It's easy, in this day and age, to go at it alone when implementing new communications technology in your business. But the landscape is filled with companies shouting about how they all have the greatest solution to every challenge. And you don't always have the time to become a world-class expert in order to make the best decision.
When your technology challenge is important and your priorities are pulled in several directions, it can actually make more sense to call in outside help than it does to try and function without it.
When Should I Turn to Outsourced Technology Help?
You want to save time. If your current IT department is stretched to the limit and hiring more staff is out of the question, outsourced technology help can be just what the doctor ordered. Since it's more of an operational expense than a capital expense—depending on how you record these expenses—hiring a service provider to solve a technology problem can be easier to get past budgeting issues than hiring employees or *buying* new systems.
You want a specialist. Your IT department takes care of all the usual issues, but what if you want to ramp up your IT security? Detailing the IT department to also handle security may not only spread them thin, but they may be a bit too generalist to take care of something with so many subtle internal issues. Hiring help can allow for focus on one specific part of the operation.
You want the very latest. One of the key advantages of hiring a specialist is that they have to keep up with the latest developments in a field. It's a key competitive advantage, after all, and you can take advantage of that for yourself.
You want flexibility. Outsourcing technology help is not a one-size-fits-all operation. Sometimes you need someone in the office full-time. Sometimes you only need a few questions answered. Some providers, like managed service providers (MSPs), can offer more consultative technology assistance when you just need some insight help.
Where to Go to Get the Best in Outsourced Technology Help
When you're ready for the best in outsourced technology help, reach out to us at City Communications. As an MSP ourselves, we can provide both experience and expertise on a wide range of topics. We'll help keep you in the game, no matter what your reason for calling in help may be. So just drop us a line when you're ready for that little extra help in keeping your operations up and running.
As your business grows, you are likely to encounter a point where it’s necessary to upgrade your communications technology. A contact center with 100 agents needs a different set of features and infrastructure than one with 1,000 or more agents. From access to reporting functions to offering high-performance call quality, many contact centers are finding that a cloud phone system meets the needs of a growing enterprise.
Why not simply upgrade the legacy system? If you’re considering an upgrade, you might begin with talking with your current phone branch exchange (PBX) provider about adding features and users to make your legacy system fit your growing needs. You might want to add the routing of digital channels (like email, chat, or text messages) or add a workforce management system that helps you better manage agents.
The cost of upgrading your legacy PBX system may surprise you. For a contact center with only 100 agents, the cost could be more than $300,000. What seems like a simple upgrade is not just tacking on a few hardware elements, it can actually require a complete replacement of your system; new hardware, software, handsets, features, peripheral systems, and service agreements. It’s not a simple upgrade.
In addition to the cost of the upgrade, you’ll also need to factor in time to train your staff on new features and account for the cost of some disruption to your operations.
Consider migrating to a cloud phone system. The cost of upgrading your legacy system will quickly expand your consideration to a cloud phone system. There are several reasons why a cloud phone system may prove a preferable option for your contact center:
Minimal implementation cost: The cost of migrating to a cloud phone system is minimal. Your provider may be able to integrate your current desk phones into the new system, and the provider also handles all upgrades and maintenance. You then pay for service as a monthly subscription, so you can expect consistency in your communications cost.
Easy scalability: As your enterprise grows, a cloud phone system allows you to add users in a manner of seconds. You’ll always use exactly the number of users you need, and a cloud phone system allows you to spin up more users due to seasonality or a promotion.
In addition, there’s great value in being able to count on a cloud phone system meeting your needs in the future. Even if you’re a 100-agent contact center planning to become a 500-agent contact center, you can look ahead and plan for doubling that goal without any concern related to investing in new hardware, needing to train employees on a new system, or disruption in your business processes during an implementation. A cloud phone system grows with you.
Supporting mobility: When you use a cloud phone system, your employees are able to access communications tools no matter where they are, as long as they have a valid log-in and internet connectivity. There’s no need to run wires to an employee’s home or arrange for equipment to be delivered. It’s all available through the cloud.
To learn more about what a switch to a cloud phone system could do for your contact center, contact us at City Communications. We help you leverage the best technology for your needs without busting your IT budget. We look forward to talking with you.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) sometimes suffers from a bad rap. Fear mongers will have you believe that the technology will take jobs from human workers or, at worst, further isolate human beings from each other. Yet, AI also offers some of the exciting new possibilities in the ways we communicate and offer service to our customers. The combination of AI in contact centers, along with cloud-based delivery of the technology, is producing new value for businesses trying to understand how AI can help them evolve.
What Value is AI in Contact Centers Bringing Its Users?
Artificial Intelligence (the ability for a computer system to *think* for itself, to interact with a human being more naturally (for us), and learn from its experience to become, well, more intelligent) is moving out of the conceptual phase and into the real world. In contact centers, we're seeing several new options that offer real-world benefits.
Sentiment and keyword detection. Word choice, tone of voice, and more can help determine a caller's emotional state. AI can spot these points well, listening specifically for keywords and changes in tone that indicate emotional states. Having a second pair of ears—even artificial ones—can better help spot an opportunity when it emerges. Additionally, the keyword detection can make sure the agent is presenting the right matter to the caller.
Improved IVR. Improved interactive voice response (IVR) systems, thanks to AI in contact centers, are handling interactions that satisfy customers without the need for human agents. They are also connecting callers to the best possible person in your company to serve the customer's needs. With calls getting routed to the right place the first time, callers are happier that they have fewer hoops to jump through, while contact center staff can take care of problems directly. First-call resolution becomes par for the course rather than a major achievement.
AI as staff. The growth of chatbots—AI-driven systems that can interact with customers via a chat window without the need for a human agent—augment the contact center by allowing you to provide two levels of interaction: the AI handles simple questions like hours of operation, and humans handle the complex issues. This keeps the human staff out of the easy stuff to ensure they're able to focus on what they're better at (handling complex interactions).
Internal analytics. With AI, it's easier to put the data coming from your contact center system to work. By combining those data sets with data from other systems across your enterprise, AI can be used to deliver answers to questions we were once only able to imagine. For example, want to be able to predict whether or not a customer is more or less likely to purchase after talking to your agents? AI can combine call data with eCommerce data to get your answer.
How to Get Help Bringing AI in Contact Centers
AI in contact centers can be a big help, especially when paired with cloud-based solutions. Get help putting this combination to work in your business by reaching out to us at City Communications.
Windstream and City Communications moves an enterprise-class contact center to a CCaaS solution in the cloud for major energy services provider.
As one of the largest retail providers of electric, natural gas and home services in North America—with its parent company based in Europe—a major energy services provider processed approximately 1.3 million calls per month for sales and customer service. The Company views every call as an opportunity, either to win a new client, or provide great customer service, and has set a goal of rst call resolution as a top priority.
To deliver on its goal, it came to Windstream for an advanced contact center solution. A long-standing relationship and multiple successes deploying Windstream network services with City Communications secured the motivation to move forward.