Valued at around $30 billion and employing over 5.5 million agents, the cloud contact center market offers incredible opportunities for businesses of all scales. From routing inbound calls to managing omnichannel marketing strategies, you can get an on-premise call center on steroids – a cloud call center – at a laughable $100 a month. In 2017, only a quarter of contact centers were hosted on the cloud, but the trend was clear. Five years later, cloud contact centers are mainstream for the undeniable benefits over their on-premise predecessors. Modern call and contact centers on the cloud enable all sorts of magic, like unlocking a caller’s persona on the fly and transferring this data to a live operator who converts the call. However, such magic is not inherent to cloud call centers but only happens if the right cloud contact center software is in place. \tYou’ve got it: today, we’ll talk about cloud contact center solutions that can increase the performance of your hosted contact center and ultimately grow your bottom line. First off, let’s pinpoint the differences (if any) between cloud call and contact centers. What Are Cloud-Based Call and Contact Centers? Cloud-based call and contact centers are request-solving customer management systems hosted by a service provider. Long story short, cloud-based call and contact centers are improved analogs of on-premise call and contact centers, allowing businesses to enjoy the benefits of both worlds while not burdening themselves with the dirty job of maintenance, support, and repair. Cloud-based contact center beat their on-premise counterparts with a stick in every dimension: Cloud Call and Contact Centers On-premise Call and Contact Centers Complex setup process No setup needed Unscalable Unlimited scalability Inflexible Unlimited flexibility Medium-quality customer service High-quality customer service Hefty upfront investment of thousands of dollars No upfront investment but a small monthly fee Cloud-Based Contact Centers vs. Cloud-Based Call Centers Cloud call centers and cloud contact centers are not exactly the same thing. The former handle exclusively phone calls, whereas cloud contact centers process communications across multiple channels, including phone calls, text messages, faxing, and other touchpoints. Cloud call centers are quite narrow-focused, whereas cloud contact centers enable a plethora of omnichannel marketing strategies with much more flexibility in the transition between touchpoints. That said, much of our focus will be on phone calls as the backbone of online business. Whether you sell real estate, insurance, or language courses, at least 65% of your customers will call you, of which up to 50% will convert. The conversion rate for a well-designed cloud-based call center is absurd: up to 15 times higher than that of web leads! For the purpose of this article – dissecting the best call and contact center software – it would be safe to assume that cloud call and contact centers are the same, as they indeed are as far as cloud phone call solutions are concerned. Without further ado, let’s dig into it. 8 Game-Changing Solutions for Cloud-Based Call Centers The biggest advantage of cloud call centers is not their implementation cost but the fact that they support myriads of integrations and thus can improve as new cloud-based contact center software hits the market. From IVR to cloud PBX to predictive modeling, there are dozens of cloud-based call center solutions to generate and convert more calls. Below are the eight most powerful hosted call center solutions – all easily integrable with your cloud-based call center – to elevate your online business. 1. VoIP The Voice over Internet Protocol has long become one of the most popular cloud call center solutions, with the number of VoIP subscriptions tripled in just ten years. VoIP-driven phone systems enable calls over the Internet from any device, whether a mobile phone, tablet, desktop PC, or even smartwatch. Source: Statista VoIP converts a speaker’s voice – analog signals – into digital signals to transfer the call over the Internet and then unpacks digital signals back into the speaker’s voice to enable the call. As a result, your VoIP cloud-based contact center can make and receive cheap international calls. 2. Cloud PBX If VoIP is a technology, then a cloud PBX is a fully-fledged digital infrastructure solution for a contact center, enabling the full range of Internet communications, such as phone calls, text messaging, voicemail, and faxing. Most cloud PBX systems use VoIP as the underlying technology for transferring data over the Internet. Advantages of VoIP-Based Cloud PBX Systems Integrations Cutting-edge cloud call centers built on PBX support every existing integration for call monitoring and management. \tPhonexa’s cloud PBX synergizes with other proprietary solutions – Call Logic, LMS Sync, and Lynx – to create a comprehensive click and call management system. Flexibility Cloud-based PBX enables calls from any location and Internet-connected device, whether a mobile phone, PC, or tablet. As businesses emerge from the pandemic, having the capacity for remote work is especially essential. Scalability Cloud-based PBX can easily scale up or down as the call volume changes. Whether seasonal fluctuations or steady growth, your cloud PBX will maintain peak performance while not sacrificing the quality of service. With an on-premise call center, you must hire more sales reps as the call volume grows. With a cloud PBX system integrated into a virtual call center, you direct callers to other touchpoints, such as IVR, voicemail, and text messaging, optimizing the caller’s journey. Low Cost Cloud PBX doesn’t require an upfront investment, nor do you need to maintain the system. You will save on technicians and never run out of business due to hardware and software breakdowns or security breaches. Even when switching providers or expanding, you can do it while keeping your main business numbers, provided they are portable in the first place. Reliability Most cloud-based PBX systems have built-in redundancy to escape the bottleneck of slow Internet connection and power outages. If one of the servers goes down, another server supports the system. Cloud-based PBX systems are incredibly cost-efficient for long-distance calls, allowing you to cater to heterogeneous audiences across the globe as if they are just around the corner. Whether insurance, finance, or home services, an advanced cloud PBX will convert more callers while taking the pressure off your sales reps. Speaking of conversion, converting more callers is possible with advanced technologies within your cloud call center: call routing, call forwarding, call transfer, caller ID, and number portability. Advanced Technologies for Your PBX-Driven Cloud Call Center Call Routing Call routing technologies – intelligent call routing, rule-based routing, or a mix of hard rules, speech recognition, and machine learning – will help you connect callers to the right agent. For example, you may want to exclude new agents from receiving high-value calls, or you may want to direct local callers to local agents. Advanced call routing software will bring such whims to life. Call Forwarding Call forwarding redirects phone calls to a relevant office, department, or live operator. For example, if one of your offices doesn’t work late hours, you can auto-redirect calls to an operating office. Alternatively, you can allow your live reps to forward inbound calls manually at the press of a button. At the same time, the caller won’t even know that they are redirected: neither your phone number changes nor the time on hold increases. Call forwarding makes inbound calls more efficient while not sacrificing customer experience in any imaginable way. Call Transfer Transferring ongoing calls to a more appropriate agent will help you avoid an unfavorable situation when the caller must re-dial to get quality service. Up to 75% of callers will abandon you once they hang up, making the call transfer feature indispensable for a cloud contact center. Caller ID With caller ID, you can pre-select the name or number to display on the customer’s device upon the call, making the right first impression and preparing the customer for the call. Number Portability Number portability will preserve your most profitable business numbers – or the ones you want to keep – when switching providers or expanding while maintaining a unified communications infrastructure. Dive deep into the battle between an on-premise and cloud-based PBX to see who’s winning. 3. Interactive Voice Response Interactive Voice Response has come a long way to become the number one cloud contact center solution. Almost every call-reliant business uses an IVR system, as it is impossible to handle an increasing number of calls manually. \tThe importance of an IVR for call centers cannot be overestimated. An advanced IVR system can grow your business in every dimension, from auto-handling requests to qualifying callers to blocking fraudulent calls. However, not all IVR systems are the same, relying on different technologies: speech recognition, natural language processing, or mere keypad selections. IVR Technologies Keypad Selections Keypad selection is the most familiar call processing technology when a caller climbs the tree of choices using their phone’s keypad. Speech Recognition Speech recognition compares the caller’s speech with the recorded commands and serves the caller once the match is found. Natural Language Processing Natural language processing interprets the caller’s intent rather than comparing the caller’s speech with the recorded commands. A well-thought-out IVR system can do all sorts of wonders for your business, from completing smaller requests on the fly – for example, subscription renewal – to propping up your brand image with a professional IVR voice recording. It goes without saying that such a system is a must for your cloud call center. Want to learn IVR technologies through and through? Read this all-encompassing guide on IVR software and how it can help your business. 4. Automatic Call Distributor Working hand-in-hand with an IVR system, an automatic call distributor (ACD) routes inbound calls based on demographics, psychographics, history of purchases, agent availability, and other pre-set parameters. Likewise, it enables the callback option so your callers can schedule when they want to hear from you. Here’s how an ACD works: It’s worth noting that IVR and ACD are different technologies, albeit the latter is usually integrated with the former. \tIVR enables callers to interact with your business using voice, whereas ACD distributes calls based on predetermined criteria, sometimes allowing a manual choice of an operator or department. 5. Call Tracking Software Even a successfully converted call won’t give you much in the long run if you don’t learn from this call. But what can you learn from a business phone call? Well, more than you think. Assuming the caller first spoke to your IVR and then a sales rep, you can track three sets of data: \tMarketing data: traffic channel, advertisement, and keyword that triggered the call \tCaller data: demographics and history of interactions \tCall data: the call's timestamp and result and the caller’s feedback, if any Based on this data, your call tracking software will dissect both the customer journey and the sales rep’s performance, allowing you to design a more effective sales funnel, from acquisition to conversion to retention. 6. Call Analytics Software Collecting caller insights is half the job – the other half is interpreting these insights into effective marketing and sales strategies. If done manually, this would require tons of resources and always lag in the ever-evolving market. On the other hand, software-driven call analytics will keep you on the ball while saving your resources for tasks requiring a human touch. Call Analytics Software Toolkit Example Comparison Reports Comparing heterogeneous data sets put things into perspective, revealing your most and least successful strategies, audiences, and live operators Traffic Flow Reports Knowing the callers you deal with – exclusive, high-intent, shared, etc. – enables effective call processing strategies to generate and convert more inbound and outbound calls Filter Analyzer Uncovering untapped revenue streams maximizes your online presence and enables effective expansion to new markets Other software will have a different toolkit, but the point is that it must supply your cloud-based call center with actionable call processing insights, such as, for example, suggested updates of your call tree or a possibility for expansion. Spare 30 minutes of your time to learn to maximize your business with call analytics. 7. Predictive Modeling Speaking of expansion, you might need predictive modeling to simulate different strategies by toggling the variables you want to change. With predictive modeling, you don’t need to try anything in the real world but can simulate an infinite array of outcomes at no cost. Sooner or later, you will find that golden opportunity! 8. Ping Tree You may want to buy or sell a portion of phone calls coming to your cloud call center. And you’re not alone. Lead trade is a popular diversification strategy among businesses unwilling to rely solely on their marketing channels. However, you can’t trade calls just like that – you need ping tree technology. \tThe ping tree technology will allow you to distribute your callers to a humongous pool of buyers while knowing the value of your leads. You will be able to offer your callers to several buyers simultaneously, aiming for the highest bid. But then again, real-time call bidding isn’t the same with all ping trees, differentiating in settings, fees, and other nuances. Among other ping trees, you may want to try Phonexa’s Ping Post Calls 2.0 as a technology that makes all parties – advertisers, publishers, and callers – better off after the trade. What does this mean in practice? \tCallers near-instantly get to a relevant live operator. \tAdvertisers purchase calls at a reasonable price and of the wanted quality. \tPublishers sell their calls to reliable advertisers at the best market price. Phonexa’s All-Encompassing Software Suite for Your Cloud Call Center What if you could get everything you need for your cloud call center in one package while not overpaying for the excessive features? This is exactly what Phonexa offers. With Phonexa, you can access all eight cloud call center technologies or customize your subscription plan however you see fit. Choose your subscription plan now to get access to Cloud PBX, Call Logic, LMS Sync, and other Phonexa’s proprietary technologies for calls and clicks. Schedule a consultation to learn more. Frequently Asked Questions What is a cloud-based call center? A cloud-based call center is a virtual solution for handling customer calls over the Internet. Unlike its on-premise analog, a cloud call center integrates with advanced call technologies like call tracking, distribution, and analytics, making it a potent business solution. As a user, you only pay a monthly fee while everything else – set up, maintenance, repair, etc. – is handled by your service provider. With call management software, a cloud call center can receive and make calls from any device, perform on-the-fly and post-call call analytics, and create an effective call routing tree. That said, a cloud call center works exclusively with calls, not other types of commutation like text, live chat, or email. What is a cloud contact center? A cloud contact center is an Internet-based solution for customer service that embraces a wide pool of touchpoints, including email, social media, live chat, text, SMS, and faxing. As a user, you only pay a monthly fee while everything else – set up, maintenance, repair, etc. – is handled by your service provider. What is the difference between a cloud-based call center and a cloud-based contact center? A cloud call center only handles calls, whereas a cloud contact center handles the full range of communications, including email, social media, live chat, text, SMS, and faxing. A cloud call center is a narrow-focus solution for calls, whereas a cloud contact center enables omnichannel routing. What is VoIP? A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an Internet-based technology for transferring audio signals when the signal is first converted from analog (voice) to digital (code) and then unpacked back upon a phone call. What is cloud PBX? A cloud PBX is a SaaS system that enables a private cloud communication network for internal and external phone calls within a cloud call center. Unlike premise-based PBX systems, cloud PBX is compatible with call management software, which makes it much more practical for business. In other words, cloud PBX is a fully-fledged business phone system that uses VoIP technology to enable cost-effective calls and advanced features like call tracking and real-time analytics. An elaborate cloud PBX like Phonexa’s will support a multitude of call management solutions for comprehensive call management. What is the difference between VoIP and cloud PBX? In a nutshell, VoIP is a telecommunication technology for making calls within a PBX phone system. Comparing VoIP and PBX makes no sense (like comparing blur color to a table) because these terms are from different business dimensions. How much does it cost to set up a cloud-based call center? A cloud call center will only cost you no more than a few hundred dollars per month per agent, which is a fraction of what you would spend on an on-premise call center. Likewise, a cloud-based call center will allow you to integrate various call monitoring and management solutions to generate and convert more calls. What are the integrations for a cloud-based call center? Among the most popular integrations for a cloud-based call center are Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), Cloud PBX, VoIP, and solutions for call tracking, distribution, and analytics. What are the integrations for a cloud-based contact center? A cloud contact center will likely support all cloud call center integrations and advanced technologies like email suppression list Opt-Intel, behavior analytics HitMetrix, or automated accounting Books360. With integrations like LMS Sync and Call Logic, you can turn your cloud contact center into a full-cycle ecosystem for click and call management. To what extent can integrations improve a cloud-based call center? Integrations like LMS Sync and Call Logic will streamline your workflows, improve data management, and educate you about your customers. As a result, your cloud call center will receive and convert more calls. How much does cloud call center software cost? Cloud call center software costs around $100 monthly if you rent it from a SaaS provider like Phonexa. With Phonexa, you will get access to the most comprehensive click and call management platform without worrying about hosting, maintenance, or repair.