Cloud Computing is a Must for Customer Service

May 1, 2013

Cloud computing has already proven its worth in the corporate world for a variety of different purposes – human resources, public relations and enterprise resource planning (ERP), to name a few. But perhaps the greatest use for cloud applications is in customer service, where consumers have rapidly begun to note the importance of advanced technological innovations.

The era of customers simply picking up the phone and dialing to contact companies with their concerns is long gone – consumers are looking ways to contact corporate America more quickly and efficiently, often using social media, and sometimes with mobile devices rather than traditional personal computers. In a competitive business world, companies need technological solutions to make the customer service process more efficient. By saving time and money, they can get a leg up on their rivals in their respective fields.

Paul Jarman, CEO of inContact, recently wrote an op-ed for Wired magazine in which he described the need for cloud solutions in today's CRM world.

"The service industry is exploding with technology," Jarman wrote. "Businesses are left to decipher which tools and information they can and should leverage to best serve their business goals and the needs of their customers. Between mobile capabilities, social channels, massive amounts of available customer data, and the growing need for more sophisticated self-service, how can companies use technology like the cloud to be successful with the tools they deploy and in delivering a personalized multichannel customer service?"

There are a number of ways the cloud can help. Companies can use it to store data obtained through social media, for instance, or if they're particularly tech-savvy, they can organize video conferencing with customers to discuss their service concerns.

There's no denying the impact of the cloud movement. Gartner survey data recently reported by the Manila Standard revealed that the cloud and CRM are likely to drive software budgets in 2013 and 2014, with 69 percent of companies saying they plan to pour more funding into software purchases. Those who don't spend more are likely to be left behind.

Jarman notes that according to Harris Interactive data, 68 percent of Americans think companies with only an 800 phone number for customer service have become outdated, and 86 percent expect to see multiple service options. Specifically, 70 percent are asking for mobile apps.

These figures cannot be ignored. The public demands cloud-based customer service in 2013, and companies who fail to deliver are going to lose ground.