Unifying CCaaS & UCaaS – CX Today Roundtable

Five titans of the CCaaS and UCaaS spaces make the case for integrating the platforms

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Unifying CCaaS & UCaaS – CX Today Roundtable
Contact CentreInsights

Published: September 19, 2023

Charlie Mitchell

CCaaS vendors are continuously adding new solutions from adjacent markets to their rosters.

Workforce engagement management (WEM), conversational AI, interaction analytics, journey management, and digital engagement solutions… these are just some examples.

Each couples handsomely with CCaaS – as does UCaaS.

Yet, UCaaS is a crowded market and a technology implemented far beyond the confines of the contact center. As such, the “build it and they will come” mentality does not work.

Instead, several established UCaaS vendors have succeeded in moving into the CCaaS market and pulling the platforms closer.

Meanwhile, pure-play CCaaS providers have worked tirelessly to build tight integrations with some of the most prominent UCaaS players.

Both approaches to unifying CCaaS and UCaaS not only bring new capabilities to the contact center but also to the broader business.

Our panel of experts explores some of these cross-departmental benefits. This month, they include:

  • Martin Taylor, Director of Content Guru
  • Ben Neo, Head of Contact Center Sales UK&I at Zoom
  • Chris Angus, VP of EMEA at 8×8
  • Shervin Shaffie, Principal Technical Specialist at Microsoft
  • Neal McMahon, Regional Sales Lead at Avaya

After running through these benefits, each expert makes a case for working with them to ensure CCaaS-UCaaS integration success.

How Can a UCaaS Integration Improve My Contact Center?

It Connects Agents with Back-Office Experts

Taylor: Contact center agents and the native automation within CCaaS solutions, coupled with an organization’s systems of record – and ideally an overlying Customer Data Platform (CDP) – may answer most consumer questions.

However, some questions require the input of a subject matter expert (SME) – someone who works within the same organization but in the back office instead of the front-facing contact center.

Typically, those SMEs use different communications environments, often UCaaS systems – such as Microsoft Teams – or other collaboration tools.

Yet, with a UCaaS-CCaaS integration, agents may check the availability status of a back-office colleague, engage with them, and pass over case notes.

With this info, the SME can either take charge of the call or give the agent the vital information they need to handle it themselves.

It Allows the Contact Center Team to Collaborate with Other Departments

Neo: Having UCaaS and CCaaS as a single platform helps streamline conversations between frontline and back-office staff over the same app.

Yet, there are many other benefits. For instance, the contact center can share insights that may aid marketing strategies, sales campaigns, product development, and more.

These departments may also communicate through various channels. Video is one example, with capabilities – like screen sharing – often proving helpful.

Also, reverting to the employee experience, a unified platform allows agents to work from a familiar interface, where they also manage their schedules, communicate with colleagues, and share info.

Such capabilities are pivotal in a hybrid world where siloed communications often hinder exceptional customer experiences.

It Enables a Single Data Record for All Interactions

Angus: A single platform integrated solution creates a single record of data for all interactions, whether they are from chat, IVR, voice, WhatsApp, or even bot-driven.

In doing so, it increases data security, removes the risk of multi-tenant storage, and allows businesses to make faster decisions from an aligned customer view.

Moreover, the shared platform paves the way for companies to instantly close the gap between traditional frontline workers and the rest of the business.

By removing these long-established silos, employees can access SME knowledge, gain that extra support layer, and answer queries more accurately and efficiently.

It Spreads the Voice of the Customer Across the Business

Shaffie: Gone are the days of on-premise PBXs for the vast majority of businesses. Most companies find cloud solutions reliable, secure, and feature-rich. Meanwhile, IT teams enjoy not having to maintain servers/software themselves.

Once a business decides that UCaaS is the best move, it’s only natural to connect the contact center to it. After all, it pulls teams closer, simplifies customer support workflows, and helps spread the voice of the customer (VoC) across the business.

And for the same reasons that UC is now cloud first, so is the contact center. Thus, it’s a natural fit to couple UCaaS with CCaaS, and getting both from one vendor is possible!

It Supports a Total Experience Strategy

McMahon:  Today’s customers want to make contact via any channel at any time. To help agents, an integration between “front office” agents and SME colleagues – who may be in the “back office” – allows them to collaborate quickly during an engagement.

Moreover, by integrating UCaaS features – e.g. messaging and transcription – businesses can champion total experience. That means connecting CX with EX – alongside user experience (UX) and multi-experience (MX).

A Total Experience platform treats all employee-to-customer and employee-to-employee conversations as one set of channels, one set of features, and one set of users.

Having agents and SMEs using the same UCaaS and CCaaS features on the same experience platform helps everyone focus on the customer’s experience.

In addition, that customer does not get “passed around” to people who don’t have the relevant information at their fingertips.

What Benefits Will a UCaaS-CCaaS Integration Bring to the Broader Business?

It Brings Contact Center Capabilities to Employees Outside of Customer Service

Neo: Marketing and sales teams, store workers, field service people, and many other employees can benefit from access to the tools contact centers use.

For instance, consider design teams. They can use the knowledge base to uncover issues customers have with their products and develop fixes for future versions.

Moreover, when other departments can access the CCaaS platform, businesses can draft in additional employees to take calls when customer queries overload the contact center.

It Maximizes SME Support Time and Increases Customer Retention

Taylor: A UCaaS-CCaaS Integration makes back-office staff immediately available to front-office colleagues while the latter interacts with the public, minimizing requirements for follow-up interactions, which introduce significant delays.

For the organization, efficient use of SMEs and knowledge goes hand-in-hand with increasing FCR, a crucial driver of satisfaction, customer retention, and brand loyalty.

From the perspective of front-office workers, they want to be able to assist every customer but can get frustrated when the absence of tools or lack of knowledge prevents them from giving their best.

Furthermore, for front-office workers, immediate interaction with SMEs increases their satisfaction, reduces workload, and enables them to better assist the customer.

It Reduces IT Costs and Often Improves Data Management

Angus: Consolidating vendors into a unified platform helps reduce overall IT and communication costs, as businesses save money on additional hardware and license fees.

Moreover, an integrated solution provides scalability and the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs, enabling contact centers to route traffic between the UCaaS and CCaaS users.

Finally, the broader business will benefit from a  centralized flow of interaction data. Marketing, product, finance, and other teams may build this into their workflows and remain customer-centric.

It Simplifies Cross-Function Customer Experience Workflows

Shaffie: By leveraging the same UC system company-wide, businesses can streamline interactions between contact center agents and non-agents.

As a result, SME consultations and other contact center conference/transfer scenarios become simpler and more efficient.

The business may also enjoy economies of scale as costs can decrease by using the same UC solution company-wide.

Finally, end-users will enjoy a familiar experience, making user training and adoption a breeze.

Which Vendors Should Businesses Consider for Their CCaaS-UCaaS Integration?

Zoom

Zoom’s CCaaS capabilities are part of Zoom’s broader UCaaS platform: Zoom One.

Headshot of Ben Neo
Ben Neo

It’s an all-in-one communication and collaboration offering that brings together Zoom Contact Center, persistent chat, phone, meetings, whiteboard, and other solutions, meaning teams have everything they need in one place and simplifies how people work.

Additionally, Zoom is a very familiar interface for many users and has easy-to-use features designed to help employees waste less time and spend more time driving impact instead. This means that when companies adopt additional parts of the Zoom platform, such as the Zoom Contact Center, their employees will be up and running in no time.

Content Guru

Taylor: Content Guru has its own CCaaS/UCaaS solution built within its storm platform.

Organizations operating in an environment with significant customer demand peaks particularly benefit from this setup, as UCaaS users can become CCaaS agents at short notice. That helps fend off planned surges in demand and enable disaster recovery strategies.

A fully integrated storm estate also enables enhanced reporting, thanks to a real-time dashboard and historical business information.

Martin Taylor
Martin Taylor

Moreover, it links up with storm’s powerful CDP, which overlays an organization’s multiple systems of record to present a unified view of the customer experience.

However, other organizations with an existing UCaaS platform may also connect it with the storm CCaaS platform.

For instance, Content Guru offers a certified Teams integration while integrating with various third-party and back-office systems to maximize SME CCaaS-UCaaS use cases.

8×8

Angus: 8×8 integrates voice, video, chat, contact center, and enterprise-class API solutions into one global, secure, reliable cloud communications platform.

Chris Angus
Chris Angus

The combined CCaaS and UCaaS (XCaaS) platform allows customers to mix and match licenses, ensuring each user gets the desired experience. The 50+ off-the-shelf integrations and the options take this experience further.

From call activity reporting to AI-driven speech analytics and sentiment analysis, 8×8 combines and analyzes data from all communication touchpoints.

In doing so, the XCaaS platform delivers unparalleled insights that drive productivity improvements, cost savings, high reliability, revenue growth, and brand loyalty.

Microsoft

Shaffie: Microsoft offers several approaches to CCaaS and UCaaS. First, Teams Phone tightly integrates with the rest of Teams and the Microsoft 365 suite.

On the CCaaS side, there are several routes businesses can take, depending on their requirements:

Shervin Shaffie
Shervin Shaffie
  1. Teams Phone has native auto attendant, call queue, and voice channel capabilities, ideal for smaller, less demanding call centers. This comes at no additional cost with Teams Phone.
  2. Customers can select one of several certified contact center partner solutions that work with Teams Phone for more advanced contact center capabilities.
  3. Microsoft’s premium contact center platform is powered by Dynamics 365 under the digital contact center umbrella. It is best suited for larger, more demanding contact centers requiring the latest features and functionality.
  4. With Microsoft’s Azure Communications Services (ACS), businesses can build custom contact center solutions that integrate with various UC applications, mobile devices, websites, and more.

Avaya

McMahon: Today’s market has several “UCaaS only” and “CCaaS only” vendors. Furthermore, in the main, these vendors tend to have a single solution available to customers – irrespective of customers’ needs.

Neal McMahon
Neal McMahon

In short, these vendors have no choice but to prescribe the solution before diagnosing the requirement. Yet, customers want choice and, importantly, consolidation.

Where tightly integrated front-office and back-office solutions are in demand, disparate solutions will inevitably lead to “finger-pointing” in case of an issue – and customers suffer as a result.

Avaya has an end-to-end UC and CC solution set that removes complexity for the customer and a deep portfolio that customers can pick from to customize these cross-platform experiences.

Miss out on our previous CX Today roundtable? Check it out here: Contact Center Compliance: The Pitfalls, Best Practices, and Tech

 

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