CCaaS Trends 2019: Contact Centre as a Service

The evolving market for Contact Centre as a Service with 8x8, Dialpad and West Corporation

CCaaS Trends 2019: Contact Centre as a Service

The contact centre environment has changed, driven by an ever-more demanding marketplace of multi-generational customers.

In an age where people are always connected through their smartphones, social media, and countless other consumer communication solutions, your clients expect faster resolutions to their problems, delivered through a diverse selection of channels.

In the past, developing a connected multi-channel approach to customer contact that covered everything from workflow management to social media, SMS, video, and analytics would have required significant expertise and investment. However, as the cloud grows more compelling, and “as a service” business strategies emerge, savvy contact centres are discovering a better way.

Contact Centre as a Service, or “CCaaS” systems give businesses of any size the opportunity to access the latest solutions for customer service and satisfaction, without having to worry about significant IT investments. CCaaS delivers state-of-the-art omnichannel contact centres, pre-packed with all the scalability and flexibility you need to stay agile in the modern world.

With CCaaS, you can keep both initial investment costs, and long-term expenses low, by paying for only the technology you need, when you need it most. It’s no wonder the popularity of CCaaS is growing. The question is, where is it heading next?

The Customer Trends That Shaped CCaaS in 2018

CCaaS is a compelling solution for many companies because it allows you to build your own custom contact centre experience, rather than choosing a pre-designed model. With CCaaS, you pay exclusively for the solutions that are most likely to accelerate and support your organisation. This means that businesses generally make decisions about their CCaaS stacks based on consumer trends and demands. We asked marketplace leaders, 8×8, Dialpad and West Corporation what their customers want most from CCaaS.

Bryan Martin, Chairman of the Board and CTO for 8×8:

According to 8×8, the migration of mid-market and enterprise customers away from on-premises legacy solutions and into pure cloud systems is accelerating. “2018 was a huge reminder for companies that it’s important to be prepared for anything. Hurricane Florence showed us how valuable it could be to have a cloud-based contact centre strategy in place when disaster strikes.”

Martin noted that 8×8 received a lot of gratitude and positive testimonials from their customers that had recently taken their solutions into the cloud before the storm.

Dan O’Connell, GM of VoiceAI for Dialpad:

Dan O'Connell Dialpad

Dan O’Connell, Dialpad

Dialpad believes that the age of the consumer is driving CCaaS evolution. “When the age of the customer first emerged, contact centres put a significant amount of effort into improving their omnichannel capabilities. Social and chatbot technology got the most attention, but in 2018 we’re learning that voice remains to be the primary method of communication for customers and brands.”

According to Dialpad, advancements in natural language processing and speech recognition have allowed speech to go through something of a renaissance. “These technologies are creating a whole subset of features for CCaaS, including real-time sentiment tracking, smart recommendations, and in-call guidance.” This means that brands have renewed interest in improving their phone conversations and using voice as a data set.

Marcus Schmidt, VP, and Aaron Fisher, VP of Innovation at West Corporation:

According to Marcus Schmidt, VP of West, Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft will affect the SMB parts of the CCaaS marketplace, while the rise of new solutions for collaboration like Microsoft Teams and Slack drive demand for new CCaaS applications.

Aaron Fisher feels that Artificial Intelligence is the biggest factor in CCaaS for consumers today. “The introduction of artificial intelligence has had an impact on the industry in 2018 and will continue to make a difference in years to come.” West believes that smart devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are becoming more prominent in the marketplace, and these devices will have a bigger footprint in the year ahead.

The Technologies Creating the Biggest Opportunities for CCaaS

As customer demands continue to evolve, the technologies that brands use to serve consumer expectations transform too. Innovators like 8×8, Dialpad, and West need to remain agile and embrace the latest features in the marketplace if they want to stay ahead of the curve.

Bryan Martin, Chairman of the Board and CTO for 8×8:

8×8 and Bryan Martin believe that the key to the future of CCaaS is the creation of a completely unified contact centre experience. 8×8 recently created the X Series to provide businesses with a single platform for video, voice, contact centre technology, collaboration and team messaging across desktop and mobile devices.

Another driving technology in 8×8’s eyes is artificial intelligence, and how machines can help organisations to access more data in their employee and customer interactions. “We’re in the business of making our customer’s data available to them. We’re helping businesses to evolve, enhancing the customer experience and providing recommendations on anticipated needs, all through AI.” 8×8 sees AI extending beyond the contact centre, into every avenue of customer engagement. “This is why a single platform of engagement is so crucial so that companies can have a complete data set from all of their AI and machine learning platforms.”

Dan O’Connell, GM of VoiceAI for Dialpad:

Dialpad agrees with 8×8 on the importance of AI in the CCaaS marketplace. “We’re already familiar with the opportunity for artificial intelligence to improve support conversations by routing calls, determining sentiment and identifying compliance issues. Less discussed is the part that AI can play in improving human interactions through agent coaching.”

According to Dialpad, high staff churn is one of the costliest problems facing contact centres today, and it’s something that often occurs because of poor coaching and engagement. “It takes time for contact centres to get agents up to speed. If they don’t feel support, they quit. With real-time AI and natural language processing, agents can get more consistent real-time support.”

Marcus Schmidt, VP, and Aaron Fisher, VP of Innovation at West Corporation:

Marcus Schmidt West Corp

Marcus Schmidt, West Corporation

Marcus Schmidt believes that huddle room technology, Team and Messaging applications, and the opportunity to bring BroadSoft products into the mainstream of Cisco’s channel and licencing programs are all essential technical considerations for the future of CCaaS.

Alternatively, Aaron Fisher sees a lot of potential in the growth of artificial intelligence, similarly to the representatives from Dialpad and 8×8. “Artificial intelligence has played a significant part in the CCaaS marketplace this year, and it’s not going away any time soon. Smart devices, chatbots, and other machine-learning solutions will continue to drive CCaaS by creating new opportunities for vendors to expand their product portfolios.” What’s more, West feels that AI solutions will also help to elongate the value cycle of existing products in the CCaaS environment by creating a stronger relationship between devices and end-users.

Beyond 2018: What’s Next for 2019?

In the years ahead, the “as-a-service” business model is sure to accelerate, offering companies cost-effective and agile ways to take advantage of the latest communication technology. The contact centre is one of the spaces where this ongoing agility is crucial to success. With CCaaS, businesses will be able to alter the level of technology they use and pay for according to seasonal changes, customer demand, and more.

Bryan Martin, Chairman of the Board and CTO for 8×8:

Bryan Martin, 8x8

Bryan Martin, 8×8

Aside from a continued migration to the cloud and the demand for fewer siloed contact centre spaces, 8×8 believes that the future of CCaaS will be defined by data analytics. According to Bryan Martin: “These will allow contact centre managers and agents to determine who is on the other end of an interaction, what that person’s value is, and why they need support. This will make call routing much easier.”

Bryan and 8×8 believe that these new data-driven capabilities will create substantial business opportunities for companies moving into a cloud-based platform. “It will no longer be an option to stay on-premises, it will, in fact, be contact centre malpractice to stay with legacy systems.”

Dan O’Connell, GM of VoiceAI for Dialpad:

Dialpad’s representative, Dan O’Connell thinks that in the future, CCaaS solutions will involve the use of AI for coaching and agent retention. “After all, if AI can help businesses get closer to their customers, it should also be able to get them closer to employees.”

O’Connell also expects to see a convergence of CCaaS and chatbot platforms, particularly the ones that leverage AI and natively integrate with the latest technology. “What I mean by this is that we’ll see platforms that use chatbots as a starting point for customer engagement, then allow conversations to be routed to humans with all the necessary background information, NLP insights, and transcripts.”

Dialpad also expects to see more speech synthesis in 2019. “To me, 2018 was the year of speech recognition. We will see this book in 2019, and we’ll start talking more about speech synthesis too.”

Marcus Schmidt, VP, and Aaron Fisher, VP of Innovation at West Corporation:

For Marcus Schmidt, it’s likely that Team and Messaging applications will play a significant role in CCaaS technology in the coming years. He also expects to see further consolidation among UCaaS and CCaaS vendors, combining internal and external communications. West also predicts that more customers will begin to test out different kinds of subscription models for their CCaaS strategy.

Aaron Fisher feels that the combination of AI, machine learning and the Internet of Things will change the way that we manage our lives every day. “We will begin to see these technologies used together to aggregate data and determine consumer needs. We will see devices that leverage multiple pieces of data to schedule meetings, make recommendations, and even pay bills. Our devices will become a critical part of our lives.”

 

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