 percent) that organizations selected a cloud-based call center is the ability to scale up and down. This is not surprising as the cost-savings from scalability are very valuable to call centers, especially those with seasonal or campaign-driven needs. Meanwhile, 54 percent selected Lower Total Cost of Ownership as the second leading reason for moving to the cloud. (Fig. 11) (Fig. 11) These are typical benefits of moving service to the cloud including call center, VoIP PBX, virtual desktop, virtual data center, or other service types. Although these and other benefits are often inherent in a cloud-based solution, it s important for users to know that not every cloud service provider is the same. For example, the architecture and platforms can differ remarkably from one service provider to the next, making such capabilities as QoS and disaster recovery capability vary greatly from one provider to the next. In fact, the cloud-based call centers surveyed determined that the top challenge with their current service provider is lack of compatibility / integration with other systems (32.5 percent), followed by poor QoS / call quality (29.7 percent). What is most notable, however, is that overall, those who have deployed cloud call centers have few challenges with their service providers - with the largest concern affecting less than a third of those polled. (Fig. 12) (Fig. 12) 11

12 PREPARED FOR DISASTER? Nearly 2 in 10 organizations surveyed do not have a disaster recovery plan in place. (Fig. 13) (Fig. 13) And, just over 5 in 10 of those surveyed also do not have the ability for their agents to be fully functional from home in the event of a power outage / disaster at their office. (Fig. 14) (Fig. 14) (Fig. 15) Not surprisingly, more cloud-based call centers are able to have their agents work from home during a power outage than premise-based call centers. This is likely due because cloud-based call centers inherently overcome the geographical constraints faced by a premise-based solution. (Fig. 15) RESOURCE ALERT! Click here to download Evolve IP s Disaster Avoidance Checklist. 12

13 THE VIRTUAL CALL CENTER WORK FROM HOME PROGRAMS How many agents are actually working from home? 43.5 percent of call centers have 1-25 percent of their agents working from home, while only 2 percent have percent of their agents telecommuting. 46 percent of call centers surveyed have no agents working from home. (Fig. 16) (Fig. 16) Call centers plan to expand the number of agents who will be telecommuting by By next year, the number of call centers with no work from home agents is anticipated to drop from 46 percent to 31 percent. Also notable, the percent of call centers with percent of agents telecommuting will more than double increasing from 6.5 in 2014 to 17 percent in (Fig 17) (Fig. 17) 13

14 The survey showed that Cloud-based call centers that have at least some of their agents working from home ranked enabling work from home agents as the second leading reason they moved to their call center to the cloud, with 62 percent selecting it - versus just 25 percent of those who don t have any agents working from home. (Scalability remains the leading reason for both segments.) (Fig. 18) (Fig. 18) Cloud-based call centers have a slightly higher percentage of their agents working from home today than premise-based call centers. What is notable is that more than 1 in 10 of those with a cloudbased call center have 100 percent of their staff telecommuting, due to the have the inherent ability of the cloud to enable telecommuting. (Fig. 19) (Fig. 19) Although both cloud-based and premise-based plan to have more agents telecommuting by 2015, only cloud-based call centers have fully embraced this model to the point where are planning to go predominantly virtual (13.5 percent of them). (Fig. 20) (Fig. 20) 14

15 More of those call centers that have agents working from home are planning to move to the cloud (Fig. 21) than those that do not have agents working from home percent of the call centers with work from home programs plan to migrate to the cloud within 18 months versus 26.4 percent without. (Fig. 21) Why aren t more agents working from home? There are two ways of looking at this question. In some cases, organizations are not launching a Work from Home program because of a lack of cabability. In other cases, their concerns are prohibiting them from launching a Work from Home program. In the Disaster Recovery section above, we discussed that more cloud-based call centers have the ability for their agents work from home during a power outage than premise-based call centers. The leading reason why those who lack the ability to work from home are not able is that they don t have the technology required. (Fig. 22) 76% 51.5% 50.5% 20.5% (Fig. 22) 15

16 More than half of those surveyed state that the biggest concern with agents working from home is the inability to properly monitor agent activity. This is followed closely by protection of confidential/ proprietary information and having the right technology to enable at-home agents. If more organizations were able to utilize better technology solutions, they would enable agents to work at home. This would allow these organizations to reap the cost savings a work from home call center program provides. (Fig. 23) (Fig. 23) MULTI-CHANNEL More than half of the call centers surveyed have a multi-channel solution in place that allows their contact center to handle additional channels like chat, , fax, SMS, Facebook, or Twitter. (Fig. 24) (Fig. 24) However, only 25 percent of those surveyed indicated that multi-channel is an investment priority in This may be a sign that further adoption of multi-channel is slowing. Blended Agents Nearly three-quarters of the call centers that are using a multi-channel solution are blending their agents. (Fig. 25) (Fig. 25) 16

17 The leading reason organizations are choosing not to blend agents is that it doesn t fit their strategy. The second reason being that the non-voice interactions are handled by specific agents. (Fig. 26) (Fig. 26) DOWNTIME More than a quarter of those surveyed had no downtime in their call centers over the prior 12 months, and another 24 percent only had one incident of downtime over the period. (Fig. 27) (Fig. 27) The majority of call centers had less than eight hours of total downtime over the prior 12 months, while 12 percent of call centers experienced more than eight hours of downtime during the same period. (Fig. 28) (Fig. 28) 17

18 COSTS AND SIZES OF THE CALL CENTER Equipment Maintenance Costs of the Premise-based Call Center Three quarters of premise-based call centers are spending more than $5,000 on equipment maintenance costs annually. However, where premise-based call centers only have 1.5 percent spending more than $1 million, 4 percent more of cloud-based call centers are in the same bracket. (Fig. 29) (Fig. 29) Equipment maintenance costs of the Premise-based call center are clearly scaled to the size of the call center - the more agents, the more costly the equipment maintenance costs. (Fig. 30) (Fig. 30) 18

19 Locations 61 percent of the call centers surveyed have agents working in more than one location. In fact, 10 percent have agents working across more than 20 different locations. (Fig. 31) (Fig. 31) More organizations with multiple locations are using cloud-based Automatic Call Distributors (ACDs) than call centers with only one location. This is not surprising since cloud-based solutions provide cost-saving benefits for organizations with multiple locations, as well as technology solutions that allow agents to easily work from anywhere yet still operate as a single call center (a single ACD). (Fig. 32) (Fig. 32) 19

20 CONCLUSION The findings of the Evolve IP-CCNG 2014 Call Center Survey tell us that technology is taking call centers to the next level, enabling them to change the way work. Cloud technology, multi-channel solutions, integration with CRM and WFM tools, and other advanced technologies provide the call center with better insight and new options for such things as Work from Home programs. Based on the survey results, call centers are currently or planning to take advantage of these technologies. Cloud is the Future for Call Centers Less than a quarter of call centers are in the cloud today, but 70 percent of organizations using a premise-based call center are presently planning to move to the cloud at some point in the future, and cloud call centers are going to see dramatic growth in the next few years. Nearly 2 in 10 organizations surveyed do not have a disaster recovery plan of any kind in place. More than half of those surveyed are unable to allow their agents work from home during a power outage (or other catastrophic event), and we learned the leading reason is that those agents don t have the technology needed to log into the call center from home. However, 67.5 percent of cloud-based call centers are able to have their agents work from home during a power outage versus only 44 percent of premise-based call centers, which indicates that cloud call center solutions better enable telecommuting programs, as well as disaster recovery. This is further backed by the 62 percent of cloud-based call centers ranking enabling work from home agents as the second leading reason they moved to their call center to the cloud. The survey clearly illustrated that call centers are quickly moving toward a virtual call center model by launching Work from Home programs for their agents and supervisors. In fact, 54% of the call centers surveyed have at least some employees working from home presently, and anticipate having that jump to 68.5% by And, while just 10% of those call centers have more than a quarter of their employees working from home now, that number is expected to increase to 25.5% by Cloud-based call centers have a higher percentage of their agents working from home today than premise-based call centers. Although both cloud-based and premise-based plan to have more agents telecommuting by 2015, only cloud-based call centers (13.5 percent of them) are planning to go fully virtual. The majority of call centers surveyed 61 percent have agents working across more than one location. In fact, 10 percent have agents working across more than 20 different locations. The survey also exhibited that more organizations with multiple locations are using cloud-based ACDs than call centers with only one location. (Continued) 20

21 Nearly half of all the call centers surveyed (45 percent) are spending less than $10,000 per year on equipment maintenance. Premise-based call centers are spending more overall than cloud-based, with three-quarters of them spending more than $5,000 on equipment maintenance costs annually, versus 61 percent of cloud-based call centers. This backs the claims that cloud service providers make that there is a lower TCO with a cloud solution than a premise-based solution. The survey clearly indicates that scalability is the leading reason to go to the cloud. More than half of all respondants selected ability to scale up and down as a reason call centers are moving to the cloud and 78.5 percent of organizations that are presently using a cloudbased call center indicated it as the reason they moved to the cloud. Other Technologies Based on the top investment priorities for call centers for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Work Force Management (WFM), and Business Intelligence (BI) it is clear that what is most critical to call centers now is seeking tools to help them streamline and improve their processes and gain better insight into their performance. Multi-channel is being actively used today, with more than half of the call centers surveyed having a multi-channel solution in place. However, with only 25 percent making it an investment priority in 2014, there is indication that it may be declining. 3 out of 4 of those using it are blending their agents. The leading reasons the other 25 percent are not blending their agents are because it doesn t fit their organization s strategy and that the non-voice interactions are handled by specific agents. 21

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