What to Consider When Building a Contact Center for Small Business

Contact centers are a crucial part of modern business operations. Small businesses can better serve customers with cloud. This blog outlines steps small business leaders and IT teams can take to build a cloud contact center.

November 30, 2021

Today’s consumers have access to a wide range of technology and platforms that influence how they communicate. As a result, they demand flexibility in how and when they communicate with businesses. Numerous businesses rely on contact centers to deliver on these demands, field customer inquiries, manage customer service issues, and drive sales and marketing initiatives.

Small business and IT leaders have taken note of the impact that contact centers have on overall customer satisfaction. They are looking to invest in cloud-based tools to optimize customer support and elevate the overall customer experience.

What is a Cloud-based Contact Center?

A cloud-based contact center is the central communications hub where companies field and resolve customer inquiries as well as oversee outbound communications. The system is hosted on an internet server, which handles all inbound and outbound customer communications. Cloud-based contact centers utilize several communications channels such as voice, email, social media, and online chat as opposed to call centers, which only use the voice channel.

With a cloud-based contact center, companies don’t have to maintain the additional redundant hardware and datacenter space required by an on-premise solution. Embracing cloud-based contact centers can deliver greater flexibility, better cost structures, faster deployment times, easier provisioning, and outsourced management and maintenance. Small businesses looking to build cloud-based contact centers should consider their needs and objectives, assess features, select a provider, and test solutions.

tips, cloud, migration, plan
Consider these tips when planning your cloud migration process.

 

Small Business Contact Center Implementation Checklist

#1: Evaluate Needs and Outline Objectives

Before starting the migration process, identify your customers’ needs and the technical requirements for the contact center. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the current contact center do well?
  • What aspects of the current contact center need improving?  
  • What communication channels are currently in use at the contact center? Does it support voice, chat, email, self-help, SMS, and social media? 
  • What systems would be best supported by a cloud provider?
  • Does the contact center need support for blended agents who can handle more than one customer interaction type or channel?
  • Do agents need to be able to work remotely?

With an understanding of the customer and business needs, IT leaders can develop a plan for how the contact center can meet them. Having a plan will also provide oversight and structure to help the IT and customer service teams stay on track during migration. 

For the best results, the migration plan should include phased steps of the implementation and address the following questions:

  • What will be the primary use of the contact center?
    • Is it inbound or outbound communications?
    • Will communications utilize specific channels?
  • Who will manage the solution?
    • Will it be extensive IT support or self-managed by the contact center admin?
    • What’s the level of support required by the provider? 
  • How will agents be trained on the new system?
  • How will your customers and employees be affected during and after the installation?
    • Will there be downtime during the conversion?
    • How will you answer employee and customer questions?
    • Will you need additional staff to support the day-to-day operations?

 

evaluate, software, contact center, provider
Evaluate contact center software providers carefully.

 

#2: Select a Contact Center Software Provider

The organization is now ready to find a partner who can support their cloud-based contact center. Small business leaders evaluating providers should consider the following:

  • What is the provider’s pricing structure?
  • How quickly does the provider deliver new capabilities and features?
  • Does the software support the channels you want to implement in your contact center?
  • Can the provider support relevant industry regulations?
  • How reliable and secure is the provider’s service?
  • What service and support options does the provider offer and how do their customers rate them?
  • Can the service scale as your business grows?
  • How rigorously can you demo the system prior to deployment?

 

consider, features, provider, offers
Consider what features the provider offers.

 

When you evaluate cloud-based contact center software providers, it’s essential to review and evaluate what features they offer, and if those features align with the needs of your business and contact center. We recommend features such as skill-based routing, drag-and-drop contact flows, and integration. Outlined below is a summary of these recommended features.
 

Skill-Based Routing

This feature routes calls to the most appropriate agent, creating a better customer experience and increasing the odds of first-call resolution.

Drag-and-Drop Contact Flows

This visual contact flow editor lets contact center administrators define the path varying calls should take, simply by moving graphics on their screen.

IVR and IVA

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system greets incoming callers and responds to basic natural language cues. An Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) like Mosaicx takes this a step further, using conversational AI to understand almost anything the customer says, providing a realistic agent-like experience.

Call Monitoring

This lets managers listen in on calls being handled by their helpdesk, sales, or marketing staff. 

Call Recording and Reporting

Call recording data captures inbound or outbound conversations for parsing later. Reporting enables leaders to effectively monitor the business, which aids with training and perfecting customer experience metrics.

Integration

Many hosted-VoIP providers offer ready-made integration modules for specific and popular apps (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Webex). With Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), companies can tailor the capabilities they need to integrate with the apps they already use.

Workforce Management

Manage schedules and see how agents are performing to ensure your contact center meets your goals and provides a great customer experience.


#3: Test Solutions Before Go-Live

To ensure implementation of your selected cloud solutions is successful, it is important to pilot and test services before going live. Testing enables the team members to familiarize themselves with the new contact center features at their own pace to ensure the new offering is fully operational before going live to customers. 

Intrado, support, cloud, contact center
Intrado can support your cloud-based contact center.

 

Intrado Enables Cloud Contact Centers

Intrado is an expert in cloud-based contact center operations. We offer Cloud Contact Pro, which comprises cloud essentials for small-to-midsize outbound and inbound contact centers. It’s hosted in Microsoft Azure and integrates with Microsoft Teams. Intrado works closely with Microsoft to natively run Azure and Teams. We also offer Webex Contact Center as an industry-leading, comprehensive solution for omnichannel contact centers of all sizes. 
 
As contact centers continue to play a vital role in a company’s success and its ability to satisfy customers, optimizing contact center experiences also needs to stay top of mind. Business leaders considering implementing a cloud-based contact center will find success as customer engagement preferences change. Moreover, cloud-based contact centers will empower small businesses to grow and deepen customer relationships.
 

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