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Call Center Operations are Transforming

According to an article by Destination CRM, work-at-home solutions are transforming call center operations – especially with the cloud. A summary of that article is below:

The Cloud

Ann Ruckstuhl, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at LiveOps, a provider of cloud-based virtual call center software. “Everything can be provisioned through servers in the cloud.” The result, she says, can be “a zero-footprint contact center from end to end.”

Having contact center systems and software positioned in the cloud “is the way to go if you’re going to allow people to work at home,” adds Jennifer Waite, product marketing manager at inContact. “The cloud gives you the ability to have technology with you wherever you are. You don’t have to set anything up. [The system] just needs to know where to route the work.”

Research firm MarketsandMarkets expects huge growth in the cloud-based contact center market, predicting growth from $4.15 billion today to $10.9 billion in 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate of 21.3 percent.

As the figures show, the cloud has seen strong demand and growth in the contact center market for the past few years, particularly in the areas of automatic call distribution, interactive voice response (IVR), dialers, agent performance optimization, computer telephony integration software, analytics and reporting, and workforce optimization (WFO), according to the firm’s research.

VoIP

Also continuing to gain in popularity is the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) softphone. Though traditionally used with desktop and laptop computers, new capabilities are making it possible for agents to turn their mobile phones into VoIP extensions that can be used anywhere.

Lon Baker, chief operating officer at VirtualPBX, a provider of hosted VoIP phone services to small and midsized businesses, says updated softphone technology means that high-quality calls can now be made over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi networks. He says the softphone is a “breakthrough” technology that is often offered at little to no cost and provides all the functionality of traditional desk phones, including business caller ID.

Phone systems like these are on a sharp climb, while sales of premises-based phone systems have been stagnant to declining for the past few years, according to Infonetics Research.

WebRTC

That’s not expected to change any time soon, particularly as Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC), an open-source gateway that allows for video and voice communications between multiple computers over the Internet, takes hold.

WebRTC has already expanded the possibilities for the work-at-home contact center agent. “In the past, you needed a phone and Internet connection,” Ruckstuhl says. “Now, with WebRTC, you can even get rid of the phone. You can take phone, email, chat, and social interactions right from a browser. You don’t need hardware or installed software. Everything is very seamless and frictionless,” she adds.

Agents require little more than a browser and Wi-Fi access, according to Ruckstuhl, who notes that WebRTC transforms a browser into a full-featured agent desktop with a phone. Calls, she explains, are routed directly through the Web browser.

Intuitive Solutions has reported a 50 percent savings in total cost of ownership for its contact center as a result of the WebRTC technology, while also improving agent productivity and workforce utilization. “With WebRTC, you can see what’s happening in real time and do something about it,” Ruckstuhl maintains.

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