Customer Contact as a Service (CCaas): How the Cloud is Changing Call Centers
CCaaS software has made a major impact on many company's communications with their customers, but surprisingly many businesses are relying on old 'call center' technology. With remote working becoming more prevalent during the health emergency, CCaaS software has swooped in to fill the needs of these companies. It turns out there's more than just convenience added, so we'll likely see this software become the industry standard soon.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based customer experience tool that allows companies to use inbound customer service software from anywhere with an internet connection. Traditional contact centers require in-house servers, software maintenance, and in some cases IT staff on hand. Twenty years ago, rows of workstations were all connected on one network while now, customer service or fulfillment specialists can log in from anywhere in the world and meet a company’s needs. With the tenuous situation from Covid-19, more companies are seeing the functionality of work-from-home situations and turning to CCaaS technology.
In the early 2000s, companies such as inContact, Five9, and Interactive Intelligence saw a huge opportunity to take traditional call center software and host it in the cloud. Although cloud storage and software is standard today, back then it was a technological feat. Agents could now log in to any internet browser and access the same CRM systems as if they were in the office. This first wave of CCaaS services not only offered convenience, it also included benefits such as lower maintenance costs, the ability to reduce IT staff, and the ability to scale up and down seamlessly to meet seasonal demand. But some of the architecture it was initially built on created limitations.
The more recent wave of companies have seen new technology incorporated, and also investment from larger companies in the cloud server space. There were certain limitations to the first products on the market such as its hosting methods. Many of the CCaaS providers experienced major down times given the major bandwidth costs to cloud services, and updates were slower than regular development cycles. After more investment, the technology was transferred to cluster-based environments with flexible and scalable hosting capability. Now, companies have contractual agreements to have 100% uptime, which is a new milestone reached by TalkDesk– other providers guarantee 99.9%.
Another significant recent improvement is the compatibility with 3rd party software and tools. Often times clients will have multiple systems to navigate from their CRM software, Database Management, Accounting, etc. This creates headaches for everyone involved. When a business relies on customer phone experiences with high volumes, any time lost navigating software is money lost. So, having a tool that works with all your systems, and even streamlines processes, is a major plus.
Other new innovations in CCaaS that have become especially relevant in 2020 is the phone application capability. Having a flexible tool that can allow staff to log in at a moment’s notice, on the subway or waiting for carryout, is the ultimate scalability. These service features are helpful for your staff on the receiving end, but for a company’s potential customers there’s new options as well. Cloud-based customer care/contact center solutions offer the ability to communicate with their audiences across multiple channels, including SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, RCS, and the old phone line of course.
The current business environment of call center-based services is generally behind the times. In a recent Aberdeen study, only 36% of call centers are using cloud technology. This means almost two thirds of customer contact centers are relying on old technology. Many of these businesses or services have had to rapidly transition to some sort of remote tool given the stay-at-home orders in some areas. This rise has piqued the interest of industry watchers, and it is currently projected that the global contact center software market is expected to grow to $50B by 2025. As software tools across industries are going to the cloud, this massive growth projection comes as no surprise.
Milestone Marketing Solutions has formed great partnerships with contact center-based clients and can speak to the necessity of maintaining the most recent technology to meet demand. All corners of the economy rely on powerful customer communication tools– if it’s a service need or a sale. Our expertise is in driving the customer’s interest, but we can certainly speak to general contact center technology needs, so please reach out!