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What is Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)? A Guide

A contact center creates a direct link between your clients and your business. As a result, the quality of the tools and infrastructure in this department affects the level of customer service you can deliver.

For this reason, many companies are subscribing to contact center as a service software. In fact, Grand View Research projects that the market will more than triple between 2023 and 2030.

What is CCaaS, and how can you pick the right one for your company? Find out how contact center as a service software works and which solution to choose.

Key Takeaways:

  • CCaaS is an online platform that connects you to customers and leads.
  • Cloud-based contact centers are superior to traditional on-premise contact centers.
  • Cloud contact centers save money, boost productivity, increase the customer experience, and enhance employee engagement.
  • A contact center is an omnichannel solution that outperforms traditional call centers.
  • CCaaS can integrate with UCaaS for a complete communications solution for businesses.

CCaaS: A Quick Explanation

CCaaS is an acronym that stands for “contact center as a service.” This term refers to an online customer experience platform running on a contact center software engine. 

Because the platform lives in the cloud, you can access it from wherever you wish with an internet connection and your login credentials. CCaaS includes multiple features that streamline customer queues from all channels. Additionally, it uses integrative technologies to boost efficiency and productivity.

Cloud-Based CCaaS vs. Traditional On-Premise Contact Center Applications

Traditional on-premise systems and CCaaS often include many of the same features. The key differences are in how they function. 

Traditional On-Premise Contact Centers

On-premise centers are only available in a physical space. With this option, your servers and software reside at your location and are your company’s responsibility. 

In such a scenario, running your contact center is expensive due to the equipment costs. Your IT team also has to maintain all the technology. Configuration and deployment can take a lot of time, likely weeks or even months. Plus, your employees only can do their work on site.

Cloud-Based CCaaS

On the other hand, CCaaS lives in the cloud. Accessibility is never an issue because you can remotely enable your contact center. 

This flexibility is a significant improvement over on-premise call centers, considering the much-adopted hybrid work models. Further, your costs are low monthly fees (which you’d be spending on phone service anyway) with no expensive equipment or labor necessary. 

CCaaS is fast to deploy as well. You could be up and running within days!

7 Benefits of Cloud-Based CCaaS

A cloud-based contact center as a service provides numerous advantages to your organization. Check out the reasons why so many companies are making the switch to this hosted solution.

1. Reduce Costs and Downtime

Traditional contact centers can require an initial expense of thousands of dollars, even up to six figures. You’ll also have recurring costs of paying for maintenance and licensing the software.

CCaaS, on the other hand, only charges you a fee for each line, and agents can start with equipment that many people already have in their homes. A laptop, internet connection, headset, and quiet room are all that is necessary.

You can count on 99.999% availability, which equals less than 30 seconds of downtime a month. Furthermore, you won’t have to wait for an IT team to find problems and figure out how to fix them. Your provider has backup solutions that ensure virtually no downtime.

2. Increase Employee Productivity

Hosted CCaaS solutions let you integrate your customer relationship management and workforce management software with your contact center. The result is a more efficient team that can quickly access tools and subject-matter experts to resolve customer concerns in a timely manner. 

3. Provide an Enhanced Omnichannel Customer Experience

More companies are prioritizing and competing on customer experience. This focus on CX makes sense because companies that are leaders in this area significantly outperform the market, with a return 108 points higher than the S&P 500 Index.

One of the ways you can provide better CX is by letting customers contact you through whichever channels they prefer. With an omnichannel CCaaS platform, all interactions link together in one conversation, so customers have one seamless experience.

4. Improve Your Team With AI Sentiment Analysis

How can you monitor and train your team when agents can be anywhere at any time? AI Sentiment Analysis shows you the sentiment of conversations and helps you determine how your team can improve.

Intermedia’s Contact Center software harnesses SPARK AI technology to show you how things are going. You can easily identify key topics and actionable items to enhance your employees’ performance.

5. Expand Your Talent Pool With Flexibility

Remote work isn’t just about accommodating employees. When you can hire anyone anywhere, you can have agents in any time zone on whatever device is practical.

Plus, accommodating employees is a win for you because you’ll boost employee retention and have agents available around the clock. This flexibility gives you happier agents and satisfied customers.

6. Consolidate the Agent Digital Workspace Into a Single Platform

With CCaaS, you won’t have to piecemeal software solutions to care for clients. Everything your agents and supervisors need is right there in one dashboard for additional efficiency that traditional systems can’t match.

7. Scale Rapidly When Necessary

If your company has a sudden growth spurt, you shouldn’t have to wait for technicians to install new lines. Your admin portal allows you to add (or remove) lines whenever needed. Plus, you can adjust features as necessary to meet seasonal shifts.

Common CCaaS Features

The top contact center as a service providers will offer the following essential features:

  • IVR: Interactive voice response technology allows customers to interact with an automated attendant, expediting customer service and enabling self-service features.
  • Call recording: Automatic call recording gives you an accurate record for training and legal purposes.
  • Predictive dialer: Get agents in outbound contact centers onto the next call more quickly with fast connections from a predictive dialer.
  • Webchat: Resolve simple queries with automated live chat interactions on your website.
  • PCI Compliance: Follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard with secure methods for callers to provide credit card numbers to agents.

These features are essential to CCaaS functionality. If a provider you’re considering doesn’t offer these elements, look elsewhere. (Of course, Intermedia already has them all.)

The Most Important CCaaS Features

In comparing contact center as a service platforms, you want more than the basics listed above. You need advanced tools to delight customers and empower agents.

Intelligent Routing To Ensure Customers Reach the Right Agent

Most companies have multiple products, services, messaging, apps, or customer types. These segments contact support for different reasons. CCaaS allows you to route the customer to the right agent depending on their needs. Without this, callers may encounter lots of re-routing and frustration.

Your platform can define skills-based groups, sending customers to the agent who can serve them best. By doing so, you’re set up to improve first-call resolution, decrease the interaction time, and provide a positive experience.

Integrations With Other Customer-Centric Platforms

Another must-have feature for your contact center software is integration capabilities. With this, your agents can have access to pertinent information. For example, an integration with a CRM provides agents with historical data about the customer. The information offers context and may alleviate the customer’s need to repeat herself.

Another critical integration is with a unified communications platform. Agents can immediately chat with other parties, such as supervisors or those outside the contact center, to find answers.

Dynamic Notifications for Outbound Communications

A contact center as a service subscription isn’t just for inbound communication. Your business can also use it to contact customers via voice, SMS, and email with dynamic notifications

With this feature, you can be strategic in customer contact. Use it for appointment reminders, outage notifications, payment-due notices, emergency alerts, promotional offers, and more.

Analytics and Reporting To Power Decisions With Data

Valuable data is underneath every interaction. By having access to it, you can gain visibility over many operations. There are two ways this functionality delivers benefits. 

First, real-time dashboards help supervisors manage situations in the moment. Second, historical data identifies where you’re effective and areas that need attention.

CCaaS has multiple report types, such as agent performance, queue performance, missed calls, tracking, and first-call resolution. This data impacts your staffing levels as well. You can see peak call times and whether you have enough people available at those periods.

Truly, data has become the new currency in business decision-making. Having an amply featured analytics and reporting engine is critical.

Supervisor Features for Quality Assurance

Another group of features your business will appreciate is supervisor controls. Those who oversee agents can review, score, and provide feedback. They can also monitor, whisper, or barge during calls to guide agents. Call and screen recording provide additional insight into evaluating operations.

Omnichannel Functionality

Customers want to engage through different channels, and companies have to meet their expectations. According to a U.S. customer survey, 58% of people prefer digital channels, including email, chat, text, and social media. Only 42% still favor the phone.

A contact center as a service integrates all customer communication channels: voice, chat, email, and SMS. You can then have an omnichannel, universal queue to understand customer interactions by channel, volume, and duration.

The Difference Between CCaaS and UCaaS Solutions

UCaaS and CCaaS accomplish different functions for your company’s communications. Learn why you need both.

CCaaS

A contact center as a service is all about connecting your agents to customers and prospects. You’ll have to determine whether the setup will be inbound, outbound, or both. The service blends your communications channels into one dashboard and helps agents see all parts of the customer journey for a better customer experience.

UCaaS

UCaaS stands for unified communications as a service. This software is a business phone solution that focuses on enhancing internal collaboration. The system also facilitates everyday external connections.

CCaaS and UCaaS Similarities

CCaaS and UCaaS have the following points in common:

  • Hosted services: You can get both solutions in cloud-based software as a service that uses Voice over Internet Protocol for online phone calls and omnichannel service.
  • Subscription-based model: You access either service with a monthly payment or save more by paying annually. 
  • Business software integrations: Both phone systems integrate with your CRM and WFM to enhance customer service and employee productivity.

The similarities allow an industry-leading provider such as Intermedia to offer UCaaS and CCaaS together for a complete communications solution.

Why Integrate CCaaS and UCaaS

CCaaS works best when you integrate with a UCaaS system from the same provider. Some communications services claim to offer an integrated solution but are actually white-labeling one service from a separate vendor. 

White-labeling can be a great business solution for many types of software. However, when UCaaS and CCaaS come from separate companies, solutions often fail to be seamless. 

Plus, if your provider drops or loses its white-label product, you can run into issues and have to restart your system. A truly integrated UC + CC solution is the best way to go.

The Difference Between Contact Centers and Call Centers

Frankly, call centers are the old-school approach to customer service and restrict your team to voice calls in a central office. Contact centers are the new standard for the digital era.

Whether your clientele prefers email, webchat, text, video conference, or instant messaging, a contact center lets you connect via the optimal channels. Plus, agents can use any smart device to do so from any location they can get online.

People may still refer to CCaaS as a call center or “call center as a service.” These terms are acceptable because the basic call center features are the foundation of the system.

Common CCaaS Use Cases for Businesses

CCaaS works for many industries, including:

  • Health Care: Use IVR for appointment scheduling, account updates, and sharing sensitive information.
  • Government agencies and nonprofits: Distribute campaign messages, collect donations, and provide updates to constituencies.
  • Debt collectors: Send out automated reminders, provide account updates, and take payments securely over the phone.
  • Hospitality and travel: Send updates, provide convenient support, confirm reservations, and handle over-the-phone bookings and rebookings.
  • Telemarketing and help desks: Offer customer support and service, take orders, make sales calls, and collect customer information.

Whatever the field, if your company requires a contact center, you can serve your customers most effectively with CCaaS.

Get the CCaaS Solution That Is Right for Your Business

Adopting a contact center as a service can revolutionize how you manage the customer experience. If your goals are to improve customer interactions, support your agents, and reduce costs, learn more about the possibilities of CCaaS by checking out Intermedia’s Contact Center software.

About Rob Oscanyan

Rob is Director for Product Marketing for Contact Center as a Service here at Intermedia.