Organisations are under increasing pressure to meet customer expectations and demands for fast and convenient communications. As such, rather than having to rely on old processes and hardware, technologies are increasingly disrupting the sector and introducing new ways of engaging with customers that were not previously possible – none more so than cloud technology.
While unified communications (UC) systems and contact centre solutions were previously considered separate entities, cloud technology is increasingly able to facilitate collaboration between the two. The Cloud removes the restrictions of on-premises hardware to allow the contact centre impressive versatility and fluidity; both crucial strengths in providing the personalised and convenient service increasingly demanded by customers in the digital age.
One solution to this demand is the combination of Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), where businesses have the opportunity to redefine what constitutes high-quality customer service by facilitating a flexible and individualised service.
How can the contact centre deliver a unified experience?
CCaaS solutions are increasingly being recognised as valuable tools to help modern businesses provide exceptional customer service, as evidenced by the CCaaS market’s expected rise to an estimated $15.67bn by 2021. CCaaS solutions make the stereotypical contact centre look out-of-date, giving customers a superior choice of communication methods and providing contact centre agents with an extensive set of tools and data to engage with them. This is exactly what consumers crave, with 70% of respondents in our recent survey agreeing that customer service needs to be more convenient and give them more channels to get in touch with companies. It is therefore no surprise that many organisations are looking to evolve contact centre options to meet these demands.
UCaaS should also be a consideration as it is able to integrate different mediums of communication into a single focal point accessible by any department, eliminating dialogue gaps between them. Customers can transition between departments without changing their mode of contact or initiating interactions more than once, and the responder at their destination is able to access any relevant data before they even connect.
A robust UCaaS solution can also offer features such as call routing, which is crucial to ensure an efficient journey for the customer, and PCI compliance, which is required to protect customer data. This is a key consideration for the contact centre; for example, some financial services firms will be required to record calls according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and dynamic scripting is already mandatory for enterprises running outbound campaigns. UCaaS solutions should be evaluated with these demands in mind and as an effective means of futureproofing company systems.
What are the benefits to the customer?
Such an infrastructure allows customers to select their preferred medium of communicating with a brand, and UCaaS enables agents to have a single focal point that connects every transaction even if the customer switches channels. This allows staff to respond appropriately or to transfer the customer to another department, providing an efficient route for the customer that is fast, effortless, and convenient.
The benefits of a streamlined, cohesive experience for the customer are endless and cannot be ignored. Redspire recently found that UK businesses risk losses rising to £234bn due to poor customer experience, and research by Zendesk suggests that a baseline for first reply time is half a day for requests submitted via email or web form, two hours for those from social media, and a few seconds for chat and messaging. The only way this can be achieved is with a combination of CCaaS and UCaaS, which can lessen the risks of poor customer service and provide comprehensive data on individual preferences that can inform interactions and decisions.
Fortunately, CCaaS and UCaaS solutions don’t necessitate the removal of expensive legacy equipment or big OPEX costs. In fact, hybrid solutions are commonly devised to make the most of both existing infrastructure and the Cloud. This model also has the option of deploying a small cluster of services to test the suitability of the Cloud, which can be scaled up or down depending on the demands of a particular enterprise. This makes it easier to introduce new workers than ever before; whether they are on-site or working remotely, they have access to the same collaborative experience they’d get in the physical contact centre or office.
The combination of CCaaS technology with an effective integrated UCaaS solution allows every employee the opportunity to add value to the customer experience. Bearing in mind the fast-growing CCaaS market, and that customer experience is expected to be a more powerful differentiator than price or product by 2020, moving quickly to establish this joint offering is a company’s best opportunity to establish an early advantage against their competition.