Contact centres adapting to cloud and social media technology

Technologies such as cloud computing and social media are transforming how contact centres do their business by enabling cost savings and improved service levels

Karl Flinders Karl Flinders

I am Computer Weekly's services editor. My main focus areas for stories are financial services and outsourcing.

Typically for financial services I write about how the retail and investment banks are harnessing technology and how systems can be used to help companies meet regulations such as Basel II and the Markets in Financial instruments Directive (MiFID).

Outsourcing is relevant across all business and technology sector and focuses on the strategic and cost cutting benefits associated with outsourcing IT.

Topical issues include the insourcing versus outsourcing debate and whether it is better to off-shore, near-shore or on-shore your outsourced technology.

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Technologies such as cloud computing and social media are transforming how contact centres do their business by enabling cost savings and improved service levels.

Nearly half of the 103 IT directors and contact centre managers interviewed at the Contact Centre Expo event by Siemens Enterprise Communications, said they are integrating social media into the business while 71% were using or planning to use the cloud.

Cloud computing is seen as a way of providing cost savings and increasing the speed of introducing new services. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is being used as an additional route to customers.

"The survey shows how Britain's contact centres, undeterred by the current financial climate, are continually innovating to drive higher customer satisfaction levels," said Kathryn Penn, UK contact centre portfolio manager at Siemens Enterprise Communications.

"It's impressive that they are not only harnessing new ways to interact with customers and answer their queries more quickly, they are also achieving clear cost savings when they do."

The findings of the survey included:

31% of respondents saw multi-channel service as the biggest contact centre trend followed by 21% viewing cloud computing as the top market change.

71% were either using or planning to use cloud computing platforms

Nearly half are integrating social media channels into operations - the most popular was Facebook (45%), then Twitter (44%) and LinkedIn (21%).

56% saw cost savings as the key benefits that the cloud delivered while 42% named fast deployment as its main advantage.

Over half said social media gave them another customer communication route while 22% said it support their brand's reputation.

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