The growth of cloud customer service software has not only made communication simpler but also cost-effective. As a result, many companies are coming forward and embracing this new technology. With flexibility and scalability at the offering, migration to the cloud seems essential to manage the business in an efficient manner.
In the race to keep pace with changing trends in the market and to add the advantages of the cloud to the company, many businesses tend to take migration to hosted customer service help desk software lightly. However, this can have major repercussions on the business in the long run. It is vital that you look into all aspects and realize how each feature can have an impact on the overall revenue of the corporation.
It is important to remember that bringing a web-based application into the organization requires careful planning to ensure that all the integrations challenges are identified and that the company is prepared to face these obstacles with ease. Here are a few things to remember before you transfer your business completely to the cloud and experience the magic of automation and virtualization.
1. Goals of the Company
• Employing a web-based customer service software for a small business is a large decision. It needs to be taken only after a complete consideration of the goals, needs, and requirements of the company. While flexibility and work-from-home are one of the most important features of the application, it is not necessary that they are essential or required for the growth of your organization.
• Before making the migration, it is vital that you step back and evaluate the move. Just because the entire world is shifting to the cloud, does not imply that it is a safe decision for the corporation. Do not make the purchase based on the hype in the market.
• It is essential that you assess the existing infrastructure as well as the objectives of the organization before making the transition. Do you have a private cloud and want to shift to public now? Does your existing outbound telemarketing software license allow you to be hosted? Is this transition necessary to ward off the present as well as potential competitors?
• Is your IT team well-equipped to adjust with the changes? Is there any other way to get more agents on board? Are you making the transition to reduce the costs of the company or the workload on your callers? Will my existing consumers be benefited by shifting to the cloud model? When you are able to answer these questions without any problems, you will be able to understand if the decision of transferring is a right one or not.
• Having a 24/7 customer service software not only refers to virtualization of the desks but also deals with centralization and automation of major tasks of the company. As a result, it is vital that your people are ready to embrace the change and walk with the technology.
2. Involve all the Stakeholders
• It is essential that you treat the migration as a capital project and involve all the key personnel of the company. More than often the higher staff members decide the transfer and the application without informing or paying any heed to the representatives.
• However, it is important to understand that the callers are those who utilize the application mostly and it is imperative to include them in the selection and transferring decision as this choice affects their work style as well. The executives can also help you to develop greater insight into which program is best suited for the company.
• A majority of the times the organizations become over confident and they think that they can make the choice on their own without any special guidance. It is essential that you include the IT specialist and other subject matters experts like legal and contractual specialists who can help in making the migration a smooth process. Without having relevant expertise on the matter at the negotiation table, the company may not be able to identify the loopholes in the agreement and the other effects that the hosted application can have on the business.
3. Communicate with the Supplier
• Before you start transiting to a new solution, it is essential that you talk to the customer service software companies and compare the features that every vendor provides. Pick up a provider after checking his credibility in the market. Many of them also give the organization a chance to take up the free trial so that they can better understand the functionalities of the cloud-based outbound call center software.
• Vendors must have solid business models and should have a good record in the industry. The roadmaps and expansions plans of the suppliers must also be given importance before choosing the provider. Look out if they have all the features that your business needs.
• Also, ensure that you pick a supplier who has the experience of your industry and is a pioneer in your field of operations. This will not only make your business activities simpler but will also help in developing greater communication between both the parties.
• Make your choice only after you are satisfied with the program. Discuss any concerns that you have about the migration and its after-effects with your provider. If they are able to alleviate those issues without any troubles, this must be taken as a positive sign. Look at the assurances given by the vendor on how the business will progress ahead in the cloud environment.
4. Security Concerns
• Once the cloud supplier is selected, it is essential that you address the issue of security as well. For starters, it is vital that you determine how the tools and the cloud vendor will interact with the confidential data of your organization. All of the traffic that travels between the enterprise and the supplier will travel over the internet and should be safe.
• Essential and confidential information like credit card information, purchaser’s previous interactions as well as social security numbers can be under high risk. The data is vulnerable not only in storage but also during the transfer.
• Corporations should ensure that all the information always travels through a secure channel and everything is encrypted and authenticated using the industry standard protocols and necessary firewalls. It is important that you lay special focus on the sensitivity of the data stored in the web-based applications.
• It is essential that you choose those customer service software providers that will help you in providing a secure lifecycle management of the buyers’ information. Right from the first interaction to the erasure of the records; ensure that everything happens in a safe and a secure environment.
• Keeps a check on who has the access and how the data is being managed. Get specifics about how the information is kept safe from your other competitors who utilize the services of the same supplier.
• Also, have clarity on the disaster management capability of the provider. A lot of crucial information is stored in the database of the company and once lost, it can cause great damage to the organization. Look out for what the backup plan that they have in mind is and how feasible it is.
• Also, look at the storage that is provided. The memory to retain the information usually depends on the performance and the price per gigabyte. Not all cloud applications have the same storage. Check what suits your needs the best.
5. Internet Bandwidth
• This is usually the most under looked aspect in cloud migration. The business heads need to understand that by the virtue of selecting a web-based solution for the company, the back-end IT systems and all the desktops will run only when there is a fast and reliable internet facility provided. While in premise-based applications, all the hardware was undertaken by a single provider, it cannot be the case in hosted applications.
• In case you are planning to have work-from-home agents for your organization, it is essential that they have a speedy network. You would not want the interaction to stop just because the internet failed. The application usage, e-mail, web browsing, lead generation, all require internet. Calculate the monthly usage. The bandwidth depends on the number of users, location as well as the nature of work.
• It is always wise to have an alternative route to all the information as well. Even the most trusted networks can go down in unavoidable circumstances. Have another source at hand that can provide you bandwidth ideally from some other cable in such cases. However, this will carry extra cost too. In cases of a flexible workforce, remember to ask your agents to choose a reliable and fast source for internet.
6. Service Level Agreement
• It is vital to understand that the cloud providers are third party vendors. Unless there is a proper coordination and communication between both the parties, the partnership will not produce results. It is essential that you allocate responsibilities and have accountability for every action. Ensure that there is transparency and clear channels of communication.
• More than often, the company thinks that the supplier is taking care of a certain task whereas the provider assumes that it does not fall under the contract. This risk is amplified in the case of outsourced parties or multiple vendors. Thereby, it is essential that you chalk out the required service level agreements right at the start before you migrate.
• Give special emphasis to maintenance and technical issues. You would not want your provider to give up on you when you are in the middle of a technical crisis. Uptime matters a lot when your entire business is on the cloud. You would not want your website or your representatives to go offline when they are wanted by the purchasers. Discuss how they handle the outages and the resolution that they provide under such circumstances.
7. Performance, Scalability, and Compatibility
• Investing in a customer service software is not an easy task. Therefore, it must be done with careful consideration and enough planning. Before migrating to the web-based platform, it is vital that you have clarity with respect to the future of your own organization. The biggest advantage of having a hosted application is that it has greater ability to meet the needs of the business when chosen correctly.
• The solution must be able to grow with you and should not hinder your expansion opportunities. In case you plan to bring more verticals under your domain in the future, make sure that the program accommodates it without any additional expenses or need for another software. The corporation also needs to make sure that the internal standards of the company and the providers’ standards are in sync with each other. This includes both the technical as well as non-technical aspects.
• It is also important that the program that you choose is compatible with the multiple devices that are a part of your company. This is especially true for organizations that allow the Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) culture. If the application does not allow hassle free exchange of data between two kinds of machinery, it is going to be problematic for the company. It can also cause an issue when there is a switch of platforms. If you decide to change your device you need to make sure that the data compiled is compatible with the new device format.
• The performance level of the program must also be closely monitored. In the stressed environment of the call-centers, you will not want something that times out or runs at a slow pace.
8. Track the Expenses
• A majority of the companies are today embracing best customer service software only because of the cost advantages. It is essential that you know how much the cloud is going to cost you and how much difference will it bring in the overall budget of the corporation.
• The total of cost of ownership might include multiple things like license fees, consulting fees, service fees, outsourcing expenses as well as infrastructural charges in case the previous devices are not compatible with the customer service software features. Only after you have looked at all these aspects, will you be able to choose an application with the desired rate of functionality and at best price.
• Determine whether you will like a monthly rental or per seat model of payment. While selecting the plan, it is essential that you understand all aspects covered in the rental and what is extra.
• The pay-per-use model allows you to shell out only on the network for the productive and required agents. Most of the times, the vendors allow the management to have the liberty to place or remove the extra seats as and when needed.
• As a result, you can easily scale up and down with a few clicks right from your own dashboard. While this looks like an ease of management, this can soon turn confusing for the staff members if they do not keep a proper tab on their every move.
• It can be very easy for you to forget when you had scaled up or pulled the seats down. As a result, the expenses that are handed over to you at the month end might seem completely unexpected. This is the reason why you need to check over each of your movement when operating in the cloud environment.
• Many companies leave the accounts and expenses on the supplier. However, having your own statement of account will be of no harm. This will not only help you develop a greater clarity on how cost effective the contact center software solutions are but will also help you in strategic planning of your IT budget by identifying the common trends in your monthly expenses.
The journey of moving from the traditional set-up to web-based may be a terrain that is previously untraveled by your organization, but the business gains will be worth the effort when done in a strategic and thoughtful manner. Doing a thorough customer software service comparison, making the right move and getting the best workforce will help you to take your company to new heights of success.