How the cloud phone remodeled the contact center industry

There’s a radical change going on in the relationship between businesses and their customers.

During the earliest days of the customer service industry, the goal simply was to offer quick solutions to basic customer inquiries. As time progressed the job description lengthened to include:

  • technical assistance
  • problem solving
  • lead generation
  • marketing
  • fundraising

A notable addition was during the Covid 19 pandemic, when call center agents were employed to make extensive medical screenings. The industry is evolving, and so are the tools of the trade.

Cloud Communications on the rise

With the development of Voice-Over-Internet Protocol in the early 1990s, the customer service industry was destined to change in all the best ways. Up to this point, companies relied on on-premise PBX systems to run their call center operations. This meant hardware installation and maintenance costs that were expensive and limiting.

This was easily remedied by the introduction of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Developed in the early 2000s, SIP allowed for developers to easily integrate current phone systems to the internet and bypass certain hardware limitations. As another big consideration with internet calling was security, having companies host their own lines over VOIP meant that they had a tighter control over things and making it more secure was easy.

The transition wasn’t easy though.

Yahoo Messenger and Skype

VOIP was a relatively foreign concept in the early 2000s, especially in non-first world countries where internet access was shoddy at best. During this period, the most common way for people to make calls abroad was to pay the extravagant long-distance rates. Internet calling wasn’t exactly a thing until Yahoo Messenger came along.

Yahoo Messenger worked as a PC-to-PC messaging application that used SIP to send voice messages over the internet. It was an advertisement-driven service that was free and easily accessible, thereby making it approachable for users new to the prospect of internet calling.

Skype on the other hand, was what would eventually take the world by storm. According to this 2004 New York Times article:

Skype, a made-up term that rhymes with “tripe,” is the most popular and sexiest application of VoIP, which doesn’t rhyme with anything.

Despite being found only a year earlier in 2003, it grew so much in popularity simply because it offered the “easiest, fastest and cheapest way for individual customers to begin using VoIP.” It would continue to rise to such an extent that the everyday consumer would nonchalantly use the term “Skype” to express an intent to call someone over the internet.

That rise in VOIP usage would not go unnoticed.

Clear benefits of the cloud

With everyday conversations taking place in the cloud, it was a matter of time before all the other conversations did too. Between 2010 to 2018, business VOIP lines in the United States jumped from 6.2 million to 41.6 million. That’s a 35 million increase in the span of eight years!

It’s not hard to see why, though.

Companies who have transitioned to using a cloud PBX system have reported savings of over 60% in the course of two years. That’s from the lack of software licensing costs, long distance call charges, and additional features which cost extra. A cloud-based contact center solution like the one Nautilus offers comes bundled with all the features a standard business might need.

And for small to medium-sized businesses, these savings are essential and too hard to pass by.

The pandemic and the future of cloud communications

According to this report from Global Market Insights, “The VoIP market is estimated to hike from USD 20 billion in 2018 to around USD 55 billion by 2025.”

This projected growth is likely to be driven by multiple factors, top of which are the following:

  • Restrictive budgets — with the economy in the state it’s in (and the current resource shortage), companies across the globe will be looking to save where they can. The operational costs of running an office-based business are too high. With most cloud phone plans being significantly cheaper, the lure to invest in this technology will be hard to ignore
  • The Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work — as an answer to the dilemma posed by the pandemic, companies all over the world have resorted to allowing their employees to work from home. Though initially started as a temporary means, the WFH setup is seeing a more permanent adaptation in all the major industries.

Conclusion

In 2021 it is prospected that the “public cloud infrastructure will grow by 35%.” Under the same report, it is stated that about 50% of current industries are relying on the cloud for most of their operations.

The cloud phone, on the other hand, has seen wide adoption in developing countries in Southeast Asia. Seeing as how a large portion of outsourced customer service operations run from the region, the message is clear: the cloud phone has definitely reworked the basics of customer service as we know it.

Red Ramos
josealberto.lacsonramos@gmail.com
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