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New Rules for Managing Cloud-Based Contact Centers

This is a guest post by Donna Fluss, the president of DMG Consulting LLC, an industry analyst/consulting firm specializing in contact centers, analytics and the back office.

Whether your contact center is in the cloud or premise-based, it’s mission-critical for your organization. It needs to be monitored just like any other essential application. The difference is that cloud-based contact center solutions require a different kind of service level agreement (SLA) with a new set of key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs need to be updated in real time by a vendor you trust to deliver timely and accurate information. We’ve all seen the negative publicity that accompanies service outages. You don’t want to be singled out as the next one.

Here is a new set of KPIs and associated goals that DMG Consulting recommends. Cloud-based contact center vendors should provide these KPIs to their customers via a real-time Web-based monitoring environment.

New Rules for Managing Cloud-Based Contact Centers

1. Availability – The environment must be available 24x7 and not suffer from any service interruptions. (This does not mean that a vendor’s environment can never have problems; it means that the vendor has architected and designed their environment with appropriate redundancy and back-up to protect their customers under most circumstances.)

2. Mean opinion score (MOS) – The average voice quality score. If the voice quality of conversations is poor, it won’t matter that the automatic call distributor (ACD) is available. This is a very serious issue in the world of hosting, where too much traffic over a VoIP infrastructure can negatively impact the quality of the conversation. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

3. Call blocking rate – The percentage of calls that do not reach your contact center. The cloud-based vendors cannot fully control the performance of the network service providers (carriers), but should make the necessary investments and configure their environments to keep the call blocking rate at less than 1% of all calls.

4. Vendor capacity – The vendor’s ability to handle all customer traffic. Cloud-based contact center vendors should always be configured to handle at least 50% more than projected peak volumes. This continues to be a challenge for many of the cloud-based contact center vendors who are struggling to keep up with their growth.

5. Provisioning goal – The vendor’s ability to respond to a customer request. Fair or not, cloud-based vendors are expected to be more responsive than internal IT support organizations, which all too often do not respond quickly enough to meet contact center needs. (Lack of internal contact center IT support is one of the primary reasons why organizations are moving to cloud-based contact center solutions.) The standard SLA for responding to a contact center move/add/change request should be one day or less.

When negotiating a cloud-based services deal, prospects are encouraged to establish SLAs that include the five KPIs above. As importantly, the vendor must have a mechanism for monitoring and sharing their performance in a way that is transparent, accurate and actionable. The right SLAs set expectations and help to establish a positive working relationship.

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! Do you agree with Donna's suggestions? Do have suggestions of your own?

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