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Contact Centers Can Benefit from SD-WANs: Here’s How
Contact centers benefit from software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) in a myriad of ways, from simplifying network architecture and reducing costs to enhancing the customer experience. Knowing what’s driving the old call center model replacement is key to understanding how SD-WAN works and how it’s enabling contact centers to better-meet current application, performance, connectivity, scalability, and reliability requirements while driving down costs.
Digital Transformation Fuels Call Center Transformation
Digital transformation has touched nearly every aspect of modern business, including how, when, and where customers interface with enterprises for service and support. In the past, customers typically called representatives located in a corporate call center equipped with a phone bank. These call centers usually connect to an enterprise-based data center via multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) leased lines, configured in a hub and spoke network architecture. With the advent of new digital technologies, traditional call centers, and the WAN architecture serving them, they’re becoming antiquated.
Multichannel Contact Centers
Delivery methods in contact center customer service have also changed. In addition to inbound and outbound calling, they use virtual agents with artificial intelligence (AI), live chats, chatbots, email, text messages, social media, videoconferencing, and others to interface with customers. Many of these applications, as well as data storage, reside in a multi-cloud environment. As a result, traffic patterns have altered, and the demand for increased bandwidth has grown, further obsoleting hub and spoke, data center-centric, MPLS-based WAN networks.
Continued Demand for Predictability, Reliability, Cost Improvement
As contact center services and connectivity become increasingly complex - a trend that will continue - the need for predictability, reliability, and cost containment remains the same. If anything, this demand has increased as customer expectations and contact center services expand. All this (and more) places an increased burden on enterprise WANs to deliver quality, security, predictability, and reliability. At the same time, IT and network administration organizations must contain and improve costs as enterprises look for ways to boost profits.
Changes in Scope and Customer Expectations
In addition to this interrelated labyrinth of alterations, the call center’s purpose and complexity have dramatically transformed. As businesses learn to adapt and remain competitive, contact centers do more than provide customer care. They also support revenue-producing services designed to differentiate and increase profit margins, such as tiered technical support plans.
In today’s fiercely competitive customer-first marketplace, information captured by contact centers about customer’s personal preferences help enterprises take steps to better relate to and respond to customer needs, which leads to improved satisfaction and retention. At the same time, customers want to interact with contact center agents from anywhere, anytime, over any interface. Their tolerance for slow response times and technical “glitches” is low, and they expect consistent, high-quality contact center experiences earmarked by clear continuous calls and seamless, responsive, uninterrupted application performance.
SD-WAN Solves Issues for Contact Centers, Simplifies Network Administration
Transport-agnostic SD-WANs support any mix of connections, including broadband, MPLS, 4G LTE, 5G, and the Internet, allowing enterprises to leverage and optimize any combination of public and private transport services. SD-WANs utilize software to dynamically prioritize and route traffic across the WAN based on application and quality-of-service (QoS) requirements for performance and security. Furthermore, built-in network resilience tools enable SD-WANs to handle high surges in network traffic elegantly and eliminate blockages. Effectively managing traffic spikes also increases contact center agent productivity by reducing or eliminating lag time and improving application accessibility. With centralized visibility, increased control, and the ability to improve network performance, SD-WANs simplify network administration while delivering agility, reliability, and QoS based on flexible, defined policies.
SD-WAN Supports Virtual Contact Centers
Spread throughout regional, national, and international locations with a growing number working remotely, agents require reliable, on-demand access to bandwidth-intensive cloud-based applications, including contact center CRM. Since transport-agnostic SD-WANs connect remote locations easily and affordably, they enable businesses to efficiently serve a distributed workforce that requires multi-cloud connectivity and application performance while cost-effectively eliminating potential network bottlenecks.
Scalable, Secure Cloud and Multi-Cloud Connectivity
Application and service requirements evolve at breakneck speed within today’s dynamic marketplace. The ability to swiftly scale and add new contact center services and features using applications and platforms that reside in the cloud is vital. The SD-WAN model keeps pace with these requirements while providing security, reliability, and the ability to scale access up or back as needed. Unlike traditional WAN technology and a data center-centric network model, SD-WANs have the flexibility and intelligence to adapt to these new and evolving connectivity requirements, network demands, and traffic bursts.
Future Flexibility, Scalability
With these and other enhanced capabilities, SD-WAN benefits for contact centers are demonstrable and far-reaching. SD-WANs not only offer solutions in today’s environment, but they also provide a scalable, flexible WAN architecture that will enable you to meet business and customer needs and handle demands in the future.