5 Key Questions You Should Ask When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center

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1 5 Key Questions You Should Ask When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center

2 5 Key Questions You Should Ask When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Table of Contents 5 Key Questions You Should Ask When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center 3 What developments have changed the landscape for the cloud-based contact center market? 3 Which types of organizations are adopting cloud-base contact centers and why? 4 Can you make a strong case to C-level executives? 4 What functionalities are driving demand? 4 What should you look for in a cloud provider? 5 Conclusion 5 2

3 5 Key Questions You Should Ask When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Customer service organizations have been relying on the traditional contact center as the heart of their operations for years. But, as technology evolves and the number of customer contacts increase, maintaining and upgrading the traditional contact center has become a challenge. As customer service organizations continue to work with tighter budgets, the idea of moving to a cloud-based contact center is garnering greater interest. Cloud-based contact centers offer the promise of flexibility, scalability and speed of deployment while lowering the costs associated with managing a traditional contact center. But, before jumping onto the cloud-based contact center bandwagon, customer service organizations need to ask five key questions to fully understand the cloud-based contact center environment. What developments have changed the landscape for the cloud-based contact center market? Cloud-based contact center solutions have seen increased adoption globally during the past few years, with the upward trend continuing well through This is due to several factors. First, the focus on customer experience is coming of age as customer-centric strategies that were envisioned more than a decade ago begin to finally take form, with technology as a strong enabler. In addition, customers are dictating new terms of modern commerce and service empowered by technology, transparency and a wealth of information. They want their voices to be heard. They engage across multiple channels and media, and expect their needs to be anticipated, which is driving organizations to offer more channels for customer engagement. Through technology, customers feel empowered to demand exactly what they want. And when their needs are not met, they will not hesitate to patronize a competitor or broadcast their displeasure by leveraging social media channels to everyone they know and even some they don t. Social media platforms have spun a new form of social customer service that can bring an organization s front-line staff into the public forum. Although cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions are not yet desired by all enterprises or departments, they have altered the contact center competitive landscape for the better. An air of cautiousness prevails however as buyers appreciate the substantial differences between the breadth and depth of solutions. 3

4 Which types of organizations are adopting cloud-base contact centers and why? A number of factors contribute to an organization s ability to adopt cloud platforms and reap the benefits. Existing contracts often lock organizations into stale technology solutions, thus proving to be a barrier to adopting newer platforms, not necessarily just cloud. Investments in existing technologies need to be protected, and any adoption of cloud platforms more often than not requires some form of integration and considerable thought given to security. This introduces an element of latency in adopting newer technologies, including cloud-based platforms, thus impacting their ability to derive benefits. Organizations at the end of the life cycle of existing solutions have a strong preference to adopt cloud platforms. A growing number of small businesses, especially in the online retail sector, now find it easier to adopt cloud-based platforms with a rich feature set due to lower cost of ownership and the flexibility to scale up during peak periods. The adoption rate will definitely rise overall, but organizations with a greater ability to overcome barriers to adoption will lead the way. The public sector operates under a significantly different set of parameters where data sensitivity, compliance and security trump the adoption of cloud-based platforms unless vendors can prove 100-percent compliance. Validation of these parameters impacts the rate of adopting cloud-based platforms. Can you make a strong case to C-level executives? Contact center managers are the ones who are best poised to make a case for any solution that can improve operational efficiency in their contact center and improve customer experience. While there are often additional difficulties for midsize to large organizations to make a shift to the cloud, they are increasingly analyzing cloud options. Dependency on existing technologies, back-office systems and existing contractual obligations prove to be deterrents in adopting newer technologies. The same applies to their ability to validate the business case for adopting cloud-based solutions. Contact center managers are urged to review these dependencies and engage proactively with IT and back-office management as operational efficiencies in the contact center may not necessarily improve overall organizational cost to implement. What functionalities are driving demand? It should be noted that the initial driver for cloud-based contact centers was not necessarily the ability to deliver feature-rich applications, but rather to reduce the cost of ownership to organizations to manage and maintain technology. Cloud-based platforms primarily allow organizations to focus on their core business. From IT outsourcing to a steady evolution into the cloud, it seems to be a steady progression of software solutions to move all functionalities into the cloud. 4

5 KANA was the first to offer omni-channel contact center solutions where all functionalities are delivered via a unified desktop with rich knowledge-infused processes. On the rise are social monitoring tools that allow sentiment analysis and facilitate response and resolve capabilities driven by a contextual and centralized knowledge base. Mobility continues to pervade the market as vendors have critical functionality available on devices. Plug-and-play integration components are being deemed as essential as is the need for capturing, curing and analyzing big data. As evidenced by the Verint acquisition of KANA, companies will look to integrate customer experience with workforce management solutions and big data to facilitate actionable intelligence. What should you look for in a cloud provider? As with any product selection, a number of factors come into play when selecting vendors. Cost of acquiring a product or service that best fits an organization s needs is of prime importance and must be driven by a strong business case. Core to that business case is your vision for customer service as an extension of your brand. How will your organization address broader and bolder customer expectations? Look for a vendor that can match your vision. The cloud has enabled a plethora of click here to get started vendors. Before investing time down one of those trails, be sure that where it leads completely covers where you want to be. Also create a framework for vendor selection that highlights the vendor s past performance and its ability to execute on a strategic vision. A comparison of a vendor s strategic vision from five years ago to date will reveal significant information about a vendor s sustainability and capability to bring the vision to fruition. Vendors must support their customers existing software investments by continuing to enhance their products with new core features, capabilities and access to world-class services and support. Vendors must be in a position to demonstrate the value of their customers ongoing investments in software-as-a-service by delivering new, state-of-the-art applications that work across product lines to offer new and next-generation capabilities to enhance existing solutions. Determine vendor commitment to R&D and continued investment in new functionality and capabilities to deliver tangible business benefit and value on an ongoing basis. Conclusion Customer service organizations need to take a moment before jumping onto the cloud-based contact center bandwagon. Don t get blinded by the shiny promise of reduced costs and speedy deployment. As with any other technology investment, organizations need to ask some key questions prior to adoption. Then, once you have sufficiently answered those questions, feel free to climb aboard the bandwagon and enjoy the ride. 5

6 About KANA, A Verint Company KANA, A Verint Company, is a leading provider of cloud and on-premises customer service solutions. KANA helps global organizations including many of the Fortune 500, mid-market businesses and public sector agencies optimize their engagements with consistent and contextual customer journeys across agent, web, social and mobile experiences. Using KANA solutions, organizations can reduce operational costs, increase resolution rates and improve brand loyalty. Learn more at Copyright 2014 KANA, A Verint Company. KANA and the KANA logo are registered trademarks of KANA. Other company, product and service names may be service marks of their respective owners. 840 W California Avenue, Suite 100 Sunnyvale, CA T F Contact us at Linkedin: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/kana-software-inc/ All Rights Reserved

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