What is a Cloud Contact Center?
In recent years, contact centers have become cloud contact centers as they migrate to the cloud to take advantage of the savings and flexibility it offers. Cloud contact centers are a business's central communications hub, handling multichannel communications and streamlining operations through integration with other softwares, like .
Powered by , a will allow for communication by voice, video, email, social media, and more. Oftentimes, cloud call centers will be powered by as a Service (CCaas) softwares, which outsource the management of the cloud technologies to a third-party company.
As a result, users are liberated both from the logistical headaches and expenses associated with on-premise hardware and internally built tools. Moreover, the competitive nature of the CCaaS market ensures providers offer a high quality, reliable service with sophisticated functionalities.
In the following article, we'll look at:
- How cloud contact centers work
- Advantages and disadvantages of cloud contact centers
- Cloud contact center key features
- Businesses best suited for cloud contact centers
- The best cloud contact center software providers on the market.
How cloud contact centers work
The main technologies underlying cloud contact centers are Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), supported by Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). These two concepts are two of the technological advances which have replaced the circuit-based business phone systems used before Internet-based solutions were implemented. VoIP and allow for the transmission of communications across the internet.
In previous VoIP iterations, hardware like modems or software were required for the technology to function. Then the arrival of WebRTC in the mid-2010s eliminated the need for anything other than a browser to send audio and video, as well as other data. This advance meant it was no longer necessary to install third-party softwares such as Skype for VoIP communications, and allowed for the development of browser-accessible softwares bundling together multiple communications functions, such as cloud contact centers.
Now, from a single browser-based interface, users of a cloud call center software can access video chats, make and receive phone calls, reach out to clients through social media, send SMS messages, and more.
Cloud call center softwares also leverage application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect various softwares. Commonly called integrations, these connections allow for the exchange of data between softwares.
We'll talk more about integrations in the next section, where we discuss advantages, but suffice to say this capability allows businesses to build out suites of software that streamline their operations and increase efficiency.
Advantages of cloud contact centers
The main benefits of cloud call centers are flexibility, efficiency, and customization. Because the software is generally available through a browser, you and your team have access to clients, and vice versa, wherever you have an Internet-connected device. Rather than toggling back and forth between multiple communications tools, your team will use one interface to manage multichannel communications with clients and prospects.
Additionally, cloud contact center software providers usually offer multiple tiers of service. This variety of offers allows you to choose the best level of service for your business's current size, which scales with you as you grow. Now that we've covered the main benefits of cloud call centers, we'll look at the other advantages.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
The foundation of a cloud contact center, is a telephony system that distributes incoming calls to available agents. In many cloud contact center services, this technology is made even more sophisticated by the addition of call queuing, which sorts callers depending on factors like the needs clients have indicated and their wait times. Ringover's can even identify VIP callers and route them to the front of the call queue for immediate service.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
contributes to the efficiency benefit of cloud call centers. IVR is an automated voice option menu that callers navigate to access information or an agent. IVR systems can not only eliminate non-value add tasks for agents, like informing a caller of the business's operating hours, but improve the service a caller receives. Callers can indicate their needs through the IVR, so that the agent who eventually responds to the call has more context and is thus better able to serve the caller.
When you're choosing between cloud contact center softwares, pay attention to the interface for setting up your IVR. Some software is more intuitive than others, which can impact whether or not you're able to independently set up your ideal IVR system.
When it comes to productivity and customization, the ability to integrate your cloud contact center software with your tech stack is key. The most common integration with cloud cloud call center software is with CRMs, especially with Salesforce.
Once the cloud contact center software is integrated with a CRM, the productivity benefits are significant for your sales team. Sales reps will no longer have to manually log all interactions with clients into the CRM, as they'll be entered automatically. They'll also be able to call clients with one click from within Salesforce, and reference each client's Salesforce file when working within the cloud contact center service.
Efficiency is key when it comes to running a cost-effective contact center, which is why the analytics dashboard is a primary attraction of cloud contact center softwares. Understanding your service level will never be easier, and you can even deep dive into each representative's analytics to understand how to optimize their performance. Analytics dashboards cover all the channels your representatives use, so you can assess the KPIs channel by channel. Not to mention, you can export the informational graphics from the dashboard to create bespoke reports.
If you've been shopping for cloud contact center software, you're aware the market is very competitive right now. While that makes the decision-making process more complicated, it also means that providers are investing significant resources in developing features. Features are small tools that provide various benefits and capabilities for the users.
Some of the most exciting and useful examples in call center software include power dialing, which automatically dials through a call list; call whisper, which allows for real-time coaching during client calls; automated ; transcription of phone calls; mass text message campaigns; and more. Some cloud contact centers have more sophisticated features than others, so if one will make all the difference for your business, confirm the service has it before you sign on the dotted line.
Disadvantages of cloud contact centers
Just like with any technology, cloud contact centers have certain drawbacks. As with any software dealing with data, security can be a concern. If your agents or sales reps are not working on site, lost or compromised data can be a risk. Another issue that crops up is performance. The quality of the phone calls and other communication channels is entirely reliant on the provider, and some are known to be better than others. The best way to ensure you don't commit to a provider with subpar service is to read reviews before purchasing.
Doing your research is important, because another drawback of cloud call center softwares is that you'll have no on-premise support. Since you're reliant on the provider for help, be sure you're aware of how much support is included in your subscription. And again, read reviews to make sure the provider has a good reputation for prompt and helpful responses.
Who needs a cloud contact center?
Cloud contact centers are ideal for any business who wants to optimize their sales process or client service.
Industries who commonly use cloud contact centers include:
- Financial services
- Professional services
However, the point of a cloud contact center is to streamline client communications, and ensure that you or a representative of your business is easily reachable. In reality, a cloud call center can be helpful for many companies of various sizes, including small and medium businesses.
Given that cloud call center softwares have a centralized, browser-accessible interface, they make a huge difference in how easily you can contact or provide support to your customers. Plus, as mentioned before, software providers have different tiers of service, which are commonly charged per user. This pricing structure allows you to easily scale your financial commitment depending on your business needs.
The best cloud call center softwares on the market
Ringover's multichannel cloud contact center solution includes voice, video, chat, texting, and more. With a 4.7 rating on , Ringover is known for its easy-to-use interface and rich selection of features. Customers also call out the robust analytics dashboard, large selection of integrations, and responsive customer support team as positives. With a monthly subscription starting at $21, it offers an affordable but comprehensive cloud contact center solution to small and medium businesses.
8x8 has a strong presence in the US as a provider of multichannel business communications. With a convenient interface working as a one-stop shop for customer communications, 8x8 has also earned points from customers for its easy deployment process. However, the company has been dinged in client reviews for having an unreliable or delayed phone service, especially following one of its frequent updates.
With a large number of integrations available, Aircall has gained a good reputation as a cloud contact center software that fits easily into a pre-existing tech stack. The company also has invested into its user experience, with many customers appreciating the ergonomic design of its interface. With that being said, some clients have had issues with call reliability, an issue which has been exacerbated by substandard support on Aircall's part.
Ringcentral has a few different advantages for its subscribers, starting with a nice user experience and a good selection of multichannel communications options. Some clients also mention their many integrations as a plus for this product. But, there are quite a few reviews who point out serious cons to the service, starting with calls being disconnected and subpar customer support. If you decide to try Ringcentral, pay close attention to your estimate and your bill, as there have also been reports of unclear or confusing billing practices.
Dialpad offers a similar multichannel communications platform to the others on this list, and has recently debuted AI functionalities. By providing various forms of AI-powered customer intelligence, Dialpad appeals to sales teams in particular. But, this is yet another cloud contact center provider that has gotten criticized for billing surprises and glitches in its software.
Cloud Contact Center FAQs
What is the definition of Cloud Contact Center?
The definition of a cloud contact center is a software to manage inbound and outbound multichannel client communications. Also known as cloud call centers, this suite of tools has sophisticated telephony capabilities like call routing and IVR. Plus, call contact center software offers comprehensive real time analytics to help understand and optimize the call center performance.
What are the main benefits of cloud contact centers?
The main benefit of cloud contact centers is that they centralize client communications in one browser-accessible interface. This allows agents to follow a customer's journey despite numerous multichannel touchpoints. Thanks to this centralized and accessible information, agents can prospect and provide customer support in a more efficient manner, even anticipating client needs.
What is a good cloud based contact center solution?
Ringover's key features include unlimited calling to 110 countries, SMS, voice, chat, text and digital channels. With nearly two decades of telephony experience, Ringover offers high call quality with little to no downtime. There's no surprises when the bill comes due: Ringover has transparent and affordable pricing, service begins at $21 per month. While Ringover has a robust selection of features and integrations (including Salesforce), they launch new features and integrations multiple times a year, often based on client requests.
What are the 4 elements of contact center?
A quality contact center must have:
- Customer service agents with adequate training and experience.
- Monitoring and reporting to ensure efficiency and quality service to callers.
- Adequate physical infrastructure to support a high volume of calls.
- Technical infrastructure for maximum efficiency, including Automatic Call Distribution, IVR, Power Dialer, and telephony software.
How do I setup a cloud call center?
You can setup a cloud call center in five easy steps.
- Define the objectives of your call center so you can understand which functionalities are “must-haves” and which are only “nice-to-haves.”
- Choose the cloud call center software that delivers on your must-haves and works for your budget.
- Add a phone number to your account. If you would like to have multiple users on your account, you'll need to add a phone number for each user. The new user will then receive an email inviting them to create their account.
- Set up your IVR system. This will reassure your callers that your service is professional and help manage incoming calls. This step determines how callers can reach your agents and what happens if a caller contacts your business after hours. You can direct them to leave a voicemail, or even forward calls to another phone number. You can also add a survey at the end of calls to understand if customers are happy with your service.
- You're ready to begin receiving calls!