The contact center, like so much else in enterprise IT, is headed for the cloud—and to CCaaS.
A Metrigy survey of 700 global organizations shows that since the pandemic started, 60 per cent have adopted single- or multi-tenant cloud-based contact center technology. A smaller Deloitte poll of 135 contact center organizations indicates a similar COVID-hastened journey to cloud: 75 per cent have either already invested in CCaaS (contact center-as-a-service) or plan to start doing so now.
Many contact center operations cite similar reasons for moving to cloud, including flexibility, scalability, lower operating costs and greater ease in adding new CX (customer experience) channels and enhancement tools like AI. The need to enable remote or hybrid work for contact agents during the pandemic has also made CCaaS an appealing option.
Here’s a checklist of six best practices to ensure a smooth CCaaS migration at any enterprise organization.
1. Don’t just move—improve
Sure, you could simply just take the contact center operations you already have and move them to the cloud. But why not make your migration an opportunity to improve things while you’re at it?
Take stock of the functions and workflows in your contact center as they are now, then consider how to make them better. The starting point is always customer experience, of course, and the pandemic has increased customers’ desire to be served in various digital channels. Should you add new channels like self-service, social or virtual assistance? Should you enhance CX by adding AI-based tools like speech analytics?
Map out how your customers’ channel patterns have changed during the pandemic to discover which features and channels they prefer now. Then find out how your CCaaS migration plans would affect your ability to deploy those things, or whether your prospective CCaaS provider offers them as part of an integrated solution.
2. Think about EX, not just CX
Didn’t we just talk about the importance of CX in your CCaaS migration? Yes. But just as the customer experience has changed dramatically during the pandemic, so has the employee experience (EX).
The most obvious change to EX is the increased prevalence of remote and hybrid work. Think about how migrating to CCaaS will affect EX for your contact center agents in terms of:
- collaboration features they need for remote and hybrid work
- how seamlessly those collaboration features can be integrated in the cloud
- how a CCaaS solution can help supervisors provide more real-time support and intervention for remote/WFH contact center agents when they need it
- how CCaaS can give contact center managers more visibility into remote staff activities for productivity, training and support purposes
3. Take training seriously
Don’t underestimate how much training your contact center agents may need during or after a CCaaS migration. Moving to cloud could mean new apps, hardware and software, as well as adjustments to workflows and procedures.
Independent consultant Melissa Swartz has helped several clients with CCaaS migrations, and in a column for No Jitter, she recommends staggering the process so agents can get up to speed on each major change before moving onto the next phase.
If you’ve engaged a vendor to procure a CCaaS solution, ask if they provide any training for contact center agents during the testing or deployment phase of migration.
4. Prioritize security
According to a report by Calabrio, the top barrier to CCaaS migration is fear of data loss. In fact, Calabrio research suggests contact centers are two times more worried about data loss while migrating to the cloud than they are about data security in the cloud.
In a poll for Aptum’s 2022 Cloud Impact Study, enterprises cited the biggest challenges of cloud computing (that’s cloud overall, not just CCaaS specifically) as:
- lack of a clear mechanism to respond to threats across all cloud environments
- lack of access to manage multiple cloud environments
- lack of visibility into all cloud environments through a single portal
That’s food for thought if your CCaaS migration involves multiple cloud vendors or a hybrid cloud setup. Since all three of the issues above could potentially affect CCaaS security, consider how much visibility, access and control your CCaaS model or provider(s) will give you in terms of tracking threats and responding to them in a timely fashion.
Don’t make security an afterthought in the migration process. Make it a top priority at the start and embed it throughout the CCaaS journey so thorny issues don’t crop up at the eleventh hour.
5. Ensure integration and compatibility
Don’t just think about new CCaaS apps integrating with the legacy systems and apps at your contact center office. If your agents are doing remote and hybrid work, make sure your entire CCaaS system is compatible with the hardware and software they use to work remotely from home, including headsets.
If you build your CCaaS system on a platform that’s open enough to use several APIs, it will work with various third-party apps and even allow you to create or customize your own. In TechTarget, Sheila McGee-Smith, principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, recommends three ways to ensure app integration:
- choose low-code/no-code API options for your CCaaS apps or platform
- after migration, use CPaaS (communications-platform-as-a-service) to integrate CCaaS with your legacy contact center apps using APIs
- use IPaaS (integration-platform-as-a-service) to simultaneously re-integrate legacy data and apps with your new CCaaS environment during migration
6. Be compliant
Since data sovereignty rules vary by jurisdiction and industry, investigate where your customer data will be analyzed and stored in any prospective CCaaS environment, especially if your CCaaS model features multiple providers, hybrid cloud or a multi-cloud infrastructure.