Cloud contact centers for Office 365 and Skype for Business are finally available, and now you can move to the cloud while still leveraging your existing Microsoft investments. Consider these five key benefits if you’re thinking of making the switch.
- Development and extensibility
Microsoft has a robust development platform that enables vendors to build on Skype for Business to add new features, while working seamlessly with it. This means that “native” contact center solutions for Skype for Business take advantage of the full functionality of unified communications and collaboration of O365. Native cloud contact centers for O365 generally don’t even require separate a desktop client application to be deployed, and anyone who is an O365 user can handle contact center interactions without further client-side installation – game changers for quick setup and for mobility.
- Multi-channel communications and collaboration
O365 and Skype for Business were built from the ground up to support multi-channel communications using the same underlying technology and user interface, and can easily accommodate new features such as web chat. Native contact centers use this powerful foundation to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Using these channels are increasingly important as communications have gone digital - voice interactions will be in the minority as compared to new channels (e.g., IM and web chat) by the end of 2016. By contrast, other products that are not native may require agents to use one software for calls, another for web chats, another for internal IMs, a separate desk phone for internal calling, and then something else for social media or video routing. Agents get pulled in many directions, making them less eﬀective at customer service. It also can lead to agents becoming overwhelmed, which can lead to high turnover.
- Ease of deployment and no upfront investment
O365 and cloud contact centers in general are easily deployed. There are no significant up-front costs or additional IT investments needed – instead, software is provisioned within a known hosted environment, ensuring a successful deployment. In addition, growth in your contact center can easily be accommodated with no additional investments in technology infrastructure. It’s becoming more important to enable people to take calls at multiple locations with several devices, especially for subject-matter experts who may not take calls full time.
- Mobility and disaster recovery
Microsoft put a great deal of eﬀort into seamless and secure external access in O365, so that users can take calls from outside the corporate network without compromising security for those communications. Contact center platforms built natively for Skype for Business leverage these investments in mobility and security without any additional eﬀort. With mobility optimized, there are huge implications for speedy user onboarding, disaster recovery, remote workers, and workers who move around or aren’t easily reachable on a desk phone.
- Significant cost savings
Companies can realize significant savings by moving their contact center to a cloud contact center for O365. Getting rid of expensive PBX infrastructure can provide quick budget relief and reduce maintenance resource costs. In addition, contact centers native to Skype for Business are often available at a lower price point than traditional call center products. This also means that you can deploy contact software where it would have been cost-prohibitive to do so prior, and so add intelligent routing and management tools to help desks, internal customer service operations and informal contact centers. In addition to direct cost savings, O365 contact center expenses can often be classified as operating expenditures instead of capital expenditures. O365 contact centers also can often accommodate monthly seat invoicing, enabling organizations to efficiently manage seasonality in customer service.