Traditionally, call centers have been located in a distinct physical space that houses not only the agents working the phone system but the hardware, software, and infrastructure needed to make the call center function. More and more, however, businesses are turning to the cloud to host their call center infrastructure in a way that’s limited by neither geographical bounds or physical space.
Table of contents
- Cloud based call center software
- On-premise phone system
- Cloud vs. On-Premise Call Centers: Major Differences
- Choosing the best fit for your business
Read on as we explore the key differences between cloud and on-premise call centers and how to decide which is the best fit for your business.
Cloud based call center software
You probably understand that being “in the cloud” means something is accessed by the internet. For a call center, it simply means that’s where all outbound and inbound customer communications are handled, rather than on local machines at a company’s physical headquarters.
With a cloud-based call center, all customer interactions over voice, text, email, and social media take place online, and they can happen from anywhere with an internet connection. Instead of being stored in one place, the data needed to make these interactions happen is stored in many places–remote data centers on business servers–and is called up, pieced together, and delivered instantly when agents need it.
On-premise phone system
Traditionally, businesses have relied on on-premise call centers to handle their customer interactions. These centers are location-based, with all of the hardware, software, and infrastructure needed for the call center to function located in one place on dedicated servers owned by the company. An organization’s own IT team is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of these servers as well as updating them every few years or as new functionality is needed.
With an on-premise call center, agents typically work onsite using the company’s hardware, like a desktop computer and headset, and accessing their work software via a hardwired connection.
Cloud vs. On-Premise Call Centers: Major Differences
Setup price and ongoing costs
In terms of costs, choosing between an on-premise call center and one that’s based in the cloud means choosing between up-front or ongoing expenses. An on-premise call center comes with a hefty front-end price tag for all of the hardware, labor, space, and other costs that come with getting everything set up. The system will need to be updated every few years as technology evolves, and that will cost you each time. A cloud-based contact center has low setup costs and instead is paid for via a monthly subscription with a predictable, recurring fee.
Hardware installation time
Setting up an on-premise contact center typically has a timeline of several months as companies buy hardware, acquire the necessary licenses, set up the software, and construct any buildings that are required to house the call center infrastructure. Cloud-based call centers are set up via an app that’s installed on a computer, so you can be up and running in a matter of hours.
In an on-premise call center, agents routinely rely on more than one application to do their jobs. In fact, most use between four and ten. All that time spent manually switching back and forth between programs adds up, not to mention the lag time as the system catches up.
In a cloud contact center, all the functions an agent needs are available in a single application, which ends the screen-toggling runaround. Convenient features like auto-dialing and automatic consent gathering are baked into the software to minimize the steps required to service each call.
Maintenance and upkeep
As we mentioned earlier, maintenance and upkeep of a traditional call center falls to that company’s IT staffers or contractors it hires, which gives the organization maximum control over its functions. A cloud-based contact center, on the other hand, is maintained by its service providers. Because legacy systems can be complicated and costly to update, companies often put off updates for longer than is advisable. This only compounds the problem of outdated technology. With a cloud-based platform, it’s easy to make changes as soon as new technology is available with little impact on costs or service levels.
Reliability and downtime
Reliability is one of the biggest challenges with an onsite call center. Because it’s location-specific, it’s susceptible to anything that happens at that location, be it a construction mishap that knocks out power or a storm that floods the server room. If any of those incidents occur, you’ll need to wait not only for the problem to be fixed (the power line reconnected or the water removed, for example), but also for an engineer to get there and bring the system back online. This can mean a significant amount of downtime that threatens business continuity.
Because of their geographical redundancy, cloud call centers have a much more reliable architecture. Cloud-based systems can achieve close to 100% uptime as long as agents can be somewhere with a strong internet connection.
It’s standard practice for customers to be transferred to the most appropriate agent for their inquiry, whether that’s setting up a new account or troubleshooting a technical issue. With an on-premise call center, that happens via a phone transfer, which may include manually dialing another agent’s extension and hoping they’re available. A cloud-based contact center uses automatic call distributors to direct callers to the most relevant agent right off the bat, minimizing handoffs and accelerating resolutions.
If a customer told you they wanted their delivery order on Tuesday, you wouldn’t send it on Friday instead. So why would you disregard their preferences when it comes to support channels?
Both on-premise and cloud-based contact centers can offer diverse channels like phone, email, live chat, and text messaging. However, on-premise call centers often run into the technology issue we touched on earlier, requiring agents to switch back and forth between different apps, which wastes time. Cloud call centers facilitate speed, streamlining customer interactions from all channels into one continuous, easy-to-follow conversation.
Security and privacy
According to the 2021 Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach report, a security incident costs companies an average of $4.24 million, the highest reported cost in the 17 years the institute has been releasing the report. Protecting your balance sheet and your brand reputation from such a breach is essential.
Onsite call centers offer a high level of security because a hacker would need to breach your servers in person to gain access to the data on them. It’s a misconception, however, that cloud data centers are any less secure; most are protected by military-grade security and monitored around the clock by the industry’s foremost experts.
Your business utilizes countless different services — a CRM, an eCommerce platform, customer feedback surveys, social media apps, to name a few. Making all of these services communicate with one another can be a dramatic time saver. With an on-premise call center, it’s possible but complicated, requiring your IT teams to manually connect disparate applications through custom coding or other workarounds. A cloud contact center integrates with other services seamlessly, allowing all of them to share information and improve the quality of your interactions.
Choosing the best fit for your business
For some organizations, an on-premise call center signifies stability and familiarity. It’s what they’ve always known and what they’re used to using. It doesn’t require introducing and training agents on a new application.
On-premise call centers:
- Allow you to purchase only the equipment you need
- Don’t require monthly payments
- Give you maximum control over your hardware and software
- Store your data in house
Cloud-based call centers offer adaptability and the capacity for innovation. By unifying all communication channels, they allow you to meet the customer where they feel most comfortable.
Cloud-based call centers:
- Can be deployed quickly with lower up-front costs
- Can be scaled and modified easily
- Record 100% of interactions for simple call quality monitoring
- Facilitate better customer experiences
- Empower agents
- Bolster business continuity planning
The best type of call center for your business will depend upon your goals and financial priorities, so you’ll want to consider these things closely when making a decision.
LiveVox’s cloud approach
LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that integrates omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WFO capabilities. The company prioritizes offering a seamless agent experience, which powers more positive interactions, and an exceptional customer experience, which drives lifetime value and aids in new customer acquisition.
With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox helps companies prepare for the business landscape of tomorrow with its industry-leading cloud software-as-a-service platform. The company has more than 500 employees around the world, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. Its headquarters are in San Francisco.
Contact us today for more information
Moving your call center infrastructure to the cloud can help you scale quickly, differentiate your business from competitors, exceed customer expectations, and comply with all regulatory requirements. Learn more about the benefits of choosing cloud or get answers to any further questions by contacting us now.
Cloud Vs. On-Premise Call Center FAQs
Cloud based call centers can be deployed quickly with lower up-front costs, can be scaled and modified easily, and records 100% of the interactions for simple call quality monitoring. An on-premise call center solution allow you to purchase only the equipment you need, don’t require monthly payments, and gives you maximum control over your hardware and software.