Sustainability is becoming a key theme for businesses across the globe. Customers and employees are increasingly considering companies’ environmental footprints when making decisions to do business with or work for companies. Therefore Contact Centres are coming under the microscope to understand how sustainable they are.
Contact Centres were prominently based on large office complexes, consuming large amounts of electricity for powering the offices, air conditioning, desktop computers and many more. With either large comms rooms or offsite data centres also consuming large amounts of power. But as the world changed, businesses accepted that colleagues could work remotely and still do the job, seeing a reduction in lateness, sickness, and leavers, with a positive increase in customer experience and CSAT scores.
During the pandemic, many organisations had to quickly provide home working solutions as their current technology did not offer scale and flexibility and was expensive to scale out. Therefore, organisations accelerated their move to the Cloud to adopt a Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution.
With the CCaaS solution the employee only needs access to a browser and an internet connection, which offers the capability to be quickly deployed to any location. This provides a greater degree of flexibility over traditional offerings. The consumer could use their own desktop or laptop, internet cafe, remote office, just by logging directly or indirectly into the Contact Centre application.
Working remotely brings many benefits to an organisation, workforce, and the environment.
- Organisations saw a reduction in lateness / sickness and more flexibility from agents. Colleagues working hybrid or remotely saved on operating costs from office locations, as desktops, printers, telephone handsets etc. were not being used or required less. 87% of executives believe the remote workforce opens up the market for difficult-to-find talent and expands the competition for talent among organisations.
- Some colleagues found the change positive by reducing travel and not dealing with stressful traffic delays, resulting in a better work-life balance. Saving in costs to travel to work, but also impacting the environment directly by the reduced carbon emissions from travel.
- The environment has seen a reduction in travel and electricity from the consolidation to the Cloud and the reduction in travel omissions.
Many organisations are now moving the Cloud on their roadmap to meet sustainability goals by reducing their footprints with their Contact Centres by moving them from their data centres or private cloud partners. By leveraging a platform such as Amazon Connect, which offers scalability and resilience based on demand and a pricing model you only pay for what you use.
Amazon Connect is entirely browser-based, so there is no need to have powerful desktops to run the client software or handsets that require power to take calls—leading to a reduction in IT and Electricity costs to start with. Organisations with an average on-premises to cloud migration can achieve a 65 % energy reduction and 84 % carbon emission reduction.
With colleagues working remotely, many have chosen to leverage their desktops at home and access the corporate via some form of Virtual Desktop. This means that an office desktop and telephone handset is required, but the virtual desktop now sits on a virtualized desktop platform running on less hardware and overall reduces electricity and cooling costs.
With CCaaS, these services often work on multi-tenant infrastructure, therefore, sharing the resources than needing to be dedicated and power consumption computes platforms, where typically they were never fully utilised, which would often see organisations paying for computing resources that they did not need, but are a draw on the power and cooling resources.
The same applies to storage platforms that would require large storage arrays to meet the data retention requirements of the business, which then needed dedicated backup solutions. All of which required infrastructure, power and cooling to run. With CCaaS solutions, this would be covered by the inherently shared infrastructure that is used more efficiently across many organisations but in a secure and cost-effective manner. Many organisations have found that storage costs have been reduced between 50-70% on the back of such a sustainability programme.
In the Contact Centres, you would often see large plasmas displaying current promotions and current and historical statics to agents. Still, fewer of these are required, with many colleagues now having them as part of their agent desktop, removing the need for them together.
As well as the environmental impact, with using a Cloud provider they are constantly reducing their pricing which provides a cost benefit to an organisation. But with insight and monitoring tools you can see easily what is not being utilised and this can be moved to a smaller platform requiring fewer resources or being turned off completely, therefore saving more resources, than leaving running when not required. All this can all be automated, so why leave the Development & Test Contact Centre environments running out of hours during the week and weekend, they can simply be turned off when not in use or required by a script.
Traditionally development and test environments would be separate dedicated ACDs but in today’s Cloud world they can be a virtual platform, created and turned off by a script, therefore saving on power and cooling, which leads to cost savings as well as environmental savings.
Agents in the Contact Centre are also encouraged to get their contacts to sign up for paperless billing and to register for the companies online portal where all the information about their account can be found, to reduce the need on producing print runs, it also benefits the customer that the information is readily available and reduces in many instances the need to contact the organisation.
What actions can be taken and what is their impact on the environment or cost:
|No physical handset||Power consumption reductionReduction in manufacturer of physical handsets and shipping|
|Reduced number of Desktops (inc Keyboard, Mice, Monitor)||Power consumption reductionReduction in manufacturer of physical handsets and shipping|
Power consumption reductionReduction in manufacturer of physical handsets and shipping
|Reduced Office lighting, air conditioning||Power and heating|
|Reduction in on-premise Storage & Backup||Power and cooling|
|Automated shutting down of non-production environments||Power and cooling|
|Use of Virtual Desktop platforms||Power and cooling, infrastructure|
|Scalability built-in based on demand||Power and cooling, infrastructure|
|Go Paperless||Reduction in Printer Power, Cutting Down of trees to make the paper, the shipping of paper etc|
|Reduced agent commuting to CC/office||Travel emissions/carbon footprint reduced|
|Implementation of AI & self-service||Observed reduction in human resources will decrease overall footprint|
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