Bean There, Done That: Why Cloud is So Much More than Just a Name


Cloud Gate, Chicago, Millenial ParkThe reflective, bean-shaped sculpture that twists and reflects the city skyline back to visitors of Chicago’s Millenium Park is typically called exactly what it looks like: “the Bean.” Few visitors or locals are aware that the work’s actual name is Cloud Gate. 

By the same token, customers are not really aware that their calls are being handled via a cloud-based contact center rather than through on-site software or systems. From the customer’s perspective, it is the end experience that matters. As long as the call, email or chat inquiry is still being answered by a capable agent in a timely manner, they don’t need to know what to call any of the systems or processes underlying the resolution of their issue.

But for businesses, the cloud is not just a name. It suggests a range of benefits that are possible with cloud technology. Aberdeen’s recent research report, Optimizing the Customer Experience Through Cloud Contact Centers (Omer Minkara, July 2014), points out the top two reasons for choosing a cloud-based contact center:

1. Enhancing financial flexibility

The cloud contact center model enables businesses to avoid the initial, up-front capital expenditures of investing in an in-house system. Instead, a subscription basis carries a lower long-term commitment and the ability to scale costs according to actual utilization. Scalability and “burstability” in response to customer demand is a key benefit of the cloud, and enables businesses to quickly allocate or eliminate additional resources as needed. Rather than paying a fixed rate for services whether they are used or not, companies pay according to utilization and it is often a much more cost-effective approach. Aberdeen found a significantly greater improvement (decrease) in customer care expenses among cloud contact center users than those using in-house systems (4.8% vs. 2.1%).

2. Improving the customer experience

Aberdeen’s research reveals that businesses who have adopted cloud contact center technology outpace in-house users in key performance metrics that measure customer satisfaction, such as customer retention (64% vs. 51%) and year-over-year change in first-contact resolution rates (-0.8 vs. 5.2%). Satisfied customers remain loyal customers, which speaks to the ability of cloud contact center users to deliver an overall positive customer experience.

Given cloud users’ advances in both of these areas, these findings suggest that cloud-enabled businesses are able to take advantage of cost savings to fund and further drive initiatives designed to enhance the customer experience, which then leads to greater customer retention and loyalty. This type of initiative might involve formulating new, more efficient processes or replacing updated technology. (Not unlike “upgrading” from a point-and-click to a smart phone camera. Ahem. That’s what you call an old-school selfie, kids.)

The benefits of the cloud to your organization and your customers are the same whether or not your customers know where your platform “lives” or what to call it. The deployment method you choose doesn’t change customer expectations. But it does provide your business with more options.

Check out Aspect’s Cloud-powered contact center solution Zipwire, and Aspect Hosted.