Contact centres are often perceived by businesses as ‘cost centres’, and they are often under pressure to be ever more ‘productive’ or, in other words, be less expensive to run. This is why Cloud technology has been met with such enthusiasm by call centres –and other industries– as it reduces set-up costs. However, savings are only one of the aspects in which the Cloud is beneficial, especially for small and medium businesses.

One of the revolutions the digital age has brought about is undeniably levelling the playing field and giving individuals and small businesses a voice. Whereas many talented singers and writers would have languished without recognition, they can now bypass the middleman thanks to YouTube, ebooks or self-publishing and, in theory, have the same exposure on their own.

Cloud technologies have had the same role in the contact centre world in that they give SMEs the chance to access the same features as large corporations and compete with them in terms of quality of customer service.

For example, when putting together a call centre meant a significant investment in telephony equipment and infrastructure, SMEs may have been hindered in their growth. Nowadays, the Cloud has removed the need for much of the hardware, bringing costs down and within reach of small organisations.

Then there was the lack of flexibility as one line meant one phone. Companies had only two choices: either over equip themselves to cope with higher call volumes but have too much capacity the rest of the time, or plan around their average number of calls and be overwhelmed when the traffic picked up. With cloud-based solutions, adding or removing lines is as simple as flicking a switch, allowing SMEs to control their budget.

Last, it could be difficult to upgrade systems or add features to keep up with a growing company, again because of the cost involved. It is now far easier as upgrades are likely to be digital or to involve new software rather than requiring a complete physical overhaul.

But it isn’t all about numbers. When large companies could afford bells-and-whistles systems with sophisticated features and reporting, small businesses were trying to analyse their data from spreadsheets and word processor documents, again putting them at a disadvantage. Thanks to the Cloud, they now have access to the same technology and are therefore able to compete with them.

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