Contact center as a service (CCaaS) is an attractive model for many contact centers looking to replace their traditional on-premises contact center infrastructure. So, evaluating the best CCaaS solution that fits your enterprise’s goals and environment is paramount.
For a market perspective, Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service, North America
” report predicts that “by 2022, contact center as a service will be the preferred adoption model in 50% of contact centers, up from approximately 10% in 2019.” Additionally, the report predicts that speech interfaces will initiate 70% of self-service customer interactions by 2023, an increase from 40% today.
Defining & Delivering CCaaS
With CCaaS, organizations can manage multichannel customer interactions with self or assisted services, and CCaaS is ideal for customer service and support technology ecosystems. These can range from customer service and telemarketing centers, employee service and support centers, help desks, or other structured communications operations. And since it uses a SaaS model, enterprises pay for the service via a monthly subscription.
There are several elements of effective contact center operations, including:
- Delivering connectivity agnostic design to create customer service journeys, including intelligent self-service
- Support process orchestration in complex and personalized customer interactions
- Developing and maintaining engaged and empowered contact center staff based on the understanding that engaged agents to produce a better CX.
- Analyzing and reporting customer and agent insights with recommended actions across all functional groupings.
Understanding the Business Factors
You may be inclined to evaluate the technical capabilities of a CCaaS provider. You should also consider that there are other important business factors that must be explored during the provider evaluation, including:
- Review the provider experience with organizations of your size and industry to see if there is a good match.
- Does the provider have experience that demonstrates they can deploy quickly and can deal with the complexity of your contact center environment?
- If you are looking for a workforce management (WFM) solution, is WFM native to the provider or is it through a third party? If through a third party, how are problems resolved?
- If you have third-party solutions you want to integrate with the CCaaS provider, does the provider now support them? If not, what can be done to implement that support or is it not possible?
- Evaluators should review customer references to ensure they are satisfied with the provider’s ability to realistically satisfy their product and support needs.
- How fast can the provider migrate your contact center operations to their platform? What has been their experience with organization’s such as yours?
- Will your CCaaS provider allow/support some of your legacy operations during the migration/cutover to CCaaS? Is it all or nothing?
- If the potential provider is small or new to the market, will this impair their ability to fund further investments?
- Does the provider have native applications, or do they use technology partners to implement functions such as analytics or predictive dialing? If such dependence exists, this means the provider doesn’t have software development control. This could delay identification and resolution of the root causes of integration problems.
- Proof of concept testing may not allow customization and administration. The testing will not fully reflect what will be delivered in the production service.
- How much control do you have through the provider portal? Is it a least as comprehensive as you have in your on-premises system?
Five Considerations: Before You Decide
Knowing exactly what is being offered in each solution is crucial. Any assumptions you make without written verification by the provider are yours — not the providers.
Below are five things to consider:
- The total cost of ownership (TCO) can be more costly than anticipated. The CCaaS TCO solutions can be lower than for on-premises solutions. Watch out for the monthly recurring charges; they add up. Do you have the flexibility to change the number of agents in cases of seasonal variations when agent headcount increases or decreases?
- Your contact center faces your customers. Customization can help you differentiate the CX. If the provider offerings are standardized and can’t be customized to match the on-premises systems they typically replace, then avoid that provider. Some CCaaS providers can provide highly customized solutions.
- The advent of COVID-19 has pushed contact centers to support WFH agents. Many agents are using home Internet for their connection, which can affect voice quality and reliability. The COVID-19 boon means that providers might have to scale their capacity up or down to meet demand. So, how might a CCaaS provider demonstrate they can support high-quality voice and scalability?
- With more agents WFH, poor security has become common. Can the CCaaS provider support the stringent levels of security required for the handling of sensitive customer data, especially in the era of CCPA, GDPR, and impending state privacy regulations? What are the liabilities covered by the provider and what liabilities remain with your organization?
- The contact center, when down or working poorly, directly affects the organization’s revenue, profits, and costs. How does the provider support geographic redundancy of their operations? Does your on-premises solution offer better resiliency than the provider’s? A possible solution to service disruption is staying with the existing system vendor but moving from the on-premises solution to its CCaaS solution.
There is a balance between evaluating the technical and business considerations. Business problems can overwhelm any technical advantages. But don't get too bogged down. If a solution works well the first time, then you're set for years to come. If not, try another CCaaS provider — there are plenty on the market ready to help you accomplish your business needs.