Customer experience is now the most essential consideration for any business.
Even with the world’s best features and price points, you’ll struggle to engage your audience if you’re not delivering the meaningful experiences that they expect.
That’s where the contact centre comes in. The contact centre forms the heart of the interactions between companies and their customers. Unfortunately, the old-fashioned or traditional contact centre might not be as efficient as it once was in this regard.
As your marketplace changes and shifts, and the needs of customers transform, a traditional contact centre makes it difficult to evolve rapidly with the times. Clunky and expensive equipment can harm the agility of growing companies. On the other hand, cloud-based contact centres delivered through CCaaS makes rapid transformation much easier.
Studies from Forrester even found that moving your contact centre into the cloud can increase satisfaction scores from 59% to 85%.
What is CCaaS, and How Does it Work?
CCaaS refers to Contact Centre as a Service. This is a cloud-based strategy for delivering all the software that a company needs for its contact centre, without the need for complex hardware or provisioning. CCaaS systems are often designed to work with the existing technology that you have in your business, as well as external devices, for remote workers.
CCaaS simplifies the process of building a future-ready contact centre. Because you’re investing in a software solution on the cloud, your initial investment costs are often lower than they are with traditional contact centres. Additionally, the costs of maintain your environment are often easier to plan too, with pay-as-you-go pricing.
CCaaS technology also includes all of the essential tools that you would expect from any contact centre, such as call routing, recording, and management systems. However, it gives you the freedom to expand your functionality and even add new people to your contact centre whenever you choose. This could mean unlocking access to things like:
- Call analytics and customer experience tracking
- Call recording and management systems
- Virtual assistants and artificial intelligence
- Intelligent IVR and call routing
- CRM integrations and other crucial extensions
- Workforce optimisation and management
What’s more, because service comes bundled in with your contact centre solution, you don’t have to worry about investing extra time and money into maintaining your contact centre on your end. The vendor you work with handles that for you.
As the cloud technology responsible for enabling CCaaS continues to evolve, the experiences that businesses can create in this environment are transforming too. Leading vendors in the marketplace are discovering new ways to improve both user and customer experience in the cloud, with technology that’s more intuitive and informative than before.
In some places, vendors are even combining other as-a-service technologies on the cloud together, to allow for a more complete single-pane-of-glass environment for the contact centre. Some of the most appealing CCaaS trends right now include:
- The complete aaS environment: Contact Centre as a Service is a solution increasingly offered by business leaders as an add-on to the UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) environment. As companies try to cut down the number of tools that employees need to jump between to stay productive, it’s likely we’ll see an increase in customisable as-a-service stacks, empowered by technology like CPaaS and APIs for more modular control.
- Workforce Optimization and Management: Workforce optimization or management tools are also increasing in popularity as business leaders continue to explore options like remote and distance working. WFM and WFO technology built into the contact centre provides a more complete overview of how all teams are operating, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside of the office. These tools can also open the door for gamification, using scoreboards and leaderboards to help team members stay motivated.
- Analytics and customer journey mapping: Analytics are an exciting potential add-on to the contact centre experience. As companies continue to gather huge amounts of data from omnichannel interactions in the cloud, analytics systems will open the door for useful insights. These insights could be essential to figuring out the unique steps customers take when making a purchase with your business. Analytics allow businesses to map customer journeys and deliver better experiences from start to finish.
- AI and Virtual Assistants: We’re a long way off from artificial intelligence being able to replace the human contact centre agent. However, in the CCaaS environment, it is possible for business leaders to empower their employees with AI technology. Tools like speech recognition services can track the sentiment in a voice and determine when an agent needs extra help. AI can also track trending questions or use voice biometrics to pop up valuable information that agents may need to contextualise a conversation.
- Improved security: The arrival of new technology for biometrics and speech recognition could also unlock new methods of security in the contact centre. Toll fraud and similar issues have long plagued the call centre environment. With unique voice fingerprints and other analytical strategies, business leaders could reduce the risk of allowing the wrong people to gain access to crucial customer details.
Here at UC Today, we endeavour to keep all of our readers up to date on the latest trends and transformations of the contact centre landscape. One of the best ways to do that is to visit the events around the world where market leaders are showcasing their latest products. Events on customer experience and contact centre technology provide an insider’s view into what’s next in the CX and CCaaS space.
Events are also an opportunity to see first-hand some of the benefits that CCaaS technology is delivering to the current business landscape. For instance, we can see things like:
- Profit opportunities for market resellers and partners: Sellers who want to add new contact centre and CX solutions into their existing communication stack can check out endless opportunities at CCaaS events. The CCaaS environment means that accessing new functionality on the cloud is easier than ever, even for resellers.
- The new platforms emerging in the contact centre: Contact centre events also help us to understand some of the latest platforms and trends emerging in the customer experience landscape. For instance, we can get an insight into the rise of video for customer service, and how chat tools like WhatsApp are becoming increasingly important to contact centres.
- Changes in the industry: Events provide an excellent platform for market leaders to discuss some of the latest discoveries they’ve found in the industry. For instance, we can learn more about how customers are interacting with the contact centre, and what kind of technology they prefer to use the most. We can also explore some of the newest technology in the landscape, from instant video conferencing services, to analytics tools.
The vast majority of CCaaS vendors in the current marketplace are communication companies that want to provide their customers with the perfect combination of internal and external communication options. Increasingly, more of today’s vendors and service providers are beginning to implement CCaaS into their portfolio as part of a complete cloud-based portfolio.
Our market guides can offer a quick overview of the who’s who of contact centre as a service. Alternatively, if you want some top tips on which companies are offering the most innovative solutions right now, check out the UC Awards page.
Remember, when you’re looking for the right CCaaS vendor, focus on:
- Support with your migration: If you’re moving from an on-premise contact centre to a cloud solution, then you need a vendor who can make the transition as simple as possible. Look for a business that can provide a phased approach if you need it, with hybrid technology and software that works on any endpoints.
- Flexible provisioning: The cloud-based contact centre landscape that’s right for you will depend on your business and the kind of experience that you want to deliver to your audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so make sure that your vendor offers the strategy that’s right for you. This could mean thinking about hosted offerings, multi-tenancy, and more.
- Reliability: Remember, the contact centre is the heart of your customer experience strategy. You need to ensure that it will continue to work well, no matter what happens. Looking for a vendor with a high guaranteed uptime and a commitment to strong reliability and redundancy is essential for any growing business.
The global cloud-based contact centre market is set to reach a value of $20.93 billion by 2022. That means that there’s a lot of opportunities out there for both existing vendors and new companies entering the CCaaS market. As the demand for cloud contact centres to ensure business continuity and growth expands, you’ll have a lot of CCaaS vendors to choose from.
Our CCaaS reviews can introduce you to the features and benefits of some of the market-leading solutions available today. We’ll walk you through the top performers in the industry so that you can make a more informed decision for your team. Some of the points to consider when you’re checking our reviews include:
- Feature set: There’s more to a modern CCaaS environment than call management. You may also need to consider a range of other disruptive capabilities too. For instance, do you need something to support call recording and intelligent call routing? Do you want the option to use virtual assistants, or empower your agents with extra AI support?
- Security: All contact centre solutions need the right security solutions in place. Some companies will offer things like encryption for all your messages and conversations. However, you’ll also need to think about where the information collected in your contact centre is stored, and how you can remain compliant with the demands of your industry. You could also consider looking into tools for fighting toll fraud and reducing data breaches too.
- Integrations: Integrations are becoming an increasingly important factor in making the modern contact centre more appealing and flexible. You might need your contact centre to integrate with your collaboration tools or your existing UC stack. The more everything works together, the easier it will be to keep track of all your tools and maintain efficiency in your workforce too. At the very least, having a contact centre that integrates with your CRM is a good idea.
If you’ve narrowed your choices down to just a couple of the top-performing contact centre as a service solutions in the market, then it’s time to put those choices head-to-head. Our CCaaS comparisons give you an insight into how two exceptional cloud-based tools perform, and what kind of businesses they might be best suited for.
While the exact features and functionality that you need for your business will vary, there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind as you compare your CCaaS solutions. For instance:
- Reporting and analytics: Reporting and analytics are the best way to make sure that you have the information you need to facilitate on-going growth. Whether it’s reports on customer experience, or insights into where the bottle-necks in your contact centre might be, you’ll need a tool that gives you a complete overview of your environment.
- Forward thinking technologies: The future is coming, whether you like it or not. Making sure that you’re prepared for new and transformative technologies could help your business to thrive. Think about things like the possibilities for automations in your workforce, natural language processing, and even AI for transcribing text to make it more searchable.
- Scalability: Make sure that any CCaaS environment you choose is capable of scaling and evolving to suit your changing needs. Cloud contact centres are excellent for adding new people and seats to your team at any time. However, you’ll also need to think about how you can scale by adding new customer service platforms and tools too. Can your CCaaS solution be as agile as you?
The UC Today CCaaS Smart Guide
Still need some extra help with your CCaaS strategy? The UC Today CCaaS Smart Guide will introduce you to everything you need to know about the contact centre in the cloud. Download our smart guide today to learn how CCaaS can deliver excellent customer experiences, transform your operations, and boost productivity.
We also have an AI-focused guide that covers a range of emerging technologies, like bringing AI in the Contact Centre, and adding collaboration into the CC environment. Get the extra insights you need today.