Home Business Insights & Advice The three types of contact centre platforms (and which is best for you!)

The three types of contact centre platforms (and which is best for you!)

by Sarah Dunsby
20th Feb 24 11:22 am

Welcome to the world of contact centres, where choosing the right solution can feel like charting unknown waters. Wondering which path to take? You’re in the right place. We’re breaking down the basics of each type to help clear the fog. Whether you’re leaning towards the control and familiarity of on-premise, the agility of cloud solutions, or the flexibility of hybrid models, understanding the landscape is key. We’ll dive into why certain platforms are leading the pack, which sectors are quick to adopt new tech, and how CCaaS vendors can better support the shift to the cloud.

Excellent customer service is essential for business success, driving customer loyalty and brand promotion. That explains why the global contact centre market, valued at $24 billion in 2022, is expected to grow by 12% annually until 2027.

However, despite their importance, contact centres face challenges like high costs for phone calls (£6.55 per call) compared to emails and web chats, long wait times, and high call abandonment rates. These issues highlight the shift towards digital and automated solutions for customer service.

Modern contact centre platforms, enhanced with AI, streamline routine tasks and enable agents to offer personalised support. The hype is obvious, as 67% of consumers prefer non-voice digital channels (live chat, email, text) for convenience and efficiency.

However, choosing the right platform has become a crucial decision with On-Premise, Cloud-Based, and Hybrid modern call centre options available, each with unique benefits for different business needs.

Understanding different types of contact platforms

On-premises contact centre platforms

On-premises contact centre platforms are installed and operated from a company’s internal data centre. They require physical hardware and software that the company purchases and maintains. This setup controls the contact centre’s infrastructure, security, and data.

Advantages:

  • Enhanced control over data and security
  • Customisation capabilities (52% of on-premises contact centre users report high levels of platform customisation to their unique needs)
  • Potentially more stable performance without relying on internet connectivity

Disadvantages:

  • Higher initial costs for hardware and software
  • Requires in-house IT staff for maintenance and updates
  • Less flexibility in scaling operations quickly

Businesses with strict data control regulations, such as financial institutions or healthcare providers, often prefer on-premises solutions due to their enhanced security and control features. Large enterprises that can afford the upfront investment and have the capacity to manage the infrastructure may also benefit from on-premises platforms.

Cloud-based contact centre platforms

Cloud-based contact centre platforms are hosted on the provider’s servers and accessed over the Internet. They offer a range of functionalities, such as automated call distribution, interactive voice response, chatbots, and analytics, without physical infrastructure at the business’s location.

Advantages:

  • Easily adjust to changing call volumes, allowing businesses to scale operations up or down as needed.
  • Offer remote work flexibility (89% of businesses surveyed agreed flexibility is one the main benefits of the cloud contact centre model)
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing model, helping you save on upfront hardware and software investments

Disadvantages:

  • Data security (57% of IT decision-makers feel cloud storage may lack robust data security)
  • Dependence on reliable internet, which may not always be guaranteed

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that require flexibility and scalability without significant upfront investment will find cloud-based solutions attractive.

Hybrid contact centre platforms

Hybrid contact centre platforms combine the features of both on-premises and cloud-based solutions. They allow businesses to store sensitive data on their own servers while taking advantage of the cloud’s scalability and flexibility for other functionalities.

Advantages:

  • Allows storing sensitive data on-premises while leveraging cloud scalability and flexibility
  • Customisable hybrid solutions combine on-premises security with cloud benefits
  • Enhanced control and security for sensitive data (63% of IT decision-makers choose a hybrid model for its data security and compliance)
  • Scalable cloud services handle fluctuating call volumes without extensive on-premises infrastructure.

Disadvantages:

  • Managing a hybrid environment requires expertise in both on-premises and cloud technologies.
  • Integration challenges between on-premises and cloud components can cause compatibility issues, affecting 57% of hybrid centres in 2023
  • Higher initial costs due to investments in both on-premises and cloud infrastructure
  • Increased maintenance overhead from managing and integrating both components

Choosing the best platform for your business

Assessing your business needs

Evaluating your business requirements is crucial in selecting a contact centre platform. It involves analysing factors like:

  • Company size
  • Your industry
  • Customer service demands
  • Your existing technological infrastructure
  • Degree of scalability to adapt to future technologies

Considering costs and ROI

On-premises systems need more upfront money but might have lower future costs. Cloud services usually cost less to start but more over time. Hybrid costs depend on customisation. Remember to plan for direct and indirect costs, like training and possible downtime. After all, calculating ROI is key, considering factors like better efficiency, customer happiness, and sales growth.

Evaluating features and integrations

Look for key features that match your business needs, including omni-channel support, AI and automation capabilities, analytics, and integration with your existing business systems and software. The platform’s ability to integrate seamlessly with your CRM, ERP, and other tools is critical for providing a unified customer experience and streamlining operations.

Cirrus Founder and CEO Jason Roos says ‘”Businesses face the critical challenge of not just adopting technology, but integrating it in a way that truly transforms the customer experience. As we shift towards cloud-based and hybrid contact centre platforms, it’s not merely about the technology itself but how it aligns with the organisation’s strategic goals. A successful implementation hinges on our ability to understand and anticipate customer needs, ensuring our teams are equipped with new tools and empowered to use them to deliver service excellence. The journey from selection through to adoption and beyond is a testament to a company’s commitment to not just meeting but exceeding customer expectations in every interaction.”

Conclusion

Selecting the right contact centre platform is crucial for enhancing customer service and operational efficiency. This decision should be made carefully considering your business’s unique needs, budget constraints, and long-term objectives. A well-chosen platform can transform your customer service delivery, improving your brand perception and sales.

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