The traditional focus of managing customer experience has always been the contact centre. This is understandable as the customer service process has always been at the heart of interactions between a brand and the customer, but the way that contact centres – and the processes they manage – are designed is evolving rapidly.
The traditional model was always a physical contact centre. It was an office full of people handling all those customer interactions. Any company that wanted to manage their customer interactions using a contact centre needed to build this entire facility in-house or contract with a customer service specialist and hire in that expertise – in both cases the physical contact centre was always needed to manage customer interactions.
But new options are emerging, and one is Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS). This builds on the cloud model developed by the IT industry and creates the opportunity to build a virtual contact centre that can deliver the same services as a traditional one, but with much more agility.
Virtual contact centres have been around for approximately twenty years now, but they were traditionally focused on small to medium-sized CX solutions – not anything at scale. This has all changed and the work-from-home experience during the Covid-19 pandemic has really thrown a spotlight on the opportunity to embrace CXaaS more seriously, even in large enterprises.
There are many advantages offered by CXaaS, but let us just consider a few here:
- Resilience: the distributed nature of a virtual contact centre means that you do not need a disaster recovery plan for your contact centre. It will not suffer from a power failure or earthquake because the agents are distributed across hundreds, or even thousands, or locations. This distributed network offers far more resilience than the reliance on a single office – as we found out during the pandemic when it was impossible for most people to go to work in offices.
- Flexibility – dynamic scaling: because the agents work remotely – usually from home – you can add as many as you need. You do not need to worry about finding physical space in the contact centre when you need to scale up for busy periods – such as Black Friday or when you launch a new product. Just ramp up the number of agents on the team and reduce them when the demand goes down.
- No infrastructure: you do not need to pay for all that physical infrastructure and technology in the contact centre – either directly or via a customer service supplier. Just pay for the services you use when you use them and switch all that capital expenditure into operating cost instead – great for the balance sheet and easier to control and visualise your business costs.
- Productivity: contact centres are usually high-attrition environments. People move on quickly because the agents often feel that they do not have much control over their work or their work environment. Once you start working with agents who are supporting a virtual contact centre you will find that they are more engaged and productive because they have more control over their hours and working location – it makes an enormous difference in the quality of service and the cost of managing all that employee turnover.
- Future proofing: you do not need to plan a digital transformation programme that takes three years to deliver and is then out of date, just embrace new services and technologies as they become available. Being freed from physical infrastructure can future proof your CX.
The contact centre is not dead, but it is evolving. Nobody buys physical software on a CD and then goes around the office installing a copy on every PC today – we pay for software as a service as and when we need to use it. Why doesn’t CX evolve in the same way?
It is already possible, and we have the case studies to prove it. Get in touch and I can describe how we have built flexible distributed contact centres that allow you to build CXaaS into your business model.
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