2016 has been dubbed, “The Year of the Customer.” Carriers, multiple-system operators (MSO) and other service providers have the unique opportunity to create new, recurring revenue streams and to help their business customers with the complexity of managing effective customer experience programs.
Brand loyalty is at an all-time low, as an ever-increasingly competitive landscape has empowered consumers with more choices than ever before. To maintain marketshare, analysts, media and other influencers agree that companies in all markets are dramatically increasing their investment in customer service and engagement.
Service providers are ideally positioned to offer Contact Center-as-a Service (CCaaS) by having the core infrastructure, network and operational ability needed to deliver cloud applications. The continuing adoption of cloud computing is well-documented. but businesses of all sizes are particularly receptive to the possibilities for their contact center and customer interaction environments. There are myriad, attractive options that the cloud presents for existing premises-based contact center operations, and also for organizations that, until now, faced significant cost and operational barriers to deploying robust omnichannel contact center solutions for their businesses.
While established vendors have been bringing various forms of cloud-based contact center offerings to market for years, their predominant focus has been on positioning cloud as an alternate deployment option to the traditional on-premises buyer. By migrating to the cloud, the case for service providers to offer CCaaS, coupled with other related, value-added software bundled with competitive communications and network services, has never been stronger.
The Business Case for Contact Center as-a-Service
Cloud-based contact center solutions are as much an opportunity for service providers as they are for businesses. To capitalize on this potential, though, they must first understand the inherent factors that make CCaaS as compelling for them as it is for their business customers. Detailed below are four of the most prominent attributes.
A typical on-premises contact center is built around the planned number of agents, the estimated volume of customer interactions and a functional baseline for what type of channel or feature access each agent needs. Contact centers must be adaptable to changes in the business, whether it is flexing the number and types of agents or being able to easily add new or additional contact center functionality. CCaaS allows contact centers to add agents, extend functionality and adapt quickly to changes in the business without having to buy new infrastructure or requiring in-house IT resources on lengthy projects.
This has long been a core benefit of the cloud model, where operations can easily be scaled up or down when needed. CCaaS eases and simplifies the process of adding agents and tapping into other enterprise resources, as well as the means to manage unplanned spikes in interaction volume. Seamless scalability is difficult when businesses have to consider investing in additional licenses, server hardware and software. Most businesses have cyclical demand, and the inherent scalability of a CCaaS solution allows for growth on an “as needed” basis.
Most important to note is how cloud solutions shift the financial burden from CAPEX to OPEX (News - Alert), a very attractive benefit, as it eliminates large, up-front capital expenditures. TCO can be daunting, as calculations must not only account for CAPEX versus OPEX and application, licensing and maintenance expenses, but also for internal IT and related data center infrastructure costs now provided by the service provider. The CCaaS model delivers cost cutting by allowing for better planning and staffing decisions, in addition to liberating in-house IT from contact center operations.
There is no denying the economics of cloud are cash flow friendly and deliver immediate relief from large capital expense budget requests — a strong selling point for the C-Suite.
The CCaaS model is another variation of the cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models that has become so pervasive. Businesses have routinely been using SaaS for core applications like email or CRM, and Microsoft (News - Alert) is rapidly gaining traction by shifting access to core business applications to the cloud with Office 365. When surveyed, CIOs report a key driver for cloud adoption is better operational agility, yet another feature CCaaS delivers through built-in scalability and flexibility.
Another noteworthy benefit of the CCaaS model is disaster recovery, something that many small and mid-sized businesses want but find too expensive and complex for them to implement. Through the inherent safeguards and redundancy built into their data centers and networks, service providers are able to provide a previously unattainable level of business continuity that many enterprises can’t afford to implement in their contact center operations.
The Service Provider Opportunity
By virtue of their existing relationships, service providers have a significant advantage in selling cloud contact center solutions to their customers. To win this new business, they must partner with the right contact center solution vendor that is equipped and experienced enough to help them achieve end-users loyalty.
With the right partner, service providers can take full advantage of cloud-based architectures, especially around multi-tenant contact center offerings. Not only does this model allow for amortization of the platform cost across many customers, but also helps them operate, maintain and upgrade the multi-tenant cloud application efficiently, effectively passing along operations efficiency to their end-customers.
The business case for CCaaS is clear. With the right contact center application partner, service providers can become a powerful change agent for their customers and set themselves up for long-term growth and sustainable, recurring revenue.
Jacki Tessmer is Vice President, Service Provider & Cloud Strategy for Enghouse Interactive, which delivers technology and expertise to maximize the value of every customer interaction. The company develops a comprehensive portfolio of customer interaction management solutions. Core technologies include contact center, attendant console, predictive outbound dialer, knowledge management, IVR and call recording solutions that support any telephony environment, on premise or in the cloud.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi