Essential Cloud Contact Center Features Everyone Should Have

These days, Customer Experience (CX) is key to attracting - and keeping - customers. After all, 89% of organizations now compete based on giving customers a great experience. To keep up, organizations now partner with Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) providers to innovate. But with ever-evolving technology, it can be hard to know what to expect from a CCaaS solution. So, to help you cut through the noise, we’ve pulled together a complete list of essential cloud contact center features.

In this blog, we explain:

  • How every organization needs these cloud contact center features;

  • The top seven you should have;

  • Where to find them all in a single, end-to-end solution.

What Do We Mean by Essential Features?

In an ever-growing sea of new technology, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. When you’re choosing which features and functions to include in your cloud contact center, it’s important to consider your key goals and desired outcomes, to help identify what technology you need to realize these.

However, there’s some cloud contact center features which are essential: meaning every CX-driven organization needs them. We’ve identified seven essential cloud contact center features that are key to CX success. Let’s dive in.

Seven Essential Cloud Contact Center Features

There are several features of a cloud contact center that are necessary for any organization that wishes to remain competitive:

  1. Outbound dialer

  2. Omnichannel

  3. Knowledge Management

  4. Customer Data Platform

  5. Workforce management and Compliance

  6. AI and automation

  7. Integrations and APIs

Outbound Dialers Use Automation to Improve Efficiency

Outbound calls are part of any contact center. They allow agents to make sales calls, resolve ongoing queries, and engage proactively with customers.

To optimize your outbound strategy, an outbound dialer adds efficiency through intelligent automation, including:

  • Recommending the next best customer to call.

  • Saving agent time by auto-initiating calls.

  • Matching agent availability and skill set to customer lists.

What’s more, the most leading-edge outbound dialers also:

  • Skip past answering machines.

  • Allow agents to manage both outbound and inbound calls from one unified desktop.

  • Monitor the success of outbound contact in real-time.

  • Provide agents with historical customer context by integrating with the organization’s CRM system.

So, an outbound dialer is an essential feature of any cloud contact center with an outbound customer experience strategy. But for a contact center to be truly successful, it must go beyond outbound voice, and look to be omnichannel.

Competitive CX Requires Omnichannel Communications

It’s a matter of fact that today’s customer wants more than just voice. Digital consumers expect organizations to communicate in the same way they do – via multiple channels, from wherever, and whenever they want.

To keep up, it is crucial to have an omnichannel cloud contact center, which means incorporating:

Being omnichannel means that your organization can maintain a single fluid conversation and deliver seamless CX across all channels. Regardless of which channel customers start on, or if they switch between channels, they should still receive the same standard of CX.

Cloud technology converges all channels in one easy-to-use interface to present agents with a full picture of the customer journey. Agents switch between contacts from a range of sources, providing quick responses and removing the need for customers to repeat themselves. 

To achieve this, and more, it is essential that your cloud contact center features integrate effective Knowledge Management capabilities.

Knowledge Management Creates Informed Agents

Knowledge is power.

To maximize its value in the contact center, you need a system that lets agents and customers quickly and easily access knowledge. You should be able to internally and externally view customer data across any channel. Furthermore, your data should automatically update as your databases and knowledge about customers grow.

Knowledge management, thus, is a critical feature in today’s data-driven cloud contact center, that should:

  • Reduce agent training costs by providing helpful articles to assist them.

  • Allow customers to self-serve by directing them to the answer to their query.

  • Enable automatic screen-pops to cut down time spent searching for information, reducing Average Handle Time (AHT).

  • Boost consistency in customer service and improve accuracy in agent answers.

When knowledge management is implemented in the cloud contact center, decision trees guide customers and agents through knowledge bases, to access a resolution quickly and seamlessly. What’s more, you control the articles available to customers and agents, to keep sensitive information secure.

To have effective knowledge management, you must provide the right information, to the right people, via the right channel, at the right time.

Now, let’s find out how a Customer Data Platform can help.

Customer Data Platform: A Next-Generation CRM

We are all aware of the importance of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in the cloud contact center.

A CRM system is used to manage customer relationships; it helps build loyalty, while streamlining processes with the ultimate goal of improving CX to increase sales.

In an ideal world, this is a perfect formula. But in reality, traditional CRMs are often time-consuming to use.

Modern cloud contact centers feature a new, and now essential, version of the CRM: the CDP (Customer Data Platform).

A CDP efficiently aggregates an organization’s data, converging cost-effective CRM, customer journey mapping, and effective knowledge management in a single environment. This creates consistency and accessibility across an organization’s data and delivers a 360-degree view of customer relationships and interaction history to contact center agents.

However, even the best CDP won’t help if your workforce isn’t effectively organized. A WFM (Workforce Management) tool can take care of this.

Integrated Scheduling and Total Compliance with WFM 

Without effective WFM, you wouldn’t have a working contact center.

This makes WFM an essential feature of the cloud contact center, allowing you to create effective schedules for both chatbots and human agents. WFM optimizes your hybrid workforce to a new level, with automatic scheduling. The cloud’s agility makes it easy to respond to unforeseen circumstances, scaling operations up or down at the touch of a button.

A cloud WFM solution also helps you maintain compliance with workforce regulations by:

  • Checking employee activity to ensure you are meeting regulations around: maximum and minimum hours worked, annual leave and breaks taken.

  • Tracking agent training and certification to ensure that employees are always up to date on the latest requirements.

This aspect of WFM is critical to preventing errors, protecting data privacy, and maintaining compliance. But there’s much more to AI and automation than its application in WFM.

Add AI and Automation to Your To-Do List

AI and automation are on every CX leader’s to-do list. So, these days, they are essential features of the cloud contact center for good reason:

  • Enabling Machine Agents for effortless, high-speed self-service and accurate answers as part of a conversational experience – via both voice and digital channels.

  • Automating mundane inquiries frees your agents to focus only on the most complex interactions. This elevates their experience and improves morale.

  • Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI-powered quality monitoring check every interaction for compliance.

  • AI-backed routing guides the customer to the best available outcome.

No longer a nice-to-have, AI and automation are key to a truly efficient contact center that values CX.

However, if your contact center is not properly integrated with other assets, it won’t reach its maximum CX potential.

Create Faster Resolutions, Operational Efficiencies and Happier Customers with Integrations

Many organizations new to the cloud have already made significant technology investments.

The ability to develop custom integrations are an absolute must-have feature of your cloud contact center. For one, custom integrations ensure a strong return on investment for existing technology. Second, they’re crucial to future-proofing your CX investment as you evolve and improve the customer journey.

Thus, you should be able to integrate your cloud contact center with any:

  • System of record;

  • Third-party system, such as ERP software;

  • Employee collaboration tool, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom;

  • Channel, such as WhatsApp and Instagram.

Deep integration helps your agents view all data on within a single pane of glass.

Getting a Cloud Contact Center with All Critical Features

The benefits of the seven most important cloud contact center features are clear.

They sound great, right?

But it is important to consider how you implement these features into your cloud contact center.

You could implement them separately using multiple providers. But, instead, why not choose a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) provider with an end-to-end cloud solution offering all these features?

After all, Content Guru’s storm® platform simplifies cloud migration. It also offers all of these features and more, in a single stack model. Best of all, you can add and remove features quickly and seamlessly as your business evolves using storm’s modular architecture.

Ready to learn more about the essential features of a cloud contact center?

Continue your CX journey by downloading Content Guru’s Four Pillars of CX whitepaper, detailing the four steps toward an evergreen contact center.