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The Cloud Platform’s Value for Delivering Improved Customer Experience Is Growing

The pace of innovation for customer engagement is rapidly accelerating; the number of technology options has increased as more startups enter the customer engagement market and existing providers expand into new areas, such as agent assist, workforce optimization, or CPaaS.

To stay competitive, CX decision makers routinely opt to switch customer engagement providers or add new ones into their portfolios, but effectively orchestrating apps and call flows between the core contact center, unified communications, and AI platforms can be time-consuming and expensive. What’s more, any platform provider change has a ripple effect on network connectivity, automated workflows, and fraud detection, to name just a few areas affected.

By integrating some or all of these functions throughan independent cloud provider’s ecosystem, companies can decouple select capabilities from their core platforms—giving an enterprise more flexibility to switch or keep providers, workflows, and applications as needed.

In short, this type of architecture shift empowers CX leaders to make decisions based on what makes sense for their organization vs. what a given provider mandates or offers—a vital proposition as the vendors’ roadmaps begin to diverge from company strategy.

Bandwidth announced its Maestro communications platform at Enterprise Connect 2023, and I expect other companies to announce similar capabilities in the coming months.

Maestro is a cloud platform that sits between the end consumer and the enterprise, with an ecosystem of integrated providers or native capabilities available. In Maestro's cloud, companies can integrate voice applications across independent UC, contact center, and AI platforms. When they switch providers (either initially or in the future), they can leverage their existing WAN / SIP trunking connections and Session Border Controllers, as well.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Today, 41.4% of companies are using workflow automation in their customer engagement strategies, according to Metrigy’s Customer Experience MetriCast 2023 global study of 1,695 companies. If an enterprise develops all its automated workflows within a CCaaS provider’s network, and then decides it would be beneficial to switch to a new CCaaS provider, it must factor into that change the time and cost to rebuild all of those workflows. However, if the workflows resided independently with a third party network or application provider, those workflows can easily be reconfigured with a platform such as Maestro; all it has to do is replace one component in the workflowby pointing to the new provider, and this will not break or reconfigure other applications already in the workflow, thus saving significant development time and cost.
  • If an enterprise switches CCaaS providers (as 34.2% of companies will be doing this year or next, according to our research), it may need to switch its PSTN carrier to those that the CCaaS company uses. This could cause delays and also add costs if the carrier is more expensive, or if the existing contract isn’t yet expired. By adopting a “Bring-Your-Own-Carrier” strategy, which Maestro offers, the enterprise sidesteps that hassle. In 2022, 42.2% of companies were using BYOC for their contact center solutions. Those which used BYOC saved 13.9% on their operational costs, according to Metrigy’s Customer Experience MetriCast global research study of 1,846 companies.
  • If a business only authenticates callers within the contact center, it is potentially opening the network up to bad actors—while also wasting resources. Network-based authentication tools can detect and eliminate fraudulent calls before they even reach the company’s contact center. Voice fraud has become a huge issue, with 65.1% of companies saying it’s extremely or somewhat important to their overall security strategy, according to Metrigy’s Customer Experience Transformation global study of 724 companies. By adding voice biometrics to validate a caller’s identity, companies can shave 30 to 60 seconds off of each call, according to the same study. This way, when a call arrives at the contact center, it’s confirmed to be non-fraudulent and authenticated as the person on the line. Storing these voiceprints centrally is vital to any plans to switch providers and keep the customer authentication database and workflows intact.
  • Organizations use AI platforms for either translation, text-to-speech/speech-to-text, or triage capabilities that route calls to the appropriate place. Placing these functions in the network cloud keeps them vendor-agnostic and can then point the call to the best place for resolution, whether via CCaaS to an agent or UCaaS to an accounting department.

Another huge problem companies are experiencing is gathering consolidated customer insights that are easy for everyone to access. At this point, 61.5% of companies are acting on their customer feedback, according the Metrigy’s Customer Insights and Analytics global study of 579 companies. The trouble is, the insights may not be shared with everyone in the company, and they may vary based on where the information is gathered (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.). A centralized set of data on each customer’s session, centrally stored and easily accessed for both real-time and historical data—that’s golden. Maestro can contribute to this goal as a single source of truth .

Platforms like Maestro also can help those moving from on-premises contact centers to the cloud, which 72% are planning to do, according to the CX MetriCast 2023 study. The platform provides global coverage for connectivity, as well as options to use Bandwidth native apps or third-party integrated apps, including Amazon Chime, Cisco Webex, Cognigy, Dialogflow, Genesys, Google, Microsoft Teams (via Direct Routing and Operator Connect), Pindrop, RingCentral, and Zoom.

Enterprise Connect 2023 will be held from March 27-30 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL. You can check out the attendance options here and dive into our line-up of sessions and keynotes here.