Skip to Main Content

The cloud contact center guide

Benefits, concerns, and best practices
Two men and one woman looking and pointing at computer

Over the past year, generative AI has been the technology on everyone’s minds – and with good reason. Advances in artificial intelligence have met or exceeded human abilities in the areas of content creation, speech recognition, translation, and image analysis that they so much so that they are having a tremendous impact on both our professional and personal lives. 

But with all the hype, it’s easy to lose track of some of the other contact center technologies needed to truly take advantage of the AI revolution. We’re talking about cloud computing – and more specifically cloud contact centers. 

To be clear, it’s possible to bolt AI applications onto on-premises contact centers … but it’s harder, more costly, requires more maintenance and rarely works as seamlessly as it would with a cloud-based contact center. 

In this guide, we’re going to explore the fundamental CX benefits provided by cloud contact centers, address cloud migration concerns, and share best practices for a smooth journey to the cloud. 

What is a cloud contact center? 

Often used interchangeably with Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), a cloud contact center is an internet-based service where all inbound and outbound customer interactions of any media type – voice, email, social media and more – as well as reporting and analytics can be handled.

Benefits of a cloud contact center

Cloud contact centers offer many well-known benefits, like scalability, flexibility, cost efficiency, and improved customer experience. Below are some of the cloud contact center benefits that don’t get as much press but are just as important. 

1. Innovation 

Hands-down, one of the biggest benefits that businesses reap from cloud contact centers is the ability to easily deploy innovations not annually, but weekly in some cases with two to 10 features released every week. 

Customer expectations have evolved, and businesses need to catch up with those expectations. According to Tom Lewis, SVP of consulting at TTEC Digital, generative AI and ChatGPT have pushed customer expectations higher than ever as customers now “expect generative-AI level responses from customer service bots.”

To meet these expectations, contact centers must effectively leverage the advances in AI and automation so that customers receive the experience they expect – one in which the technology or agent knows why they’re reaching out and can accurately solve their problem.

The stakes are high, but new tools are already here to solve problems and improve experiences – and in many cases they are readily available on your CCaaS platform of choice. These tools include virtual agents that understand different conversational styles and dialects and can even “remember” past interactions. Conversation intelligence, a solution that uses generative AI to analyze customer conversations across channels, is another innovation that solves common pain points like customer frustration, employee churn and operational inefficiencies. 


How cloud technology drives innovation

For more on how migrating your contact center to the cloud can enable innovation and provide frictionless customer interactions, check out this article from Bryce Gibson.

Read the article

2. Integration

While some AI and machine learning (ML) tools can be added to on-premises contact centers, it’s generally more time-consuming, resource-intensive and cost-prohibitive to integrate these technologies than it would be in a cloud-based environment. Cloud-based contact center solutions make it easy to capitalize on 3rd-party innovative solutions quickly and affordably through accessible APIs connected to each other over the internet with built-in, native integrations.

“It’s much easier to integrate new tools in the cloud. If you want to put a bot in your on-premises platform, it’s very difficult. You have to do a lot of integration work to get the connectivity between the premise equipment and the cloud services. With the cloud, we just call MicrosoftGoogle, or AWS,” said Robert Wakefield-Carl, Senior Director, Innovation Architects at TTEC Digital.

In a cloud contact center all your CCaaS platform’s native tools become much easier to deploy. The extensible nature of cloud software means contact centers have access to rapid scalability to meet demand. Additionally, updates to tools and technologies occur through a simple push notification, rather than more complex manual inputs in on-premises solutions. 

Integration with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is especially beneficial because it allows agents to access customer records through a single pane of glass. That’s important because those customer histories can help agents provide more effective and personalized service. 

3. Productivity

Higher contact center productivity is often the result of the above-mentioned “innovation” and “integration.” Innovations are either baked into the cloud contact center or are easily integrated with it – which can greatly boost productivity in the contact center.

For example, new agent assist tools like conversation transcription, knowledge surfacing, wrap-up determination, and summarization are streamlining after-call work for agents and allowing them to focus on more high-value customer interactions.  New self-service channels like virtual agents and conversational AI chatbots are further increasing productivity and driving higher containment rates. 

Again, while possible to integrate productivity features into on-premise contact centers, there’s no guarantee that they’ll work seamlessly with legacy hardware. According to Bryce Gibson, COO of TTEC Digital, “Clunky integrations can quickly lead to a perpetual break-fix cycle that drains IT staff resources and halts contact center productivity.”

The case for cloud: Calculating the hidden ROI of a cloud migration

How do you decide if a cloud migration is worth the effort? Check out this article to find out.

Read the article

4. Agent satisfaction

A recent study by Tracking Happiness found that the ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20%. Another study found that 86% of respondents prefer a fully remote or almost fully remote work arrangement over hybrid or in-office work.  Contact center agents are no exception. 

With on-premises contact centers and their associated infrastructure, giving agents the ability to work remotely while maintaining a strong customer experience is nearly impossible. Many TTEC Digital clients have experienced this difficulty first-hand. 

For example, at iQ Credit Union, leadership wanted to give their contact center staff the ability to work remotely, but outdated on-premises systems held them back. By migrating their contact center to the cloud, iQ was able to modernize their operations and give their employees more flexible work options.

In addition to remote work, tools like knowledge management and recommendation engines can also improve the employee experience by empowering agents to more easily solve customer problems. 

Cloud migration concerns: Complexity and compatibility

Of course, after listing all these benefits, it begs the question: “If cloud contact centers are so great, why hasn’t every business migrated their on-premises contact center to the cloud?” 

In his article “What’s keeping your call center on the ground?” Robert Wakefield-Carl discusses two of the main cloud migration concerns – complexity and compatibility. 

According to Wakefield-Carl, businesses need to consider a myriad of issues, such as:

  • How to bring trunks to the carrier
  • Porting numbers
  • Configuration of headsets for WebRTC
  • Access to local database resources
  • Voice quality
  • Responsiveness
  • Interaction with internal systems

Many businesses worry that a new cloud contact center won’t be compatible with their other enterprise systems. 

To address these issues, Wakefield-Carl recommends a measured approach to cloud migration and working with a trusted cloud contact center migration partner. A partner who knows both the source platform as well as the destination platform plus additional technologies like workforce management (WFM) can recommend and implement the right roadmap. 

Ready, set, cloud!

Deciding whether your business is truly ready for a cloud migration is a complex process. To help you understand your cloud readiness, take this quiz.

Take the quiz

Cloud contact center migration and implementation: Best practices

Clearly, moving contact center operations to the cloud takes careful planning and strong expertise in both contact center technology and in CX strategy. In his article, “5 mistakes to avoid during a cloud migration,” Larry Mead, Global Leader, Experience Transformation at TTEC Digital, hits on the most common errors that often occur during a cloud migration. To overcome these common oversights, Mead recommends:

  1. Focus on value realization rather than simply “lifting and shifting” existing CX processes to the cloud. This is an opportunity to re-evaluate your CX and realize even greater value in the cloud – not simply replicate what you already have.
  2. Assemble a multi-practice migration team. Plan to pair a migration office with a transformation office that includes IT, finance, CX/EX designers, architects, engineers and operational SMEs to help through what your decommission plan will be and how it will be actively managed. 
  3. Don’t take a “wait and see” approach. If you’re starting your migration with a pilot program, make sure to establish clear definitions of success and failure and define the next steps after pilot completion. 
  4. Identify internal ambassadors to champion the cloud platform and establish a change management plan. Cloud migration will have an impact on many employees as well as customers. To ensure its success, all stakeholders need to be brought along on the journey. 
  5. Strategize before you automate. New cloud platforms often come with automation like chatbots and voice assistants that can simply be turned on. Before unrolling any new features, strategize how these channels will work within your larger CX framework. 

5 questions to ask potential cloud migration partners

Finally, when you’re ready to start your contact center migration to the cloud, you’ll need to find the right partner. Start by asking the following questions:

  1. What is your experience integrating with other platforms we have in our environment, including things like WFO platforms and CRM experience with the CCaaS platform itself?
  2. Do you have a few reference clients who went through similar implementations that we can talk to?
  3. What certifications do you have in the platform we’re looking to migrate to?
  4. What other relevant experience can you bring to help us with the migration?
  5. How many cloud migrations have you completed, and in what timeframe were they finished?

Partners who can thoughtfully answer these questions with in-depth responses and provide strong resources demonstrate that they have the expertise to effectively manage your cloud migration. 

Next steps for your cloud migration

If you’re ready – or almost ready – to move your on-premises contact center to the cloud, but aren’t sure where to start, TTEC Digital can help. Our 4 Step Contact Center Technology Ecosystem Assessment will help you create a clear path to the cloud. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute session today.

It's time to kickstart your digital transformation.

Let our team of experts find opportunities and value hidden in your contact center with our in-depth technology assessment.

Get started today