Keeping Up with 21st Century Innovation June 16, 2016 RICCentre Over the last two decades, relationship marketing has taken center stage, purporting to solidify relationships with consumers and generate increased revenue in the long run. A fundamental component of relationship marketing is the ability to communicate with the customer via a central contact center. Hosting a premises-based contact center can be costly, so the smart business executive may want to look to the cloud. It Costs Less Given the fact that you need to interact with your customer base, your choice becomes hosting your own center or placing it on the cloud. Premises-hosted contact centers require servers, software and worker stations that can tally more than $200,000 to start. After that, there are staffing and updating costs that are reoccurring year-to-year. A cloud-based system, because it can share costs over many clients, comes in at around a third of the annual cost of premises based option, giving you a better return on investment. They Stay up to Date Cloud systems own their software and share it with clients. Called Software as a Service (SaaS), this is one of the perks of a cloud system. Since one of the things that you are paying for when purchasing a cloud-based contact center package is the software, it typically falls on the host to keep the software up to date. This applies to the cyber-security suites as well. Updating both of these platforms could be very expensive if you had to do it yourself but the center host gets economy of scale discounts that make the endeavor cost efficient. It Is More Efficient Simply put, cloud-based contact centers are more efficient. Research comparing before and after results of implementation found that efficiency rose, in some cases as high as 80 percent. The same study also showed that customer satisfaction as a result of these proficiencies quadrupled. If your goal is to create solid, long-term relationships with your clients, this is the way to do it. There Is an App for That There are nearly 200 million smartphone users in the United States, which is shaping the way that we do business. Users are increasingly favoring smartphone interactions over live conversations. Cloud-based centers are better designed to handle application driven transactions. Using an app will move the exchange from problem-focused customer service to something that fits into your whole marketing campaign. Advertising, marketing communication and social media can all run through the same contact center via one smartphone app. It Is Part of Your Sustainability Plan You want your business to be around for a long time, even after you are no longer around and it is part of your legacy. You want to have a sustainable business meaning that it is good on the environment and the environment is good to it. In the case of a local natural disaster, your business could be quickly destroyed. A cloud-based center is not local so you still have the ability to communicate with customers, maintaining relationships and keeping your business going even in the worst situations. It Is the Wave of the Future Jumping on the bandwagon is not always that best strategy but in the case of cloud services, it is the way to go. About 20 percent of businesses are moving to the cloud annually. This means that the technology is going to keep getting better while driving prices down.