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Cloud contact
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Author: Heidi Vella

Exceptional customer service is a competitive differentiator. And cloud contact center solutions are quickly being considered one of the best technologies for a more personalized and agile customer service approach.

A cloud-based contact center is a modern alternative to traditional customer engagement infrastructure. It offers the latest in communications technology with no large upfront investments in hardware required. Benefits include seamlessly integrating multiple channels for an omnichannel service, as well as flexibility, scalability and security—all for a reasonable monthly price.

For small and medium-sized businesses, this can be a game-changer because it allows you to reach more customers and be more mobile—meaning customers can quickly connect with you from the comfort of their handheld devices. It can also help you differentiate yourself in crowded markets with personalized and creative customer service strategies.

Must-have cloud contact center features

At a high level, the key features of cloud contact center customer service solutions include multiple channels, data protection, on-demand scalability, remote agents and streamlined routing. These tools can personalize and improve your customer service operations.

Beyond these basic features, small and medium-sized businesses should look for a cloud contact center solution that is built specifically for their needs, prioritizing the following three qualities.

1. Affordability

Making considerable upfront capital investments can be difficult for small and medium-sized businesses, especially in uncertain times. However, automation and digital channels are proven to provide high-quality service at a fraction of the cost of a phone call.

Still, many businesses are missing this potential cost saving by not embracing digitization and automation for their customer service requirements, leaving teams struggling with fewer tools at their disposal. If you're not taking a digital multi-channel approach, you're potentially missing out on business opportunities and new revenue.

To support cost- and digitization-wary managers, look for a cloud contact center solution that offers versatile pay plans. This allows you to start small and expand at your own pace. With a pick-and-mix approach, you can easily switch or integrate services and capabilities that best fit your business at the time or work within your budget. Of course, both can change often.

Additionally, by keeping track of key performance indicators such as wait times, missed call rates, call volume and other metrics, it's easy to gain real-time perspective and immediate insights and assess whether the solution is working for your business. This can also help you train staff, provide guidance and adapt your customer service offering as necessary, without worrying about a hefty price tag or a major overhaul.

2. Mobile integration

Mobile integration—the assimilation into the enterprise infrastructure of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets—is more important for modern businesses than ever, as they are increasingly required to be flexible, agile and omnipresent.

These channels need to be integrated so that customers don't get stuck in silos and, therefore, can't easily jump from one communication device to another, resulting in repetition and fatigue. This can damage the customer experience and inflate the cost of the interaction for businesses.

The right cloud contact center solution will allow you to make mobile and multi-channel integration seamless to streamline customer contact and maximize transactions. Let back-end automation technologies do some of the work for you—the best cloud contact center solution provider will receive, identify and deal with incoming alerts and ongoing issues and notify you only when needed.

Finally, streamlined routing, which instantly queues and allocates calls to unify routing rules across channels and agents, allows you to take control of your calls as well as access call recordings, on-demand playbacks and reviews; host conferences; dial by extension; and much more.

3. Flexibility

Today, flexibility is paramount, and small and medium-sized businesses often have the advantage of being more agile than their larger competitors. The top contact center solutions can build on this advantage by providing agents with the latest technology to manage customer interactions wherever they need or want to work.

Call routing enables remote working. It also allows businesses to personalize and set custom business hours and worker shifts, so customers can stay in touch 24 hours a day and still receive the same level of service. Your agents can work from both Apple and Android devices, as well as apps or desktops, with access to useful features such as click-to-call, forward-to-phone and desktop notifications. They can take notes, leave tags and assign calls from any device. If your agents need to work remotely, they can still access the same information and technology safely and securely. All they need is an internet connection.

With a cloud-based platform, agents have simple access to a full view of each caller's information, so they can make the contact center customer experience more personal. These solutions can also integrate with customer relationship management databases, marketing tech solutions, chat platforms and e-commerce systems.

Furthermore, easy integration to existing systems and access to the latest technology and tools help businesses attract and retain talented local or remote agents who want to work in a modern environment with intuitive technology.

Customer service never sleeps, and there's always room for improvement. The cloud is ideal to support the technologies for modern customer service requirements because it's inherently agile and flexible; it provides quick and reliable network connections that can help you scale quickly while controlling costs. With their ease of use and many capabilities, cloud contact centers can power what differentiates you from your competitors: outstanding service.

Learn more about how Verizon's cloud contact center solution can propel your small to medium-sized business into the future.