As customer expectations continue to increase and companies seek every competitive advantage, fully transitioning contact centers to the cloud is becoming an even more urgent priority. There are a variety of reasons that businesses should accelerate their decision to adopt Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions.
What is CCaaS? (Contact Center as a Service)
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions provide the same capabilities as those of on-premises vendors. The foundation of these benefits is that all of the separate parts that comprise a conventional contact center – including PBX, advanced interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD), computer telephony integration (CTI), email, text, chat, social media channels and quality management – are delivered via the cloud from one vendor responsible for all maintenance and upgrades. In other words, the provider – not the customer – owns and operates the systems and makes them available on a per-user monthly subscription basis.
CCaaS offers several enticing benefits
Businesses that opt for a CCaaS solution can gain an attractive variety of benefits related to cost, convenience, efficiency, ease of use and customer satisfaction.
Following are five benefits every CCaaS customer can expect to achieve by adopting contact center technology:
1. A better customer experience
Contact centers exist to serve customers, but traditional solutions have often seemed to fall short of fulfilling their promise. Confusing phone trees, endless on-hold times, ineffective agents and inconsistent problem resolution make for a bad customer experience, which in turn can jeopardize the entire business. In fact, Brian Solis’ research on behalf of RingCentral revealed contact centers’ chief challenge is improving and modernizing customer experiences.
CCaaS solutions are designed to be customer-centric, and they continue to evolve to fit the way people work and communicate today. A fully functional CCaaS delivers:
- Multichannel integration to let agents field queries from customers’ preferred communication channels, including social media, mobile, live chat, email, and voice calls.
- Powerful analytic capabilities that provide actionable call center insights.
- Quick desktop access to all of the tools a service representative needs to satisfy customer issues.
CCaaS solutions also seamlessly integrate email, social media, mobile, and real-time chat into a unified platform that promotes the tracking of information among those channels. They can also track customer wait times and high call-volume periods, enabling you to adjust resources accordingly and deliver a better customer support experience.
2. A better agent experience
Conventional contact centers hamper the effectiveness of service representatives in two key ways: 1) Customer, product and other information is usually separated among disparate, siloed systems; and 2) single-function servers and antiquated PBX technologies make it difficult to sift through customer data – especially when customers are now communicating via so many channels. This often makes agents appear uninformed and incapable of solving issues – and customer frustrations can only increase.
CCaaS solutions offer businesses the opportunity to deploy “connected agents” by serving as hubs that synthesize all critical information onto a single screen. This saves services representatives the time-consuming pain of toggling among different data sources, delivering vast storehouses of in-house knowledge, and providing access to third-party cloud services with critical information such as Salesforce.
In addition to matching the right agent to customers based on skillsets, screen pop-ups can provide representatives with information about previous purchases and billing history as well as behavioral, demographic and location-based customer data. Not only can this increase customer satisfaction, but it can also deliver improvements in upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
3. Significant cost savings
Moving to a cloud-based, omnichannel CCaaS solution essentially mirrors the substantial cost savings that most “as a service” cloud migrations offer. These include:
- No upfront investments
- Low power costs
- Maximum hardware utilization
- Reduced IT staffing
- Streamlined billing
- Reduced downtime
The simple fact that CCaaS doesn’t require businesses to purchase extra servers or pay for more floor space or power can save multiple tens of thousands of dollars a year. You also don’t have to pay for maintenance or upgrades, and you can scale up as needed – paying only for what you need.
Businesses experience other, less visible cost-savings benefits. For example, because CCaaS providers provide reporting and supervisory tools for agent monitoring, businesses can expect to manage more calls with fewer agents. That translates into greater productivity and headcount savings.
4. High levels of scalability, reliability, and availability
One of the universal benefits of a cloud contact center solution is that it allows organizations to instantly scale to meet business and customer demands – including the ability to add or subtract the number of agents. Gone are the days that you need to purchase additional capacity that you may never need, pay for software licenses that go unused or buy expensive servers or storage to answer unexpected upticks. The cloud mantra has always been to pay only for what you use.
CCaaS solutions also offer the highest levels of availability, reliability and disaster recovery, as most providers guarantee uptime as high as 99.99% by housing the infrastructure in geographically redundant data centers. These data centers are also staffed around the clock.
5. Reporting and analytics to improve the customer experience
If providing an exceptional customer experience is your goal – and if you’re operating a contact center, it should be your top priority – then the ability to gather, measure, analyze and leverage customer insights is an imperative. Today’s most competitive CCaaS providers offer capabilities that quickly integrate and analyze interactions across multiple channels to deliver the type of data businesses need to achieve meaningful service improvements.
Today’s contact center reporting and analytics tools enable businesses to:
- Track the number of abandoned calls
- Record and review calls to identify insufficient training
- Receive alerts whenever agents use ambiguous or questionable words or phrases
- Obtain context-sensitive call scripts
- Monitor and automatically adjust caller queues and voice response menus on the fly
Bottom line, contact center data needs to be continually collected and analyzed to enable ongoing improvements in customer-agent interactions.
CCaaS & UCaaS together: a new, customer-centric way forward
Our “What is UCaaS?” blog post defined Unified Communications as a Service and described its many benefits for employees and businesses. Traditionally, UCaaS has been deployed as a solution to improve internal communications. However, as organizations of all sizes continue to move toward the cloud at lightning speed, there’s a very good business reason to consider deploying and integrating CCaaS and UCaaS together: aligning your entire workforce around a single communications platform can provide ever-higher levels of customer service.
Being truly customer-centric means all employees are potentially customer-facing. Think about it: The ability of an agent to connect in the moment with someone inside the company but outside the contact center to help resolve an issue could take customer satisfaction and loyalty levels to new heights. Even higher, if customers could get their issues resolved right away by the office employee who has the ability to do it.
Connect the dots: UCaaS solutions streamline internal communications processes. CCaaS solutions streamline contact center processes for the purposes of improving omnichannel customer service. Integrating the two in a business environment that emphasizes customer satisfaction is a natural – even necessary – progression.
Business activity will only continue to be conducted online. It’s not a stretch to consider that the contact center will become your business’s front door, where customers will have their first interaction with you.
True, this is a new way of thinking strategically about your internal and external communications. But remember this: In highly competitive environments, customer service can be the deal-breaker.
Learn more about how contact center technology can create a better experience for customers and agents.
Originally published Jul 03, 2018, updated Sep 01, 2021