November 17, 2022

Article
5 min

Cloud Contact Centers Meet Customers Where They Choose

From mobile to CaaS, the cloud is key to enhancing customer experience

Scott Petersen

As more and more businesses turn to the ever-expanding communication services offered through the cloud, their relationship with customers is evolving. In the pre-digital era, customer service was handled either through in-person dialog or by phone through a call center.

Today, customers have dozens of options and methods of communicating, from email, chat, SMS/MMS, Facebook Chat, Twitter, WeChat, chatbots, WhatsApp and on and on. Using the cloud, businesses can adapt to meet their customers where they choose to interact.

The use cases for mobile communication are limitless and ever expanding as the cloud can take advantage of these at scale. Consider how you can make your customers’ experience better using all the technologies supported by the cloud.

Mobile First

Regardless of where we fall on the generational spectrum, from the Boomers to Gen Z, we all engage with life today through mobile devices and an ever-increasing number of services utilized through applications.

It seems only natural that many organizations are using what comes inherently to these devices. Customer service can utilize these same services provided on the application to securely interact with their customers.

Just think of this scenario; my bank receives a transaction that looks off, so their systems generate and send a fraud alert to my smartphone. “Scott, did you make the below purchase? Reply with a 1 for yes or a 2 for no.”

I reply with a 1 for yes, and at that point I am immediately texted back by an agent who asks whether I meant to say yes.

I reply yes, and they tell me, “I would like to send you a push notification which will open your banking application as we need to verify this is really you.”

I click the notification, my application opens and I log in, bringing me to the screen that asks me to verify the question at hand.

I say yes again. Next, the agent asks me permission to send an authentication request to my device, and I again say yes. My phone’s authentication mechanism, whether it be facial recognition or fingerprint reading, automatically kicks off and I authenticate.

This gets recorded in their system and I have now authenticated my answer to the fraud.

This may seem like a lot of steps for my simple yes, but if we think about the world we live in, we know that cybersecurity is an everyday reality. Entities can no longer trust that you are you and blindly accept your “1 for yes.”

This stops actions such as my card being temporarily turned off and having to call my bank asking them why I cannot purchase items while on my vacation, a far more time consuming and inconvenient model than we were all used to in the past.

Communication Platform as a Service

Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is simply a way to provide rich and robust access to channels of communication. Think of these services as the backbone to communications that are all leverageable from the applications we use via cloud services.

So why does this matter? The easy answer is people want to be contacted and engaged in their own platform of preference. Doing so goes a long way toward customer retention. Failure to do so risks losing the base to competing products.

If we look at the banking example above, we can break down where CPaaS fits in.

First, I received a Short Message Service (SMS) notification from my bank. This message leverages a CPaaS solution, either wholly contained or partially in the cloud. In pressing 1 or 2, I am still referencing that same CPaaS solution. Again, chatting with an agent and even the push notification is sent through the CPaaS solution.

I’ve used these types of services in times of need. I once had to change a flight, so I called the airline but was notified the average hold time was more than three hours long. At that point I was given the opportunity to use Twitter to resolve my problem.

Now some might think, “Is Twitter really the best solution?” I know that was exactly what ran through my mind, but I accepted and began tweeting at an agent.

After four minutes, the agent answered back, asking questions about what I wanted to change. Our conversation went on for about a half hour, after which I’d successfully rebooked my flight. Now, that experience, while it lasted 30 minutes, was really about 30 seconds of typing back and forth with the aid of a CPaaS solution.

We used to wait for yearly lifecycles to be able to offer our customers new channels to communicate. However, with the cloud, these integrations are coming out faster and more frequently.

Note that this category is also available in some of today’s on-premises contact centers. They can leverage the cloud by supplying a cloud connector server. This allows us to use these cloud-based services and remain relevant while figuring out what strategy to follow.

Next Generation

What’s coming next? Looking at the way technology is moving, we can make some predictions.

There is a massive push into the Internet of Things (IoT) movement. All the connected items in our homes, from appliances to entertainment equipment, are eventually going to break. With an IoT channel integrated into a contact center, it may be possible to address breaks proactively.

Consider the emerging electric car market. Ads for these vehicles show over-the-air software upgrades and constant connection in some way. Connected home devices could travel a similar path, allowing for proactive maintenance at the contact center, either by dispatching a technician or routing a ticket for someone to make the fix remotely, even before it becomes an issue.

This would be the ultimate in customer service; what better care can you ask for when you don’t even know there is an issue?


Story by Scott Petersen, a Contact Center Technical Architect for CDW’s Services Research and Development team. Scott has experience in data center, contact center, wide area network and switching technologies. He is a graduate of the Lean Sigma Six Greenbelt program, as well as an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and a Webex Contact Center Expert.