By Donna Fluss, founder and President of DMG Consulting LLC Prospects looking for a contact center solution, be it an inbound automatic call distributor (ACD) or an outbound dialer, should undertake a classic selection process. At a high level, this includes defining business needs, drafting a request for proposal (RFP) document, identifying vendors that meet these needs, issuing the RFP, selecting an ideal partner, and negotiating the best possible deal. The market is crowded, and end users have many choices. The first major decision that a company needs to make when selecting a new contact center solution is whether to look at on-premise or cloud-based offerings. There's been so much written about cloud-based solutions that it's hard to differentiate between reality and hype. So I'm going to set the record straight. There are four primary reasons why small and mid-sized organizations should consider cloud-based contact center solutions:
1. You can acquire advanced contact center applications and functionality with no capital investment, and pay only for what you use. Equally as important, you can scale your environment up and down to meet the changing needs of your business, and still pay only for what you use.
2. You can get an ACD or dialer that is fully integrated with optional departmental management and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, even if you elect not to use all of the available modules.
3. You can start with basic routing and queuing (ACD), dialing or blended functionality, and then add on applications such as an interactive voice response system (IVR), computer telephony integration (CTI, for screen-pop), advanced recording, quality assurance, workforce management, surveying, and campaign management, as you need them.
4. The right cloud-based ACD or dialer will have a 3- to 6-month return on investment. The return will depend on how you use the application. There are some sales or collections organizations that have realized a payback in less than one month.
There are many reasons why companies, particularly small and mid-sized organizations, are adopting cloud-based ACDs, dialers, IVRs and other applications. One of the most important is the ease of use for operations and management. In the cloud, you get the power of the ACD and dialer without the headaches of having to set up, maintain and update the hardware and software. But please don't be deceived. It's not going to be simple to set up a feature-rich contact center operating environment. However, a cloud-based application will streamline the process by allowing you to concentrate on the business aspects of the solution instead of having to manage the underlying technology. And if you pick the right vendor, their staff will help you get started realizing the benefits, as these vendors understand that they won't get paid if you don't achieve your goals.