5 Advantages to Cloud Contact Center Software

CloudContactCenter1.jpgA cloud-based contact center is one of the best alternatives to maintaining a live or on-premise call center. Through a cloud-based contact center, organizations can connect with their current and prospective clients with very limited overhead, paying for the call center time as a service. In this post, we examine the five biggest advantages cloud contact center software has over traditional solutions.

1. Cloud Contact Centers Are Cost Effective

Rather than having to pay for space, employees, and equipment, companies can instead pay-as-they-go with a cloud contact center. This gives the organization a significant amount of flexibility, as it can decide to alter its services whenever it needs to.

2. Cloud Contact Center Solutions Can Quickly Scale

Because there's no investment in infrastructure, a cloud center solution can be scaled up to a company's needs quickly -- and without any tremendous cost to the business. Many companies fail when they are starting to expand because they need to invest in new equipment and labor. A contact center doesn't require this investment.

3. Cloud Contact Center Solutions Are Global

A cloud center solution can reach out to customers throughout the globe. This is critical for organizations that may have worldwide reach. Customer support can be available in any time zone and for any customer, thereby improving customer satisfaction and retention.

4. Cloud Contact Center Solutions Can Customize Themselves

Cloud contact center software can tailor itself to specific customers, by integrating itself into customer relationship management suites and directing employees as needed. This ensures a better experience for the customer; their prior history and needs will be remembered by the contact center. Interactive Intelligence, for example, can use machine learning and algorithms to make predictions.

5. Cloud Contact Centers Manage More Than Just Contacts

A cloud contact center can collect detailed information about customers -- ranging from demographic information to the size and frequency of their purchases. This information can then be used by a company to fine-tune their processes and their sales. Advanced cloud contact software can integrate directly with ERP and CRM solutions, creating a complete ecosystem through which the customer can be reliably taken care of.

Cloud contact centers -- and the software solutions used to manage them -- are excellent ways for a business to expand its reach without a significant investment in new technology or employees. For more information about the various benefits of cloud contact centers, contact CWPS today.

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Collaboration Technology Trends: A Look at the Modern Meeting Room

collaboration_technology_trends.jpgTeamwork is the key to any successful enterprise. The easier your employees find it to complete their collaborative projects, the more smoothly your company will run. Collaborative technology is likewise incredibly important -- and there have been great strides made in just the last few years.

Here are just a few of the ways in which the modern meeting room has changed.

Employees now maintain multiple points of contact. In particular, email, instant messaging, and texting are all being used throughout the office -- often in lieu of phone calls. This wide variety of options makes it easier for employees to get the responses they need when they need them.

via GIPHY

Seamless connectivity is the ultimate goal of many collaborative platforms. Employees are now able to see each other working on documents, view changes in real-time, and revert back to their original copies as needed. This makes collaboration far more intuitive and easy to manage, even amongst larger teams.

Cloud-based, unified communications platforms are becoming more popular -- and more powerful. All-in-one systems such as PureCloud Communicate and PureCloud Collaborate are making it easier for employees to manage all of their communications through a single portal. This includes not only communications with other employees, but with clients as well.

Web conference rooms are now being developed to encompass entire meeting spaces. Rather than having web meetings on-the-go, many businesses are creating a single "web room" that is rigged up for web and video conferencing. This makes the process of connecting much easier.

Real-time communication is becoming much easier. Employees will soon  be able to see and talk to their colleagues as easily as sending an instant message, as bandwidth has improved and video calling features have become easier to manage.

The "web meeting" has gotten a lot bigger. Cisco Spark's WebEx Meeting Center is able to host meetings of nearly two hundred individuals, with advanced features such as video recording and multiple VoIP options. This allows for better, more direct collaboration among larger groups.

Many companies are now moving towards a "virtual office." With as many global workers as there are now, virtual office spaces have become the most affordable method of doing business. Companies such as 8X8 provide virtual offices and virtual contact centers, to connect workers from anywhere in the world.

All of these trends are often successfully managed by all-in-one, consolidated platforms; after all, collaboration is best managed through a central location.

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Hosted VoIP vs On-Premise VoIP: Which is Right for Your Business?

Switching to VoIP is a sensible decision for many companies: compared to more conventional telecommunications solutions, VoIP is cost-effective, customizable and scalable. But once you've decided that your company is going to move towards VoIP technology, you still have to decide whether you want a hosted VoIP solution or an on-premise VoIP solution. Neither is inherently better than the other; it all depends on your company's needs and budget.

Desired Features: What Do You Need Now?

Though hosted VoIP solutions can be extensively programmed and customized, they usually do not offer as many features as on-premise solutions. For companies that rely on a complex telecommunications network, an on-premise VoIP may be required. For companies that only use relatively basic telecommunications features, a hosted VoIP service may be a better fit.

Scalability: What Will You Need in the Future?

Any telecommunications system is an investment. For companies who are interested in scaling upwards in the near future, a hosted VoIP service often offers an easier path. A hosted VoIP solution can be upgraded to an on-premise solution at any time and can have additional lines and features added as desired. An on-premise VoIP solution tailored to your company's current needs might have to undergo significant physical upgrades to handle scaling upwards.

Infrastructure: What Can You Support?

If your existing infrastructure is hosted on a PBX or you want to keep existing telecommunications solutions, an on-premise VoIP service could work for you even if it wouldn't make sense to install it from scratch. A VoIP telecommunications company can review your existing technology to determine whether it could be integrated into a VoIP system.

Cost: What Is Your Budget?

Naturally, hosted VoIP solutions are generally quite a bit less expensive than on-premise VoIP services. There is usually a low or no upfront cost to a hosted VoIP solution and the rest of the service is paid for through a low monthly fee. On-premise VoIP solutions require installation and extensive maintenance, which can require a much larger budget.

A hosted VoIP solution is more affordable and easier to manage and maintain, but it may not be suitable for businesses that require a high capacity or extensively customized solutions. An on-premise VoIP solution is usually more expensive and requires some expertise to manage and maintain, but it offers more in terms of raw power and control. For smaller companies, a hosted VoIP service is usually preferable. Larger enterprises may require on-premise VoIP.

No matter which solution you choose, hosted or on-premise VOIP, you need to consider who will be managing it. Keep in mind that with both solutions, monitoring and management can be handled by an experienced external partner.

Image Source: Roland Tanglao

Don't Gulp, SIP!

don't_gulp_sipBy Shannon Hitchens

These days there seems to be a lot of interest surrounding SIP Trunks. SIP or Session Initiated Protocol has become the standard call control protocol for VoIP. Without customers even being aware of it, many carriers are using SIP Trunks for voice calls. If you have a Dynamically Integrated T-1(s) with both voice and data or Internet, your carrier is likely delivering your voice calls as SIP. The carriers typically install an Integrated Access Device (IAD) or ‘gateway’ that converts the SIP Trunks to a conventional PRI-T1 interface for traditional/legacy PBX’s. The latest innovation in voice communications is telephone systems that accept SIP Trunks directly or natively. This eliminates the need (and sometimes expense) of an IAD and removes a point of failure.

Because SIP is VoIP, Quality of Service (QoS) should be of great concern to any customer considering SIP Trunks. For most customers, QoS is probably assumed and should therefore be a requirement. Customers should be leery of start-up or emerging carriers offering SIP Trunks over the public Internet. The Internet offers no QoS and provides absolutely no guaranteed voice quality.

There is really just two advantages with SIP Trunks, besides the obvious advantage of being packetized voice (VoIP). The first is that a carrier can deliver more simultaneous calls in a single T-1 (1.544MB) than a conventional or standard voice T-1 (24 calls or 23 calls with a PRI-T1). The second is that most carriers offer non-geographically dependent telephone service with SIP Trunks. In other words, a San Francisco telephone number can be routed to a telephone system located in Washington, DC for no additional per minute charges.

There is one more advantage that is available when using a Cisco Unified Communications Manager as your telephone system. Cisco now offers redundant active-standby voice gateways/routers when using their ISR G2 Routers (2900/3900 series). This allows a standby router to take over for a failed active router, assume its IP identity and continue processing calls. This active-standby arrangement only works with IP based services, such as SIP Trunks.

There’s much more to SIP Trunks than I can discuss here. I just provided you the highlights. Do you think your company can benefit from SIP Trunks? Give it a try. You may want to consider SIP Trunks as an additional service offering along with your existing conventional PRI-T1 service. Contact the experts at CWPS for more information.

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