That's why forward-thinking businesses are increasingly investing in contact center as a service (CCaaS).
With the right solution in place, enterprises can optimize contact center operations with technology and insights enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), easily scale communications as the business grows, and more predictably manage costs. Perhaps most importantly, they can deliver a consistently exceptional omnichannel customer experience.
What Is Contact Center as a Service?
CCaaS is a cloud-based solution that integrates all of a company's customer-facing communication channels — voice, messaging, video, conferencing, and social chat — into a single communication platform.
Cloud contact center solutions are similar to unified communications as a service (UCaaS), but where UCaaS is more about internal collaboration, CCaaS is all about customer communication. The technology is designed to make it easy for agents to connect with customers, with features like split recording, skills-based routing, customer authentication, and AI-powered voice analytics.
Difference Between a Contact Center and a Call Center
A call center is a place where customer service agents or salespeople make and receive customer phone calls. A contact center is a cloud-based communication platform that lets agents interact with customers across channels from anywhere, using any internet-connected device. Conversations can start on one channel and move seamlessly to another — from chat to phone, for example, if the customer needs to step away from their computer, or from phone to video chat if the customer prefers face-to-face interaction.
Enterprises can integrate CCaaS with customer relationship management (CRM) and other key business apps so agents see up-to-date customer information inside the communications platform. They can also use application program interfaces (APIs) to add SMS and social media messaging apps and leverage AI-enhanced features like chatbots and voice assistants that help lighten the load for human agents.
Why Contact Centers Deliver Better Customer Service
Customers desire quick, helpful responses to their queries regardless of whether they use a phone, text, chat, or social media to engage with brands. If they don't get responses promptly, they tend to move on to the competition. According to Vonage's 2021 Global Customer Engagement Report, the top customer service complaints from consumers include:
having to repeat themselves to different people (59 percent)
calling in and no one is available, but there are no other channels available to get help (56 percent)
A seamless customer experience can make or break a business's bottom line. Ninety percent of consumers say customer service affects their decision to do business with a company, according to Microsoft's 2020 Global State of Customer Service report, and 56 percent will abandon a brand after a poor experience. That lost business adds up quickly because acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one, and satisfied customers generate greater revenue over time. That's why it makes smart business sense to invest in a high-performing contact center.
With a contact center platform, customers get routed to the right agent — no need to transfer or repeat information. Agents are empowered with modern tools and up-to-date customer information at their fingertips so they can resolve issues quickly and thoroughly. And if customers have a quick question or prefer self-service, they can interact with a chatbot and avoid call queues altogether.
Contact center solutions also provide supervisors with convenient dashboards for monitoring employee performance and training their staff. They can listen to calls or tap into real-time metrics and historical performance data to review what's going well and what could be handled even better, continually optimizing the mission-critical business processes that affect the customer experience. Supervisors can use the insights gleaned from such analytics for better talent management, identifying valuable frontline agents who deliver an especially excellent customer experience and nurturing their professional growth so the company can benefit from their expertise even further.
Contact center services can even empower teams and incentivize them to excel. Gamification allows representatives to set metrics and objectives and share them with the rest of the team. They can engage in friendly competition with their colleagues to win more deals in less time, helping them feel more connected with their peers. Successful representatives can earn badges and unlock virtual rewards, gaining the satisfaction and recognition of a job well done. In turn, the business benefits from the achievements of its staff, who become even more motivated to deliver a quality experience that delights customers.
How CCaaS Helps Enterprises Grow at Scale
Unlike premises-based solutions that require considerable upfront capital investments and advance planning, businesses can deploy cloud-based contact center solutions rapidly and flexibly, responding to changes in the market with agility and ease. The scalable licensing models that cloud-based contact centers offer can be useful when a company needs to increase staffing for a particular campaign or seasonal initiative.
A cloud contact center lets businesses right-size operations essentially on demand, growing or contracting as needed without delay. Expenditures are far more predictable and manageable than with on-premises communications, and compliance management is less burdensome and more efficient.
Enterprises know they have no time to lose when it comes to improving their customer experience and locking in customer loyalty for the long term. Investing in a cloud-based contact center can be a powerful way to do just that, by greatly enhancing the quality of customer service and making the most of the flexibility and scalability that CCaaS offers. This ensures businesses are more agile and competitive, now and in the future.