A Contact Center as a Service, or CCaaS, is exactly what it sounds like, contact center software that’s hosting in the cloud, and billed on a monthly per-seat basis. Like many people responsible for customer service, you’ve performed any number of searches on Contact Center as a Service, cloud contact center, hosted contact center, or something similar. And like us, you’ve found no shortage of bulleted lists of features, benefits, and CAPEX/OPEX justifications. And while all of that material paints a compelling picture, most of it misses the most important reason to adopt or migrate to a CCaaS. It is:
The Customer Experience
In today’s consumer market place of instant gratification and self-service, nothing matters more than the customer experience. Today, nearly 90% of companies report that they compete primarily on customer service. And while 80% of those companies believe they’re doing well, only 8% of customers agree. There’s a clear gap between perception and reality.
There’s a lot of material that compares of the overall cost of a cloud-based CCaaS versus an on-premise contact center. Cost-savings and reduced IT staff being a significant justification for switching the contact center from a CAPEX to an OPEX. While cost is a vital consideration, if your strategy isn’t customer experience focused, you’re doing it wrong.
So we’re going to help you assess the rationale for a CCaaS from a customer experience perspective and how it delivers what customers expect. Here are the ways a CCaaS provides exceptional customer experiences:
Customers want to interact with companies on the channel of their choice. While phone calls will always be a significant point of contact, customers want to be in control. Text messaging, website chat, video chat, social media messaging, email, and smart speakers all play a role. People want to be able to cross channels and expect the same level of service on each.
- Text Messaging: More than two-thirds of consumers prefer interacting with businesses through texting.
- Website Chat: Visiting your website is often the first step in a customer journey, delight them by engaging quickly.
- Video Chat: Convenience is critical in today’s fast-paced culture. Video chat helps to make service conversations highly interactive and personal.
- Social Media Messaging: The majority of your consumers are “living” on social media. Engaging them in this channel proves you strive to cater to their expectations.
Leading CCaaS providers all support an omnichannel strategy. Agents receive the same “screen pop” of customer information regardless of the channel the customer uses.
Customers also want you to know them. They don’t want to provide their information more than once. It doesn’t matter if they’re interacting with a self-service IVR or speaking to an agent, you should know your customer. CRM integration, with real-time updates on customer interactions, creates a knowledge trail for each customer’s journey.
- One Screen: CCaaS solutions don’t require multiple screens or monitors for your agents, everything about the customer pops on their main screen.
- Really Knowing Your Customer: Empower agents with rapid access to previous customer interactions. When agents refer to prior engagements, customers are unexpectedly delighted that you took the time to really know them.
With deep CRM integration, the prospect of Artificial Intelligence has new clarity. With AI performing repetitive analysis on customer relationships, agents could receive helpful prompts for cross-selling, up-selling, and other promotions that feel personalized to the customer.
- History: CRM integration logs a customer’s history of interaction for actionable analysis in aggregate or segments.
- Increase Sales/Revenue: The easiest sale is to a currently happy customer. Give your agents prompts and tips to upsell customers and deepen an already great experience for them.
CRM integration is a “cost of entry” capability in CCaaS solutions, but often hard (without customization and additional software) for on-premise contact centers.
Data collection across channels, interactions, self-service, and call quality is vital to any customer service operation. But without the ability to rapidly “see” the story the data tells, it’s just numbers. CCaaS solutions surpass on-premise contact centers with dashboards that provide actionable business intelligence across all points of interaction.
- Customer Journeys: Observe actual customer journeys in real-time. Get insight into where there may be areas for improvement.
- Supervisor Awareness: Real-time voice analytics and other data can alert supervisors of a potentially tricky caller. They can whisper or barge to help the agent turn around the potentially poor experience.
Real-time analytics and customizable visualizations are another “cost of entry” component in CCaaS solutions. Leveraging this data from a “customer first” vantage point is crucial for knowing how well you’re doing, and where to improve.
Scalability & Availability
No one likes to wait. And everyone expects your contact center to be up and running. Hosted on distributed server networks, cloud-based contact centers are generally immune to local and regional disruptions. Cloud environments are also capable of rapidly scaling to increased call volume or on-demand agent deployment.
- Stay Up: Always be there for your customers no matter what natural or health-related disruptions occur.
- Spin Up Agents: Rapidly respond to sudden peaks in call volume by activating additional agents in minutes.
High-availability is yet another necessary component of a CCaaS. Most larger providers deploy their systems on global clouds for exceptionally robust availability.
It’s All About The Customer Experience
There are certainly more operational and financial reasons to migrate your operations to a contact center as a service. But from our vantage point as evangelists for superior customer experiences, these four attributes of a CCaaS are the most important. Remember, customer experience is everything, and everything is customer experience.
We hope this article helped you focus your decision path in the right direction. Sometimes it can be a little daunting when you’re evaluating your alternatives on your own. We’re here to help. Contact us if you’d like to speak with one of our experts who can help create the exact solution you need for extraordinary customer experiences.