Internal or outsourced, sales- or service-based, contact centers have undergone several distinct changes in the digital era. While the services they offer may seem largely the same, evolving consumer technology tastes have transformed the exclusively phone-based model of decades past into an omnichannel experience. At a more basic level, emergent technologies such as the cloud have added significant flexibility, utility, and technical complexity to back-end operations in contact centers around the world.
Ultimately, this reliance on cloud solutions makes choosing the right SD-WAN tool a smart move for many contact centers. This technology shapes and prioritizes network traffic to help ensure mission-critical needs such as call quality and uptime are met, while simultaneously optimizing the bandwidth needed to reach them. SD-WAN solutions provide significant benefits for this unique area of business, whether it's individual contact centers working on contracts or those that serve as departments to larger organizations.
Why the Cloud Matters in Contact Centers
Of course, communication is only one role cloud technology plays in contact centers. Organizations also use the technology to assign calls, record interactions, track metrics across desks and locations, and carry out numerous other key functions, underscoring the cloud's utility in a broad variety of business functions.
In this sense, contact centers aren't too far from the average business in terms of their dependency on cloud tools. The difference comes in how deep that dependency goes. While a retailer can get out the manual card swipers when the network goes down, a contact center might not be able to place calls, document sales, or carry out other important tasks during major downtime, at least until processes are moved to a secondary data connection or similar failover responses are carried out.
However, outages aren't the only network troubles that might get in the way of a center's operations. An unexpected spike in traffic or continued overuse of network resources may cause problems that affect service quality. Callers may hear echoing or jitter, recording solutions may drop segments, and so on.
Quality, Uptime, and Peace of Mind
In all these events, the right SD-WAN tool can help ensure business goes on as usual. A network with SD-WAN capability sorts and prioritizes traffic, giving certain packets more priority than others. In other words, it knows that your main floor's voice data should get better treatment than someone browsing the web or streaming a movie while on break.
The ability to hop between networks is another critical consideration. Most cloud-based contact centers will employ secondary and even tertiary connections as failover options. The right SD-WAN tool can check all these concurrent connections for the best possible path, bolstering call quality and providing a safeguard against interruption. If it sees one connection is down or not working at its best, it automatically goes with a better option.
These factors come together to provide an extra layer of dependability and performance from all the business communications solutions a contact center might use. However, contact centers still using wired PBX should take note — if potential reliability concerns have kept you from realizing the many comparative benefits of cloud communications, SD-WAN tools can pave the way toward modernization.
Scaling Better with an SD-WAN Tool
Further, anyone with experience in the contact center world knows the industry can be volatile. This boom-or-bust nature can result in a need to scale quickly, either up or down. When an independent telemarketing company picks up a big sales contract and needs to add dozens of desks, things can get hectic fast.
Here, traffic optimization plays to the organization's favor in multiple ways. For fast-growing call companies, being able to expand without a need for a drastic uptick in bandwidth can represent major savings. This could be of particular use for centers outside of urban areas, since high-speed, high-bandwidth business connectivity options in rural and even suburban areas tend to be prohibitively expensive or nonexistent.
Adopting an SD-WAN tool can also help companies embrace the growing trend toward multichannel sales and service, a serious consideration for organizations deciding what their contact centers will ultimately look like. Squeezing more performance by optimizing bandwidth can open the door to cloud capabilities beyond calling. For example, an organization looking to add greater support to a complex product by offering video chat could shave data costs and maintain an acceptable level of quality by deploying the technology.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. While certain concerns have been around as long as contact centers have, cloud tools and their bandwidth demands make up a largely new territory. SD-WAN technology can help with both, making it a win-win for a truly unique industry.