Contact Center as a Service Explained
Traditionally the various services of a typical contact center have been available from separate on-premise vendors. Typically, this means dealing with multiple service vendors, higher costs, and more risk of technical conflicts and issues.
This is no great surprise, as enterprise contact centers are, by their nature, sprawling with features including Private Branch Exchange (PBX), Advanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). With additional communication channels including email, SMS, instant messaging, and social media, it can become challenging to manage the quality of your communications as well as consistency.
While these parts create a conventional contact center, CCaaS takes all these separate services and pools then into one convenient package with many advantages for both customers and organization. Now, companies can work with one provider providing an entire contact center experience with streamlined per-user subscription pricing – and the extra benefits of working with one vendor for upgrades and maintenance.
Benefits of Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
As we’ve seen, CCaaS offers an attractive modern solution to businesses seeking to cut operational costs, improve customer satisfaction, and increase the efficiency of contact centers for both agents and consumers.
Below, we will explore five of the most cited benefits that organizations experience when adopting CCaaS technology.
1.) AN IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Call centers are an essential tool for business, yet traditional contact centers have often been of frustration for consumers. Who hasn’t been left dangling on an endless on-hold line, faced with a Machiavellian phone tree, and then been left with the frustration of an ineffective agent offering an unsatisfactory resolution to the issue?
These issues combine to make a bad customer experience which can go on to reflect on the business poorly – even jeopardizing its reputation in the worst cases. A unified CCaaS solution tackles these issues with a new, customer-focused service that offers multi-channel communications to fit the ways in which we communicate today:
- MULTI-CHANNEL INTEGRATION: Answer queries from emails, phone, or other methods, allowing your customers to use their preferred channel
- ANALYTIC CAPABILITIES: Understand customer issues and their history with in-built analytics that allow agents to provide insights and actionable solutions to customers rapidly
- DESKTOP ACCESS: Find the right information for individual customers with quick desktop access, reducing on-hold times and increasing resolution speeds
CCaaS consolidates your entire contact center, bringing it under a central command where information can easily be tracked – including information such as wait times and the volume of calls. Having this information better enables call center managers and agents to adjust resources and availability, increasing customer satisfaction.
2.) AN IMPROVED CALL CENTER AGENT EXPERIENCE
Traditional contact centers are the front line of an organization’s customer-facing communications – yet so often, they hamstring their agents, preventing them from offering satisfactory resolutions. Two of the biggest issues that many businesses will be familiar with are:
- Information is often separated, with access being in different systems, each siloed off from one another. In turn, getting information about products, customers, or other information can be difficult
- Old PBX technology combined with single-function servers make filtering customer data a challenge, if not impossible with multi-channel communications
Put together these two issues can frustrate customers as agents appear to be helpless due to not knowing their own products or being unable to answer simple questions about a customer’s account.
CCaaS solves this issue by introducing “connected agents” – agents who have access to all the important information on one screen. Agents spend less time clicking between screens and menus to find information, instead of focusing on the customer and delivering the right answers.
CCaaS solutions also integrate with third-party cloud services such as Salesforce, allowing a true birds-eye view of a customer’s history – including vital information such as demographics, location, and even consumer behavior and billing history. Agents can use this easily accessible information to answer queries swiftly, address issues, and even find opportunities to upsell or cross-sell where appropriate.
3.) A SIGNIFICANT BOOST TO COST SAVINGS
The cloud-based nature of CCaaS solutions, combined with their multi-channel capabilities, comes with one of the most obvious benefits that cloud-based business offers: cost savings. These savings come from many sources, including:
- No need for upfront investment in infrastructure
- Lower costs from the use of external resources
- Maximized utilization of hardware over its lifespan
- Reduced need for internal IT staffing
- Streamlined billing from multiple vendors to just one
- Reduced downtime with one vendor responsible for maintenance
These cumulative savings can add up to substantial amounts, going into tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. With no need to buy extra services, rent more office space, account for higher power bills, or invest in upgrades and maintenance, all that your organization pays is for what you need, scaling where desired.
The savings don’t end here; many businesses find that other, smaller benefits arise from adopting CCaaS too. One mentioned by many is the increase in productivity recorded by reporting and supervisory tools provided by CCaaS vendors, which enable businesses to reduce agent headcount while managing the same (or more) calls.
4.) INCREASED AVAILABILITY, RELIABILITY, AND SCALABILITY
Cloud contact centers have one very clear benefit over their traditional counterparts – one that simply cannot be matched. As organizations grow, so do the needs of customers – and that typically means spending more money.
Scaling is part and parcel of business growth, but traditional contact center technology can leave a lot to be desired; having to purchase extra capacity that never gets used or paying for licenses that you don’t need. Many organizations have rooms of unused servers and storage, purchased in anticipation of an uptick that never emerged.
Cloud services have always been noted for their refrain of only paying for what is used without compromising on availability or reliability. Even in case of disasters (natural or man-made), many providers don’t only offer, but guarantee, 99.99% uptime – a promise backed up by geographically diverse infrastructure staffed around the clock by technicians.
5.) IMPROVED REPORTING AND ANALYTICS
The top priority for all contact centers is to ensure that customers leave the interaction satisfied. While resolving an issue might not always be possible, providing an exceptional customer experience across the board can – be with the right tools and information.
Much of this exceptional service comes down to your agents’ knowledge of a customer, and that knowledge must be gathered, analyzed, and leveraged for insights. This can be challenging with traditional contact centers, but modern-day CCaaS providers with multi-channel integration can effortlessly integrate and analyze this data, consolidating it on one screen for easy access.
This access doesn’t just help your agents to deliver an exceptional customer experience, but also improve your contact center in multiple areas, including:
- Track abandoned calls and identify common hang-up points efficiently
- Record and review calls to identify agents who require more training
- Get alerts when agents are ambiguous, or use questionable words
- Obtain, record, and playback of context-sensitive call scripts
- Monitor and adjust caller queues and voice response menus automatically
These capabilities are, for the most part, automatically carried out by the CCaaS software on a continual basis. The wealth of data collected, along with the analytic output from that data, then allows your organization to make tweaks and improvements to your customer-facing interactions over time.
CCaaS and UCaas – The Future of Business
In the past, UCaaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) was used as a measure to improve communications within an organization. These days, with the cloud rapidly taking over the business world, there is a strong argument for your business to integrate your CCaaS and UCaaS into one system.
As you’ve seen, a single platform for customer-facing communications reaps many rewards – consolidating your entire organizational workforce around one homogenous communication platform can increase these benefits significantly.
The biggest of these benefits is connecting the dots and creating a workforce that is unanimously customer-facing. For example, on a support call, your agent would be able to connect with someone outside the contact center – even in higher management – to resolve an issue immediately.
Connecting frustrated customers with employees best situated to resolve their issue increases satisfaction and loyalty, displaying your organization’s commitment to customer satisfaction. This is achieved easily with a seamless, unified communication platform and increases satisfaction as a matter of course.
The future of business activity is online, and your contact center is the frontline of business communications – a place where customers will first approach you with queries, issues, and more. Organizations leveraging CCaaS technology have a natural advantage over those leveraging more traditional contact centers – which means that now is the time to start thinking strategically. The customer is king – and one of the responsibilities of your contact center is to retain your customers with impeccable service. In a competitive industry such as IT, consumers can easily choose to take their business elsewhere. The message for organizations is clear: are your internal and external communications providing your customers with the service they demand – or is it time to reassess the future of your business’ communications?