Friday, August 26, 2011

Cloud vs Premises Contact Center Costs

Many very small businesses need nothing more than a local or toll free number to take customer calls. Medium and larger companies have a sufficient prospect and customer base that they no longer ask whoever is behind the counter to take the calls. They’ve specialized that function, installed dedicated technology and moved it into its own office space known as a contact center. There’s a certain cost associated with contact centers and it’s hard to reduce... or is it?

Find out how much a cloud based contat center can save over the traditional premises approach...Up until recently, the only other option was to outsource the function on or off shore. Offshore contact or “call” centers have developed a tarnished reputation from overly ambitious efforts to recruit agents with weak English language skills and/or inadequate technical or procedural understanding. Companies now promote their in-house expert customer service staff as a competitive advantage.

But what about the costs? Is there any way to make in-house contact centers more competitively priced with shipping the function offshore? Fortunately, the answer is yes.

The way you can attack the cost monster is with a combination of lower capital and operating expenses plus productivity improvements. The tools to do that are the latest technology located in the cloud.

Traditional contact centers are what is known a premises-based. They’re either a department within your building or located in a facility by themselves. The technology is an in-house PBX phone system that manages all the agent phones and all the outside lines. Newer facilities may have an IP PBX phone system, which serves the same function but is easier to interface to computer systems so that agent’s screens can automatically display customer data in a “screen pop.”

PBX and IP PBX equipment is expensive to buy and costly to maintain. As these systems get older, technology passes them by and they don’t have all the latest features. It also gets harder to find replacement parts and even technicians who understand the nuances of that particular piece of equipment. Eventually, in frustration, capital is allocated to purchase a new system and the cycle starts all over.

The new alternative approach is outsourcing, but this time it’s the equipment not the agents. You keep the people you know and trust right where they are. What you unload is the infrastructure that doesn’t add value on its own. It’s just a tool, a means to an end. By using a cloud-based contact center solution all of the clap-trap moves “out there,” while you have the same or much better ability to serve your customers and sales prospects.

inContact is a trail-blazer in the new field of cloud-based contact centers. What they provide is infrastructure very much like cloud computing, except specialized for contact center operations. The core is a much more than a simple hosted PBX system. It performs that function, of course, to connect each agent telephone with a customer. That agent can be sitting at the desk they have now or pick up and move to another area, even be located at home where they join the operation on a part-time or full time basis. This alone gives you a flexibility to employ excellent prospects who can’t or won’t commute to your facility every day.

You probably realize that your current PBX system has a certain capacity. You have so many phones and so many phone lines. As soon as you get one too many callers, the system starts giving busy signals to the overflow. That means lost sales or irritated customers who are going to think twice about doing business with you again. The cloud system has an enormous capacity that you can tap on short notice. Do you have seasonal peaks in your business? No need to have extra capacity idling during the slow periods just so you can handle the rush. The cloud can scale up and down to meet your varying needs throughout the year.

Oh, but is the cloud as reliable as an in-house system? Probably more so. inContact offers a service level agreement of 99.99% availability through dual redundant data centers located in Dallas and Los Angeles. There are six layers of cloud security to ensure that your data stays private. Unlike other cloud service providers, inContact was a telecom carrier before they were a cloud company. That means they can also provide the highly reliable bandwidth you need to connect your agents to the system, with only one provider to deal with.

How much can you save? It varies, of course, but a recent study shows that total cost of ownership can be 30% less for a few as 50 seats and sliced by over 50% for a 500 seat contact center. Is that intriguing enough to get you interested in learning more and getting complete details on prices, cost savings and features? You may be shocked by what you are missing out on.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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