A decade ago, if you were to call customer service, you’d be put on hold, not knowing how long you would need to wait before getting in touch with a live person. Fortunately for customers today, a contact center as a service provides customers with more options through different channels, each designed to solve a specific type of inquiry.
What is CCaaS?
“As-a-service” is a cloud computing model that provides various services over the internet. In CCaaS, businesses pay for a cloud-based contact center solution from a vendor.
Initially, call centers were the standard in delivering customer support via the phone. Inbound agents take calls to answer customer questions while outbound agents make calls for sales. But as customers became frustrated with long wait times and annoying telemarketers, affecting service delivery and staffing costs, the industry had to adapt.
Contact centers provide customer support across several communication channels, including chat, email, social media, text, and VoIP. A contact center serves as a customer experience hub instead of just a “phone room,” offering omnichannel support.
CCaaS solutions operate under the goal that customers should get timely and responsive service in the channel of their choice.
Do You Need Contact As a Service for Your Business?
CCaaS is a good fit for large enterprises that want to offer self-help options for their customers. However, adding multiple channels adds complexity to your operations. Here are the requirements that you need to consider before acquiring CCaaS solutions:
- Additional Agent Skills
- Multitasking – A contact center agent could be engaged in an email thread on any given day while handling chat sessions and text message conversations. You need tech-savvy agents who are comfortable navigating different platforms and dividing their focus between tasks.
- Writing Skills – Verbal and written communication require different skillsets. Agents need to be clear, concise, and professional in writing to avoid costly back-and-forth messaging.
- Social Media Etiquette – Agents represent your brand. They can’t make guarantees or overpromises. They need to know which information should be kept private. Agents need to have a basic understanding of PR and marketing.
- Processes for Consistency
- Training – Agents need to be cross-trained to handle multiple channels. Managers must be able to manage a multi-channel workflow process and ensure that agents are not overwhelmed.
- Forecasting – In a contact center, interactions don’t happen in real-time. Forecasting needs to consider delayed responses and anticipate workload from additional channels.
- Scheduling – Managers need to consider more factors such as how many emails or text messages one agent can handle without compromising KPIs. You’re not just focusing on the time but also volume per channel.
- Quality Management – You’ll require more QA processes and expanded metrics. More importantly, you can’t simply tweak call metrics and apply them to digital because these channels have their unique characteristics. For example, an email doesn’t have an exact average speed of answer, but you can set a targeted response timeframe and measure its success against this target. These considerations will also change the metrics to measure customer satisfaction and other desired outcomes.
- Analytics – Analytics is a standard for every cloud-based contact center solution. You need to ensure that the interface is user-friendly yet comprehensive. You also need to train your managers to organize and analyze a vast amount of data for insights.
- Compliance – Since your agents will put information in writing, you need a way to capture and store digital transcripts for data privacy.
- Cloud Technology
- Omnichannel Routing – Adding multiple channels doesn’t automatically turn a call center into a contact center. CCaaS solutions provide a single platform that connects various communications channels. Agents can see the entire customer journey across multiple touchpoints.
- Workforce Management – These tools simplify forecasting and scheduling, ensuring that each channel will have enough agents hired to handle them.
What If My Business is Not Ready for CCaaS?
The existence of CCaaS doesn’t mean call centers no longer exist. If your business doesn’t need omnichannel support or you find all these requirements overwhelming, there is still another option. You can build a modern call center by using cloud-based solutions. Call center automation can reduce agent turnovers and increase customer satisfaction, among other benefits.
- Rapid Set-Up and Usage
Significantly reduce upfront costs by using cloud-hosted services. Instead of bulky desktop phones, you can install a softphone on multiple devices, including a desktop and a mobile phone. Instead of on-premise PBX servers and other heavy, costly equipment, you can use VoIP and Cloud PBX, so you don’t have to invest in expensive IT infrastructure. Moreover, cloud-based solutions only require a few business days to set up.
- Low-Cost and Reliable Global Capabilities
VoIP services enable you to make affordable long-distance calls anywhere in the world. You can also use virtual numbers, which serve as toll-free numbers for your customers. You can have an inbound and outbound call center at a low cost.
- On-Demand Scalability
Without maintaining on-premise hardware and equipment, you can quickly scale operations. You can add and reduce extensions as needed. If you need to make more concurrent calls, you can upgrade your plan with a few clicks. Cloud-based solutions are also easily customizable, so you can add users and modify call routing rules as needed.
- Workplace Flexibility and Freedom
With your systems all online, you can leverage remote work to build a global team. Your agents don’t have to be chained to their seats, especially for field sales. Call center automation also streamlines workflow processes that optimize operations, which results in both agent and customer satisfaction.
- Uncomplicated Integrations
Vendors offer a suite of solutions that can be integrated, enabling you to add more functionality without causing disruptions.
76% of Customers Prefer Using the Phone to Contact Customer Service. Reach Them Now.
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