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What is CCaaS?.

Jeanine Desirée Lund
Content Marketing Specialist
What is CCaaS

Last updated: June 2024

Learn about Contact Center as a Service, also known as CCaaS, its benefits and features, and how organisations can use CCaaS to build better customer experiences.


 

Organisations are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions to stay competitive, with Contact Center as a Service platforms gaining significant popularity. And for good reason. Cloud-based contact centers offer many benefits to businesses, including flexibility, cost-effectiveness and scalability.

But what exactly is CCaaS? And what are the benefits and features? 

Let’s explore what CCaaS is, how it has evolved, and the benefits of cloud contact centers in building better customer experiences.

What is a Contact Center as a Service?

 

As the name suggests, a CCaaS, or Contact Center as a Service, is a cloud-based solution that provides organisations with the necessary infrastructure and tools to manage customer interactions across multiple communication channels – in other words, offer service to customers. That’s also the reason why many organisations call it a customer experience (CX) platform.

Unlike traditional on-premises contact centers, which require significant investments in hardware and maintenance, CCaaS solutions are hosted in the cloud and accessed via the Internet. This allows businesses to leverage the latest technologies, scale their operations effortlessly, and deliver exceptional customer experiences without the need for extensive IT resources. 

The evolution of CCaaS platforms.

Contact center technology has come a long way since the first traditional call centers emerged in the early 1960s. Back then, customer service operations were handled through physical call centers, where agents managed inquiries via telephone.  

But with the growth of technological advancements like smartphones and communications channels, coupled with increased customer expectations, new features and functionalities were integrated into contact centres to handle incoming customer queries more efficiently. And with the rise of cloud technology, traditional on-premises contact centers slowly started to move to the cloud, giving birth to what we know today as cloud contact center solutions, or CCaaS.  

CCaaS vs. On-premises contact centers

As customer service evolves, businesses are faced with a critical choice: Should they opt for a Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution or stick with traditional on-premises contact centres? This decision can significantly impact their ability to deliver on the expectations of modern customers.  

In short, a cloud contact center (CCaaS) is hosted, as the name suggests, in the cloud via the Internet. On-premises contact centers, on the other hand, rely on physical installations within the organisation’s premises, which require substantial upfront investment in hardware, software, and infrastructure.  
CCaaS vs. On-premises contact centers
Let’s look at the key differences a bit further.

Cloud Contact Center (CCaaS): CCaaS solutions are hosted in the cloud and leverage cloud technology to deliver scalable and flexible customer service capabilities. They operate on a subscription-based model, allowing organisations to pay only for the services they use, eliminating the need for significant upfront investments in on-premises hardware. Cloud contact centers offer numerous benefits, including remote accessibility, rapid deployment, and seamless integration with other cloud-based applications. 

On-Premises Contact Center: Also known as a hosted contact center or on-site contact centers, are managed and maintained within the organisation's premises. They require substantial upfront investments in hardware, software, and IT infrastructure. While on-premises contact centers provide greater control over data security and customisation, they may lack the scalability and agility that cloud solutions offer. 

6 benefits of CCaaS

Cloud contact centers are gaining more popularity every day. In fact, the Contact Center as a Service market is expected to double in five years, forecasted to reach $19.8 billion by 2031.  

But why are they so popular? For starters, CCaaS makes it significantly easier for organisations to meet the needs of their customers. As it’s in the cloud, it’s easier for businesses to scale up as their customer base grows. Plus, with remote working becoming a norm, cloud contact centers support the flexibility of agents working from different locations.  

6 benefits of CCaaS

Let’s dive deeper into the main benefits of CCaaS:  

1. Flexibility for remote work 
As briefly mentioned, CCaaS platforms provide the flexibility businesses need to adapt to today’s increasingly remote and hybrid work environment. Agents can access the contact center platform from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing for seamless remote work capabilities. This flexibility not only supports business continuity but also enables organisations to tap into a broader talent pool, as they are no longer restricted by geographical limitations. 

2. Budget friendlier 
One of the most significant benefits of CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike traditional on-premises contact centers that require substantial upfront investments in hardware, software, and infrastructure, CCaaS operates on a subscription-based pricing model. This allows organisations to pay only for the services they use, providing predictable monthly expenses and eliminating the need for large capital expenditures. Additionally, ongoing maintenance and upgrades are managed by the service provider, further reducing costs and allowing businesses to allocate resources more efficiently. 

3. Enhanced customer experience (CX) 
CCaaS makes it easier for organisations to keep up with changing customer behaviours due to its flexibility and scalability. It significantly enhances the customer experience by offering a seamless, omnichannel approach to customer service. Customers can interact with businesses through their preferred channels—be it phone, email, live chat, social media, or SMS—ensuring a consistent and personalised experience. Advanced features such as intelligent routing, real-time analytics, and AI-powered chatbots enable quicker response times and more effective issue resolution, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

4. Improved operational efficiency and productivity
With CCaaS, contact centers can streamline their operations and improve productivity. The integration of advanced tools such as omnichannel routing, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, and workforce management solutions helps in optimising agent performance and reducing operational bottlenecks. Real-time analytics and reporting provide insights into key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling supervisors to make data-driven decisions and continuously enhance service quality. 

5. Faster deployment and easier maintenance
Deploying a cloud contact center is significantly faster and more straightforward than setting up an on-premises solution. Since CCaaS solutions are hosted in the cloud, there is no need for extensive hardware installations or complex software configurations. This leads to quicker implementation times and allows businesses to start delivering enhanced customer service much sooner. And, the service provider handles all maintenance and updates, ensuring that the contact center operates smoothly without downtime or disruptions. 

6. Disaster recovery and business continuity
CCaaS offers robust disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities. Because the infrastructure is hosted in the cloud, it’s inherently more resilient to physical disruptions such as natural disasters, hardware failures, or other unforeseen events. Service providers typically have multiple data centers and backup systems in place, ensuring that customer interactions can continue uninterrupted even in the face of significant disruptions. 

Key features of a Contact Center as a Service

We’ve looked at the benefits of implementing a Contact Center as a Service platform, but what does a CCaaS solution include? Here are some typical features of such platforms.

Omnichannel support and routing tools 
Customers don’t want to repeat themselves or experience disconnected customer journeys. In fact, 73% of consumers expect a seamless transition between channels. One of the standout features of Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is its robust omnichannel support, making it easier for organisations to meet the needs of today’s customers.  

CCaaS platforms integrate various communication channels, including voice calls, emails, live chat, social media, and SMS, into a single interface. This allows agents to manage customer interactions seamlessly across multiple channels, providing a consistent and personalised experience. Customers can switch between channels without losing context, ensuring their issues are addressed efficiently and effectively.  

Workforce management tools 
When operations run smoothly, organisations can offer better customer experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to have an optimised workforce from the start. Many CCaaS providers offer workforce management solutions that enhance the process of workforce scheduling, enabling organisations to ensure that the right number of agents are available at the right times, easily and efficiently. Typically, a workforce management solution, or WFM, includes features like forecasting, scheduling, and reporting. 

Advanced analytics and reporting tools  
CCaaS solutions come equipped with powerful analytics and reporting tools. These tools provide real-time insights into key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average handle time, first call resolution, and customer satisfaction scores. Advanced analytics help supervisors and managers track agent performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve service quality. Customisable dashboards and detailed reports enable contact centers to continuously monitor and optimise their operations. 

Self-service options
Customers want effortless self-service solutions. With CCaaS platforms, integrating self-service options such as FAQs, knowledge bases, and chatbots enables organisations to empower customers to find answers on their own, without the need for a live agent. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also reduces the workload on the contact center. 

Integrations with CRM and other systems 
Integration capabilities are crucial for a comprehensive customer service strategy. CCaaS platforms seamlessly integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and other business applications, such as workforce management and helpdesk software. This integration ensures that agents have access to complete customer profiles, interaction histories, and relevant data, enabling them to provide more informed and personalised service. It also streamlines workflows, reduces manual data entry, and enhances overall efficiency. 

AI and Automation 
AI is here to stay – and it’s a powerful tool in modern CCaaS solutions. AI-powered bots, like chatbots and voicebots, handle routine inquiries, provide instant responses, and guide customers through self-service options, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues. With sentiment analysis and natural language processing, AI can enable organisations to deliver more tailored replies to customers.  

These technologies enhance the efficiency of contact centers, reduce wait times, and improve the customer experience by offering immediate assistance. 

Security and compliance features  
Security and compliance are top priorities for contact centers, especially those handling sensitive customer information. CCaaS platforms are designed with robust security measures, including data encryption, secure access controls, and regular security audits. These measures ensure that customer data is protected against unauthorised access and breaches.  

Additionally, CCaaS providers typically comply with industry standards and regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS, helping organisations meet their legal and regulatory obligations. 

Related resource: The importance of moving from on-premise to cloud-based tech 

How CCaaS enhances customer experience (CX)
How CCaaS enhances customer experience (CX)

Above all, cloud contact center solutions are powerful tools that enable organisations to deliver even better customer experiences. And that’s important, as one in three customers would walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience, according to PWC.  

Let’s look at how a CCaaS platform can help organisations enhance their CX. 

Personalisation and tailored interactions 
Personalisation matters and here’s why: 80% of customers state that they are more likely to do business with a brand that offers a personalised experience. And, data from McKinsey suggests that nailing customer personalisation can deliver eight times the associated ROI.  

CCaaS platforms excel in delivering personalised customer experiences through advanced analytics and integrated CRM systems. By leveraging comprehensive customer data and interaction histories, agents can anticipate customer needs and preferences. This allows for tailored interactions where agents can offer relevant solutions and recommendations, enhancing overall satisfaction and loyalty. Personalisation extends across all communication channels, ensuring a cohesive and customer-centric experience. 

Real-time support and faster response times  
CCaaS enables real-time support capabilities that significantly reduce response times and improve service efficiency. With omnichannel routing and AI-driven automation, customer inquiries are promptly directed to the most appropriate agent or automated system. AI-powered chatbots provide instant responses to common queries, resolving issues quickly and enhancing customer satisfaction. Real-time monitoring and analytics further empower agents to address issues proactively, ensuring timely resolutions and minimising customer wait times. 

Consistent service across all channels  
A key advantage of CCaaS is its ability to deliver consistent service experiences across multiple communication channels. Whether customers prefer voice calls, email, live chat, social media, or SMS, CCaaS platforms ensure seamless interactions without losing context. Agents have access to unified customer profiles and interaction histories, enabling them to provide consistent information and support regardless of the channel. This consistency builds trust and reliability, enhancing the overall customer experience and fostering long-term relationships. 

How to choose CCaaS provider

Choosing the right CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) provider is crucial for the success of your customer service operations. And it can be quite a process. Here are essential steps to consider when selecting a CCaaS provider and implementing it within your organisation.

Assess your current needs and goals 
Before selecting a CCaaS provider, it's essential to assess your current contact center operations and identify your goals for adopting a cloud-based solution. Consider factors such as:

  • Current pain points: What are the challenges with your existing contact center setup?
  • Scalability requirements: How scalable does your contact center solution need to be?
  • Feature requirements: What specific features and functionalities are essential for your operations?
  • Integration needs: Are there existing systems or applications that the CCaaS solution needs to integrate with? 
Research CCaaS providers 
Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, research CCaaS providers that align with your requirements. Consider the following criteria during your evaluation:
  • Reputation and reliability: Look for providers with a proven track record and positive customer reviews.
  • Feature set: Evaluate the range of features offered, such as omnichannel support, analytics capabilities, AI integration, and scalability options.
  • Security measures: Ensure the provider complies with industry standards and regulations for data security and privacy.
  • Cost and pricing model: Compare pricing structures, including setup costs, subscription fees, and any additional charges for add-on features or services.
  • Customer support: Assess the provider's customer support options, including availability, response times, and support channels. 
Involve the right people within your organisation 
When purchasing a CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) solution, it’s essential to involve key stakeholders within your organisation to ensure a successful implementation. The first step is to identify the stakeholders who will be impacted by the CCaaS solution, such as contact centre managers, IT teams, customer service representatives, and senior executives. By involving these stakeholders from the beginning, your organisation can gather their input, understand their specific requirements, and address any concerns or challenges they may have. 

Plan for transition and implementation 
Transitioning to a CCaaS platform involves several critical steps:
  • Data migration: Plan how existing data from your current contact center system will be migrated to the new CCaaS platform.
  • Training and onboarding: Develop a training plan to familiarise your staff with the new platform and its features.
  • Configuration and customisation: Work with the CCaaS provider to configure the platform to meet your specific needs and customise workflows as necessary.
  • Testing and quality assurance: Conduct thorough testing to ensure the CCaaS platform functions as expected and addresses your operational requirements.
  • Deployment strategy: Develop a deployment schedule that minimises disruption to ongoing operations and ensures a smooth transition to the new platform. 

Monitor performance and iterate 
Once implemented, monitor the performance of your CCaaS solution closely. Use analytics and reporting tools provided by the platform to track key performance metrics, such as customer satisfaction scores, first-call resolution rates, and agent productivity. Continuously gather feedback from both customers and internal stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and optimise your CCaaS implementation over time. 

Who is the decision maker for a CCaaS solution?  
The decision-making process for CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) solutions typically involves multiple stakeholders within an organisation. The specific decision maker(s) can vary depending on the organisation’s size, structure, and industry. Here are some key stakeholders who are commonly involved in the decision-making process for CCaaS:  

Contact Centre Management: Contact centre managers or directors have direct responsibility for the contact centre operations. They provide valuable input in terms of the features and functionalities required to improve agent productivity, enhance customer experiences, and optimise contact centre performance. They consider factors such as call routing capabilities, real-time monitoring, reporting and analytics, and integration with existing CRM systems.  

Customer Experience (CX) Team: The CX team focuses on ensuring positive customer interactions and experiences. They contribute to the decision-making process by providing insights into customer expectations, feedback, and pain points. Their input is crucial in evaluating how a CCaaS solution can enhance customer satisfaction, enable omnichannel engagement, and improve the overall customer journey.  

Chief Information Officer (CIO) or IT Department: The CIO or IT department plays a significant role in evaluating and selecting CCaaS solutions. They assess the technical requirements and compatibility with existing systems and ensure that the chosen CCaaS platform aligns with the organisation’s IT strategy and infrastructure.  

Procurement Team: The procurement team is responsible for vendor selection, contract negotiation, and ensuring compliance with procurement policies. They evaluate CCaaS vendors based on criteria such as reputation, reliability, service-level agreements (SLAs), data security, and scalability. They also collaborate with legal teams to review and finalise contracts with CCaaS providers. 

Executive Management: Executives, including the CEO and other senior leaders, are often involved in the final decision-making process. They provide strategic direction, align the CCaaS implementation with broader business objectives, and ensure that the investment in CCaaS supports the organisation’s growth and customer-centric initiatives.  

It’s important to note that the level of involvement and influence of each stakeholder can vary based on the organisation’s structure and decision-making processes. In some cases, a dedicated project team or steering committee may be formed to oversee the evaluation, selection, and implementation of a CCaaS solution.  

 


 

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