Selecting new customer service call center software is a critical undertaking that will have CX implications for many years to come. Call centers are at the heart of delivering customer service experiences that can turn customers into loyal brand advocates, and they need the right technology to do this.

Customer service interactions can leave a lasting impression on customers and impact whether they will continue doing business with a brand. How strong is the connection between support experiences and loyalty? Our recent research revealed that in most cases it only takes two negative interactions for customers to abandon a brand.[i]

With the margin of error so slim, contact centers need to use industry-leading customer service call center software that will help them meet the high expectations of today's digital consumers. They also need to choose cloud, not premise-based.

What does it mean for customer service call center software to be in the cloud?

Cloud computing enables organizations to easily access on-demand computing services - such as software, development environments, and storage - through the internet. In our personal lives, most of us use cloud services every day. For example, photos we take with our smartphones are often stored in the cloud, freeing up space on our devices while also providing easy access to our pictures.

Cloud customer service call center software provides similar convenience and benefits, but on a larger scale. Cloud software vendors host their solutions on their own servers and their clients access them through a browser, similar to how you might access YouTube or from your laptop.

This model means contact center employees can be located anywhere, making cloud applications an ideal solution for work from home and hybrid work models.

An arrangement with a cloud vendor (commonly called Software as a Service or SaaS) also puts the onus on call center software providers to maintain the hardware, keep their software on the most current version, safeguard data, and constantly add innovative features.

Comparing this to premise-based solutions - where contact centers have to purchase and manage servers, install patches and updates, keep customer data safe from hackers, and employ an IT team to maintain it all - makes it pretty easy to see the advantages of using the cloud. But what do other contact centers think of cloud customer service platforms?

Leading companies are voting for the cloud with their wallets

Businesses have been moving their enterprise applications to the cloud for a number of years, and this includes customer service call center software. In fact, the cloud contact center software market, according to one forecast, is projected to grow to USD 45.5 billion by 2030, representing a very healthy 24.8% compound annual growth rate.[ii]

This growth is likely due to the many benefits of the cloud previously discussed, but we found the pandemic also gave it a hefty nudge. Our research revealed that 66% of call centers that weren't using the cloud planned to fast track moving to the cloud as a result of the pandemic.[iii]

The fact that users of cloud customer service call center software can be located anywhere is essential for business continuity and allowed many organizations to continue serving customers despite the pandemic lock downs.

Choosing the cloud also means you're choosing its many capabilities and benefits

When you choose cloud, not premise-based solutions, you gain a wealth of capabilities, and you're essentially deciding to:

Choose scalability, not inflexibility

When you choose a cloud solution, scaling up and down is seamless and easy. Typically, you just need to tell the vendor you need more seats, and they can increase your capacity within hours, or even minutes. This ability to easily scale is particularly attractive to businesses with seasonal volume fluctuations, but it also becomes vital when natural disasters, sales, or other events unexpectedly drive up volume.

Compare this to inflexible on-premises software that relies on a lengthy software licensing process to add capacity. We've had new clients whose legacy systems gave customers busy signals or disconnected them when they reached the limits of their capacity. This scenario can create lost revenue and provides a terrible customer experience.

Choose vendor supported hardware, not the need to replace servers every 3-5 years

Cloud vendors are responsible for the hardware their software runs on. This means they purchase, maintain, and replace servers and other equipment. Besides reducing IT overhead, this makes your costs more predictable by, for example, eliminating the need to buy a new server when the current one unexpectedly blows up.

In contrast, on-premises software requires organizations to purchase production as well as redundant servers in case of hardware failure. This means businesses need to hire IT staff to keep the servers up and running, and capitalize the hardware costs which means carrying a depreciation expense for several years.

Choose vendor supported software, not time and resource intensive upgrades and patches

Has your business ever delayed applying several releases to your legacy systems because you just knew something would break and take your contact center down? You don't feel that pain with cloud-based solutions.

When customer service call center software is in the cloud, the vendor keeps it on the latest release, applies patches, and does all the related testing. This brings peace of mind to clients that they always have access to the latest innovations and that they won't inadvertently bring their contact center down when they apply the latest update.

Supporting premise-based solutions, on the other hand, can be a little nerve wracking and somewhat resource intensive. It may require a system administrator to maintain the software, a separate testing environment, and staff to fully test any software updates.

Choose flexible pricing, not rigid software license costs

One of the many appealing things about entering into a cloud SaaS agreement is its flexible pricing structure. The best cloud call center software providers only charge you for what you actually use. For example, if you typically use 100 agent seats throughout the year, but scale up to 140 for two weeks during the holiday rush, you'll see a brief increase in charges during the holidays and then billing will decrease as volumes and staffing levels get back to normal.

Pricing for premise-based software isn't always so flexible. You may be required to buy 140 licenses to cover your peak, and then have 40 unused licenses on your hands the rest of the year. This difference between cloud and premise-based software often makes cloud solutions the cheaper option.

Choose innovation, not the same old same old 

Industry-leading cloud customer service software enables businesses to take CX to the next level because of its innovative features and capabilities. The software market is highly competitive and software vendors need to continuously innovate in order to stay relevant and grab market share. Their software is constantly updated with new, innovative functionality, and because clients are always using the latest release, they benefit from this innovation.

But the innovation doesn't stop with the core software. The best cloud solutions come with pre-built integrations for top CRM applications. They also have a multitude of open APIs so that businesses can easily connect them with other solutions, such as virtual agents and mobile apps. And if you don't have the development expertise in-house, leading cloud software vendors have thriving development communities you can outsource the work to.

Using innovative customer service call center software enables businesses to provide innovative and satisfying customer and agent experiences and is exponentially better than the same old same old you often get with premise-based solutions.

Choose world class data security, not sleepless nights worrying about data breeches 

People sometimes express concerns about the security of cloud call center solutions. While businesses should worry about keeping their customer and business data safe, they shouldn't worry that a leading cloud vendor won't keep their information secure. Cloud customer service applications can be as safe, if not safer, than on-premises software.

A cloud vendor's reputation and viability depend on providing secure environments for their clients. A software provider with a history of data breaches would quickly go out of business. As such, top vendors devote large teams of security specialists to ensure their software and environments are hacker-proof.

Additionally, cloud software vendors that work across industries typically must acquire certifications such as HIPAA, PCI, and FedRAMP. This means their security practices have been thoroughly scrutinized by multiple security experts. Knowing that a provider and their software have these certifications should give their clients peace of mind that their data is properly safeguarded.

In contrast, much of the security of premise-based software is on the call center's shoulders. The software may have been developed using data security best practices, but the business still needs to safeguard their technical infrastructure from hackers. Smaller organizations often don't have internal resources with deep security expertise, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches, and possibly leading to some sleepless nights for executives.

Learn more about why you should choose cloud, not premise-based, for your new customer service call center software

When choosing new software, it's important to find a solution that works for your customers, employees, and business. To help you understand more about why you should choose the cloud, check out these resources:

Contact center cloud migration

Moving to the Cloud is Imperative for the Contact Center – The Latest Expert Analysis

Inform Your Decision to Move to Cloud Contact Center Technology – Latest Analysis from Omdia

The Inner Circle Guide to Cloud-Based Contact Center Solutions - US Edition

Webinar: Cloud Contact Center Solutions: Building a Business Case

Contact center open cloud platform - CXone

[i] NICE: 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report (2022)

[ii] Globe News Wire: Cloud Based Contact Center Market Projected to Surpass USD 45.5 Billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 24.8% - Report by Market Research Future (MRFR) (2022)

[iii] NICE: 2020 Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark (2020)

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