Historically one of the main barriers to using a contact centre in a business has been the up front cost of putting all the technology in place. And there was a long lead time while you specified:
- system functionality
- server sizes, system capacity, peak and run time capacity,
- allocated physical space and planned power delivery
- planned pstn trunk delivery, overflow strategies, etc. etc.
This would then be followed by a lengthy procurement process, and a similarly lengthy implementation phase before testing could even start. In software development terms it was the classic waterfall methodology. A whole lot of work had to take place before a business could start testing the methodologies it wanted to use in its contact centre. But this process is so complicated that many business continue to use less efficient solutions such as Hunt Groups. These were cheaper, but often had very poor reporting and consequently poor visibility of the Customer Experience.
However the advent of Serverless computing has opened up an opportunity to apply agile development methodologies to the delivery of Contact Centre functionality. As an example of this we recently put together a contact centre solution that had no servers, no LAN, and no phones! It used Facebook Messenger to service customer enquiries, backed up by Amazon Lex to deliver the conversational chatbot. When a customer wanted, or needed, to talk to an agent the conversation was transferred to Amazon Connect. The agent could work anywhere they could get an Internet connection. And we could have any number of agents. The only planning we needed was to check there was sufficient capacity on the agents Internet connection. The scaling is handled automatically and invisibly by the underlying architecture, as is the fault tolerance. And there is no long term financial commitment and no resource impact on the IT department.
The upside of this is that businesses are free to experiment with call handling scenarios at very little financial risk. It also means that ad hoc calls centres can be created to handle one-off events. And if the events happen once a year, for example, then the call centre can be left in place, and won’t cost anything until it is needed again.
This is a true Contact Centre as a Service functionality. It’s not perfect for every scenario but for most businesses the speed of implementation and the ability to scale are key benefits.