Conversational AI and the Benefits of Contact Center Cloud Migration

While moving your contact center operations to the cloud can deliver undeniable benefits, simply migrating existing ways of operating won’t solve pain points in the customer and agent experience. Instead, it’s better to approach migration as an opportunity to reimagine operations, get rid of siloed processes and outdated systems, and modernize the contact center experience to gain a competitive edge.

Conversational AI and automation tools are already delivering strategic outcomes for contact centers, especially those in the cloud. For contact centers that haven’t yet begun their cloud migration, adopting conversational AI technology in tandem with cloud migration is highly recommended.

Delaying adoption of conversational AI until after your contact center cloud migration puts your company at a distinct disadvantage. You’ll miss out on the substantial value and savings you could be generating even before your migration is complete. Your customers and agents have to wait even longer for the exceptional experiences you could be delivering before, during and after the migration. And you give your competition the opportunity to outperform your contact center and make it hard for you to catch up. What may feel like a prudent decision actually diminishes the multiplier effect you could be getting on your return on investment.

What’s driving contact center cloud migration ?

More and more businesses are considering contact center cloud migration as a crucial part of their digital transformation strategy—and it’s easy to see why. The days of having all the hardware and software needed to run the contact center located on-premises are clearly numbered. While some contact centers have been reluctant to change systems that aren’t technically broken, they’re now rapidly falling behind compared to contact centers that have already moved to the cloud or launched as a cloud-only contact center.

That’s because the economic and business benefits of the cloud give those contact centers embracing it a significant competitive edge when it comes to overall operating costs, scalability and agility. The contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) model eliminates the need for contact centers to deploy and manage their technology stack, which gives them greater flexibility for scaling up and down as well as faster time to market with new capabilities.

IDC Report: AI and Cloud Migration are Creating the Contact Center of Tomorrow

The modern contact center is evolving. More companies are migrating to the cloud and adopting conversational artificial intelligence to future-proof their operations and secure a competitive edge over their peers.

Why contact center cloud migration alone isn’t enough

Companies today succeed or fail based on customer experience (CX). While contact center cloud migration makes operational benefits a reality, it doesn’t automatically deliver improvements to the customer or agent experience. Moving existing ways of doing things to the cloud won’t deliver strategic benefits that impact customer satisfaction, loyalty and lifetime value.

A real transformation can only happen when contact centers also take the opportunity to address existing pain points in the customer journey as part of moving to the cloud. That’s where advanced conversational AI and automation come in.

Start transformation now, instead of waiting to get to the cloud 

Conversational AI is rapidly becoming mainstream in the contact center and forming the centerpiece of modern customer service strategy. From automated self-service to real-time agent assistance to interaction analysis, conversational AI helps deliver exceptional customer experiences, improve agent experience and engagement, enhance operational efficiency and drive revenue. 

Yet, some contact centers are waiting until after they move to the cloud to embrace a conversational AI strategy, putting their transformation essentially on hold for months or years while they move existing ways of operating to the cloud.  

Instead, savvy business leaders are making conversational AI a core component of their cloud migration. Doing so enables them to show immediate benefits and build on their success as they migrate their transformed operations.

“The emergence of sophisticated AI voice capabilities has made large-scale call center automation viable, with huge potential for savings and positive CX.”

Drew Kraus | VP Analyst at Gartner

Drive compelling business value for your top use cases

Transforming operations and executing contact center cloud migration simultaneously enable business leaders to make a compelling business case for both conversational AI and CCaaS. By choosing to address pain points within top use cases, they can demonstrate value faster and show a higher return on investment.

Here’s an example: a retail contact center with 200 agents plans to implement real-time agent assistance and interaction analytics with the goal to reduce average handle time, improve first contact resolution, reduce call escalations, shorten classroom training and onboarding time, and improve agent productivity. The savings for an average to best-case scenario is estimated at $2.8 to $3.6 million annually. At the lowest end of that range, the company’s payback period is only six months.

Demonstrate business impact with a conversational AI roadmap  

To achieve strategic transformation using conversational AI and automation while moving to the cloud, contact centers should start by developing a roadmap, with milestones, phases and projected benefits at each phase. Here’s an example:

Benefits Achieved/KPIs
1Introduce conversational AI Intelligent virtual assistant and/or automation of after-call work/promises management
  • Reduced call volume
  • Reduced average handle time
  • Improved customer experience
  • Better agent experience and productivity
2Deploy a small pilot in the cloud as proof of concept for AI-powered agent and customer experiences Integrated real-time agent assistance
  • Faster time to proficiency/reduced training time
  • Better agent experience and lower attrition
  • Higher agent productivity
  • Improved first call resolution
  • Increased revenue from AI-guided cross-selling/upselling
3Expand on pilot and move more contact center operations to the cloud Introduce new integration points and automation; add interaction analytics
  • Further reductions in average handle time
  • Further improvements in agent experience and productivity
  • Further reduction in agent training time and time to proficiency
  • Operational improvements and new revenue opportunities based on predictive analytics and insights
  • Improved quality and reduced costs for quality/compliance management

Reduce risk and avoid pitfalls with proven contact center cloud migration best practices

If there’s a benefit of being late to the cloud migration trend, it’s that you can learn from the experiences of companies that went before you and plan accordingly to avoid mistakes. Here are some of the best practices from contact centers that have taken similar journeys to the cloud:

Don't wait:

Contact center cloud migration often takes longer than planned. Delaying strategic transformation of the customer and agent experience until after you’ve completed your migration will put your contact center far behind your competitors, making it extremely difficult to catch up.

Don’t try to solve every problem with CCaaS:

While many CCaaS providers offer enhanced capabilities in the cloud, including some that incorporate conversational AI capabilities, they aren’t the answer to every issue in the customer journey.
Plan to rely on best-of-breed solutions.

Choose platform-agnostic conversational AI:

To accelerate your time to value, it’s important to choose a conversational AI and automation platform that can go wherever your contact center goes, with little to no changes between on-premises and the cloud. This gives you maximum flexibility as you move operations over time and doesn’t require you to get everything moved to the cloud first.

Make sure your solutions can be easily integrated:

Before and after your contact center cloud migration, any conversational AI and automation solutions you deploy should let you easily integrate with existing and new systems for customer relationship management, knowledge bases, and other tools, without requiring you to start over once you reach the cloud.