Enterprise / Networking / VoIP
Why CCaaS Is the Ideal Solution for Remote Customer Service Teams
More and more, customer service and support are becoming part of the bigger, emerging concept of omnichannel customer experience, aka omnichannel CX. Consider customer experience as the whole relationship customers have with your brand across all interactions. Omnichannel CX, then, is delivering consistent on-brand experiences no matter the channel, from phone to instant messaging.
So, what’s CX got to do with IT infrastructure and business networks? The need for omnichannel CX has led to an explosion in contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) software. That positions IT and networking pros to create strategic growth. CCaaS platforms make launching and running a contact center—including remote contact centers— much more cost effective. No longer do IT teams need to tie up resources in brick-and-mortar facilities or legacy hardware. Today, IT teams can use CCaaS to launch contact centers from the cloud. Just ship agents a download link, and they’re up and running with their existing hardware.
(Quick clarification in terms. First, by contact center, we mean a call center, except it integrates internet-based communications channels like chat and social media in addition to phone. Second, we’ll focus on CCaaS and not CPaaS, or communications platform as a service. CCaaS is purpose-built as a contact center solution, whereas CPaaS providers such as Twilio and Plivo are like toy bins where developers can pick parts to build custom communication solutions. Check out this great comparison of CCaaS, CPaaS, and UCaaS from Avaya that uses LEGOs.)
It’s benefits like these that show why IT and networking leaders should consider CCaaS, especially as they build IT strategy for supporting their remote teams.
1. CCaaS saves you from building expensive, on-premises contact centers (that your agents probably didn’t want to work at anyway)
How much does it cost to build a contact center? Try about $3 million. Or $2,855,056 to be exact, as shown by CustomerThink’s first-year cost breakdown for a 50-agent contact center.
That cost is not only untenable for many companies, but it’s also unnecessary. Hardware like legacy phone systems don’t scale well, nor do brick-and-mortar buildings. An on-site contact center means a high upfront capital expenditure, followed by ongoing operational expenses.
But what if you could avoid a lot of those costs—and build a contact center in 10 minutes while you’re at it?
That’s the promise of CCaaS. It deploys your contact center from the cloud. That slashes infrastructure and hardware costs.
Notice how CCaaS providers increasingly use lifestyle imagery? Pictures like this one underscore how on-site contact centers are being replaced by remote contact centers that let agents work where they want with the equipment they want. (Image Source: Surface)
Some contact centers push their savings here by rolling out bring-your-own-device (or BYOD) policies. That’s a win for productivity, too, since agents often feel more confident working from their personal devices.
Speaking of decreased costs, CCaaS also simplifies your infrastructure, taking associated fees along with it. For instance, CCaaS frees you from SIP trunking and its ongoing costs.
Finally, considering the booming popularity of remote work, CCaaS gives you an edge in recruiting and retaining agents. NICE inContact, one of the industry’s top CCaaS providers, reports that:
About half of all contact centers are fully remote
Work-from-home agents are 57% more likely to recommend their employer
Work-from-home agents have 80% higher retention rates
It makes sense. Nearly 5 million people are digital nomads, and another 17 million aspire to be. CCaaS makes it possible to deliver omnichannel customer service and support from anywhere, thanks to the cloud.
2. CCaaS helps customer service and support leaders manage in real time
Okay, so CCaaS makes it easier to launch a contact center. But does it make it easier to run one? As it turns out, yes. CCaaS may not fully recreate the experience of managers and agents working together on-site, but it comes close. Real-time visibility gives leaders lines of sight over daily, weekly, and monthly performance.
And if you’re transitioning from a legacy phone system, you’ll probably find CCaaS delivers an across-the-board upgrade. Dashboards create a visual command center where managers monitor all of the contact center’s goings-on. Following real-time workflows, managers can better find ways to improve performance, such as
Coaching and intervening by listening to calls, reviewing conversations, and moving stuck tickets
Planning daily and weekly workloads by scheduling agents according to forecasted volumes
Finding and optimizing for long-term trends, such as collecting data to make a case for increasing chat support, either through more staff or deploying a virtual support chat-bot
Analytics dashboards, like this one from Freshworks’ Freshcaller cloud call center software, let contact center leaders flow between views of high-level metrics and individual agent performance.
This empowerment of customer leaders is a big reason many CCaaS providers bake unified communications into their contact center software. By embedding internal communication channels like messaging, video, and phone, CCaaS providers like Cisco Webex make collaboration easier. Think rallying internal subject matter experts (SMEs) around stuck tickets.
In doing so, CCaaS helps contact center leaders become CX leaders. Driving down call times and ticket volume means happier customers, higher sales, and better customer retention. Plus, CCaaS lets you retain more control over your CX than using an outsourced contact center—another benefit IT and networking pros should remember when pitching CCaaS.
3. CCaaS frees IT teams to function more strategically
Twilio killed it with the ad campaign, “Ask your developer” (it even inspired a book). Why? Several reasons—but a big one is how well it articulates the pain of architecting networks and developing applications for voice communication. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone work.
Exactly how expensive, time consuming, and error prone is it? “Ask your developer.” Working with voice is not the same as working with data. Voice is incredibly sensitive to issues like latency. Complex technologies like point-to-point links and MPLS emerged (at least in part) to help create the secure, dedicated connections voice needs.
One of Twilio’s well-known billboards. (Image source: Ed Yourdon)
CCaaS relieves IT teams from much of the work involved in building and managing networks to support voice. CCaaS providers build their own networks by linking secure data centers located all over the world. That’s like a plug-and-play edge network for your contact center. Genesys’ globally distributed network supports the company’s base of CCaaS customers in more than 70 countries.
On top of that, CCaaS providers are motivated to provide quick ROI. They understand the complexity businesses face when launching a contact center. They also understand that for businesses transitioning from legacy contact centers, that’s a lot of infrastructure to replace at once—and company leaders will want to see results sooner than later. Sharpen promises a 5–15% ROI in 60 days or your money back, and they use a high-touch approach to realize that promise.
Last, CCaaS absorbs much of the mundane work of day-to-day network management, freeing the IT team to use resources more strategically to achieve business goals. Five9’s survey on the benefits of CCaaS found:
64% of businesses were better able to scale business growth
53% reduced costs through improved supervising/reporting and agency productivity
Perhaps most impressive, the same survey from Five9 found that among contact centers with 50+ agents:
55% save up to $10,000 per year
21% save $10,000–$50,000 per year
19% save $50,000–$100,000 per year
Those savings beg the question: How much does CCaaS cost? Let’s dive into CCaaS pricing with a roundup of providers.
4. A variety of CCaaS providers means you have options
The explosive growth in CCaaS is hard to understate. Even Amazon has jumped in with Amazon Connect. That means lots of options to wade through.
At one end are robust options like 8x8, which integrates a native CRM and payment system. At the other are providers like CallRail, whose Lead Center tool acts like a CCaaS solution for small businesses (think HVAC companies and dentist offices).
But that growth also indicates CCaaS providers are finding niches to serve, meaning there’s likely an option that fits your business needs. The CCaaS providers mentioned here—along with the ones linked throughout the article—give you a strong cross-section of the options available. There are more resources out there to help you compare CCaaS providers, too, such as G2 and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant CCaaS reports.
Unique selling proposition: Aircall call center, a pure inbound and outbound contact center solution, bills itself like an IT-free CCaaS service. Features like one-click integrations help managers build workflows in minutes.
Cost: Aircall pricing spans three tiers, starting with an essentials plan at $30 per user per month.
Unique selling proposition: Dialpad Contact Center uses Voice Intelligence, a form of AI that 1) helps agents make real-time solution recommendations and 2) lets managers monitor customer sentiment at the same time.
Cost: Dialpad contact center pricing covers two tiers, starting with a pro package at $75 per user per month (three licenses minimum).
Unique selling proposition: Ringcentral’s omnichannel collaborative contact center positions agents to take a consultative role with customers. Features like skill-based routing and optimized agent scheduling help ensure the most qualified agent handles each request. RingCentral is also among the providers, like Cisco and Vonage, that bundle CCaaS and UCaaS together.
Cost: RingCentral contact center pricing spans three tiers; all require contacting sales.
Unique selling proposition: Do you want to launch an AI-powered enterprise-grade contact center, but you’re not nuts about the BYOD movement? Talkdesk CX Cloud contact center software feels like using a consumer app, creating an intuitive experience for your agents.
Cost: Talkdesk pricing starts at $65 per seat per month, but all three tiers require a quote request.
Unique selling proposition: We mentioned Twilio earlier as a CPaaS provider. That’s true, but it also offers Twilio Flex as a purpose-built CCaaS solution. Flex is a great choice for IT teams who want to run the most cost-effective contact center possible. Like other Twilio solutions, Flex’s modular design helps you iterate workflows until they’re just right.
Cost: Twilio Flex pricing is flexible (ba-dum-tss). Per-hour pricing starts at $1 per active user hour, which is good for businesses whose contact center volumes fluctuate (think an ecommerce company when the holidays hit). Flat monthly pricing is available, too, for $150.
Unique selling proposition: UJET, which calls itself CCaaS 3.0, closes the gap between customer service and sales. It pushes data from customer conversations into your CRM, turning it into a single source of truth for your customer data.
Cost: UJET pricing requires booking a demo.
Unique selling proposition: Zendesk Talk is like unified communications for your agents. It creates a command center where agents flow between voice (phone, voicemail, SMS) and text conversations (email, chat, social) like they’re all happening on one communication channel.
Cost: Zendesk Talk pricing covers four tiers, starting with a free lite version and going up to an enterprise plan at $89 per user per month.
Find the CCaaS provider that’s right for you
The growth of the CCaaS shows how important it is for businesses to find a solution that best fits their goals. It also highlights how those businesses need their IT and networking teams more than ever. With so many as-a-service tools hitting the market, IT teams are in position to strategically advise leaders on which tools best support profitability.
If you’re shopping for a contact center solution, make CCaaS providers prove they’re your best option with Lightyear Procure. Define what you need, gather quotes, and start comparing offers. It’s always free for you, too. Learn more at Lightyear.ai.
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