As published on telecomreseller.com.
In today’s digital economy, with competitors simply one click away, companies cannot afford even the smallest shortages in connectivity.
Consistent uptime has become a “must-have”, a key business imperative for companies doing transactions in a connected world. Regardless of industry or sales model (B2B, B2C), business has been forever changed by the customer’s insistence on technology excellence.
This is especially true for customer service, which today has many different flavors. Your call center cannot afford to go down. Think about the number of functions within your call center — customer service reps working the phones, those that are online and on chat and social networks, and the self-service many customers initially flock to in order to solve a problem — and you understand immediately how disastrous an outage can be.
As most industries have embraced cloud-based offerings for their call centers, vendors have responded with (sometimes empty) promises of close to 100 percent uptime. Here are some ways you can sniff out which uptime promises are true and which ones may negatively impact the customer “experience,” which many argue is as important as any sales or marketing activity.
Cloud vendors throw a lot of numbers around as it relates to uptime. It is up to you to understand what is in your contract and hold your vendor to it. When evaluating, understand the depth of the vendor’s global network of telecom providers. Do they have multiple carriers to ensure redundancy and avoid service interruptions if one system goes down? No matter how much they boast of exceptional uptime, technology will always break. Do they have the backup measures in place for when it does?
If a vendor is going to charge you more for uptime, make sure you know what you’re getting in return.
In serving your customers, you need confidence: not just in your people to have a customer-first technology, but in your technology to support it. Take Cognosante, the healthcare IT services company, for instance. The company used different contact center software in four different locations. In consolidating to one cloud vendor, Cognosante ensured that each location was backed by multiple cloud data centers (commonly known as “servers”) around the world to ensure reliability through redundancy and active failover, making its operations more efficient and reducing cost and maintenance. Check to ensure what reliability measures are in place.
The cloud is a wonderful thing: it has reduced the number of systems your IT department needs to manage and made it easier for your customers to engage. But if it all falls apart – and remember, we are dealing with technology that at some point will fail even if it is only for milliseconds – understand the costs associated with it. Cloud has delivered on its promises: outages happen less frequently and for a short period of time and businesses are no longer locked into expensive, lengthy agreements that lead to vendor lock-in. Plus, every cloud vendor worth its salt will cover outages, but know ahead of time what those outages cost. There is a big difference in business lost for a 30-second outage versus a 30-minute one.
Uptime stands to be a great differentiator for your business and can separate your customer experience from the rest of the industry – provided you understand your vendor’s uptime SLA and what happens in the event there is downtime in the network.
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