Technology is changing how customers engage with businesses. Research shows that nearly half of customers spend morewith brands that offer flexible communication and customer experience options — and the companies that have an above-average customer experience rating do better financially.
Yet, many companies still rely on old-fashioned phone contact, call centers, and outmoded customer service models. A recent study conducted by Ribbon Communications, for example, found that 41 percent of companies surveyed had no tools at all offering their customers click-to-chat, click-to-call, or screen sharing capabilities.
Another challenge for many businesses is cost: A traditional call center solution is expensive and complex to set up, and often doesn’t offer today’s customers the ability to get in touch on their terms, using whatever device they prefer. But, a new approach to an old problem could be the ideal solution: platform as a service (PaaS).
The connecting cloud
PaaS solutions are cloud computing services with shared resources. This allows businesses to design a custom, scalable call center solution that doesn’t require any software or any locally maintained servers. PaaS customer service solutions rely entirely on the web browser to function, so customers can engage the business using their phone, tablet, or desktop computer — any device that can surf the web can be a point of contact. And, it’s all done without the typical infrastructure required when developing an app.
Kandy’s Live Support, for example, is a PaaS solution that offers an immersive and interactive customer service experience at a very low cost by leveraging the power of the cloud. Businesses can customize the features to match their needs and budget, but the flexibility of the platform allows for a seamless escalation — for example, if a customer initiates contact via a chat or phone call, the interaction can seamlessly advance to video conference or screen-sharing, all within an immersive session in the same browser window. And, that initial contact isn’t limited to chat or phone — live support allows customers to engage via video, document sharing or screen sharing services, or social media as well.
A PaaS solution is also flexible and scalable; live support, for example, can start with just one agent and instantly scale to 1,000 agents when demand peaks. Since PaaS platforms like live support are browser-based, those agents can be decentralized and operate from anywhere, removing the need for investing in expensive call centers. It’s also very easy to integrate into existing websites, usually requiring just the addition of a single line of code, and uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to handle many standard and repetitive customer experience actions.
Beyond customer service
While customer service is one of the core functions of cloud-based PaaS solutions like this, there are many other functions that a scalable, flexible platform can benefit a business.
One example is disaster recovery. Because the technology is cloud-based and distributed, it can ensure uninterrupted operation during natural disasters, even when a business’ brick-and-mortar locations are closed. Similarly, surges and spikes in volume can be handled seamlessly because the platform scales automatically, adding agents as needed.
PaaS customer service solutions also benefit the agents who work with your customers, giving them more flexibility in terms of where and when they work. This increases job satisfaction and helps them do a better job. And all of this comes with dramatically lower operating costs in terms of compensation and real estate expenses.
Far from the technology of tomorrow, the cloud and AI are practical solutions for improving the customer experience — and the bottom line — today.