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The traditional on-site contact center worked well enough for its time, and now, contact center as a service (CCaaS) is a modern solution that fits the pace and scope of today’s marketplace. CCaaS works just as well for SMBs as for large corporations because of the many benefits it provides. In fact, one of the major benefits of CCaaS is that it’s highly flexible and customizable.
CCaaS opens up a world of options to establish sales and support workflows using call center software and integrations. In fact, the choices are so abundant, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The best CCaaS solution will support your business goals, assist your company as it scales, and give you the best advantages overall.
Why Businesses Rely on CCaaS Technology
Before digging into how to scale your business with CCaaS, let’s get a good understanding of what CCaaS technology means. CCaaS stands for contact center as a service. Essentially, it pertains to a service that uses software that’s hosted in the cloud rather than on-site. “As a service” providers develop and maintain the software and provide it to businesses as a service.
The purpose of CCaaS technology is to power call centers with a robust set of sales and support functions so they can increase sales and provide better customer service. CCaaS technology provides the means to route contacts intelligently from all communication channels. A commonly accepted term for this is skills-based routing.
Before cloud-based technology came into vogue, contact centers were composed of in-house computers and servers, which took up a lot of office space. They were also expensive to install and to maintain. Traditional contact center systems required companies to continually invest in IT staff, equipment, and maintenance costs.
It was as recently as the early 2000s that a few companies took the leap away from traditional software programs and moved them to the cloud. Advancements in cloud technology made it possible for many users to log into an internet browser and access the same programs and systems.
CCaaS offers many of the same tools and benefits as traditional contact centers, and much more. You can still get basic voice features such as call routing, call recording, and voicemail, but with CCaaS, you get much more functionality.
With so many more functions and capabilities at your disposal when making the switch to CCaaS technology, how can an IT decision-maker evaluate the technical and business considerations?
How an IT Decision-Maker Should Evaluate CCaaS Technology
IT decision-makers are always in the precarious position of having to balance business considerations with technical capabilities. Beyond that, there’s always the issue of whether a company’s budget will support changes that are needed or desired. A lot of things can go wrong, and they often do. Technical problems can be complicated and costly.
So, exactly what kinds of things should an IT decision-maker be looking at to evaluate CCaaS technology?
IT Decision-Maker CCaaS Evaluation List
Here’s a list of ideas to get you thinking:
Do you have a VoIP phone system or do you plan to switch to one?
Does the CCaaS provider have a large number of clients that either work in a similar industry or have a similar size?
Is the CCaaS provider a leader in the “as a service” industry?
Do you feel confident that the provider can act quickly to respond to problems should they occur?
Does the CCaaS provider offer an App Marketplace, and are they willing to consult with you about the best software integrations and features available to help you reach your goals?
If you experience problems with software integrations, will you need to contact your CCaaS provider or the software application provider?
Can the CCaaS provider give you references from current customers to gauge their satisfaction with the service?
What is the time frame for setting up a contact center with the service?
What is the provider’s track record for innovations?
Will the benefits of the system exceed the benefits of your current on-premises system?
Is the provider able to work within your allotted budget?
How easy will it be to scale your call center during seasonal changes or other drastic changes in call volume?
Can the provider describe specific ways to customize your workflows to help you enhance the customer experience?
Has the provider had any problems with voice quality or reliability? If so, how did they handle them?
Security is a big issue with technology. What assurance can the provider give you to demonstrate that your company’s confidential information will remain secure?
Downtime directly affects your revenue. Does the provider offer geographic redundancy to ensure reliability?
What Are the Benefits of CCaaS?
Customers have many complaints when it comes to traditional customer support and sales operations. They’re quick to tell you how frustrating it is to wait on hold for a long time, be transferred multiple times, or try to navigate their way through a phone tree.
Traditional contact centers are generally siloed, with separate departments for sales, customer service, and technical help. With PBX phone systems and single-function servers, technical equipment can be a huge hindrance instead of the help it was intended to be. The lack of access to customer information and accounts makes it appear to your customers that your service representatives or salespeople just don’t know what they’re doing. That only adds to the frustration of customers who have already waited too long on hold or who waited impatiently before getting to the right person.
When you work with a CCaaS provider, all of those problems melt away, and you get many more benefits as well.
Here are Some of the Benefits of CCaaS:
Lower maintenance and equipment costs.
Lower costs for IT support.
Ability to scale your call center quickly and easily.
Multichannel communication capability and the ability to track communications on every channel.
Flexibility to set up on-site or virtual call center teams.
Ability to utilize remote or distributed teams.
Dashboard analytics that give you actionable insight into your call center.
Call center representatives can access a single source for all customer data and accounts.
A unified platform for your cloud-based phone system and software integrations.
No upfront investment in equipment or installation.
Gives your customers greater availability to your employees.
Greater reliability, possibly as much as 99.99%.
As a subscription-based service, you pay only for the tools you need.
Gives you the benefit of joining your business phone features with your CRM system and other helpful software integrations.
Puts every tool at your disposal to enable the best possible customer experience.
The final point is the big one — providing the best possible customer experience. It has to be your main focus if you want to be successful in business.
In a practical sense, CCaaS gives you the ability to monitor your call center representatives to identify and resolve common problems. The proper insights will help you to set up processes for coaching and training purposes.
Another popular capability that CCaaS offers is self-service options for customers. If a self-service function is available, many customers prefer that over speaking to a representative directly. It’s a perfect solution for handling answers to common questions or providing simple answers in a timely, efficient manner.
How to Scale CCaaS To Support Your Business
When we refer to scalability and cloud computing, we’re talking about the ability of your call center’s infrastructure to add or delete the number of call center representatives as your business expands or to efficiently manage shifts in call volume.
With CCaaS, you have the ability to scale your call center up or down quickly and easily without affecting your company’s performance. Agility and adaptability are necessities for successful businesses today.
Scalability gives your business the ability to better respond to your customers’ needs as they arise, which is difficult, if not impossible, with traditional contact center technology. A CCaaS solution that doesn’t have strong scalability simply isn’t worth your while.
Real-Time Examples to Scale CCaaS
As an example, retail stores have peak periods throughout the year. Many businesses make most of their revenue during the holiday season. Companies that specialize in landscaping and gardening have their most profitable season from spring through fall. Your business can scale CCaaS technology, giving you the ability to add call center representatives to your call center at will, without additional cost, time, or headaches. When the season winds down, you can just as easily scale your call center accordingly. As your business expands, you can add a limitless number of call center representatives to manage your call volume well.
Scalability ensures that your customers won’t be waiting too long before someone helps them. It’s also a benefit to your call center representatives because it ensures that they won’t be either bored or overwhelmed with too many calls at any one time. When your call center representatives have confidence in their abilities and enjoy their work, it also prevents problems with retention.
It’s a mistake to think that a small or mid-sized business can’t take advantage of the many benefits provided by scaling CCaaS. The fact is, CCaaS works well for any size business, making it a perfect solution for smaller companies on the verge of growth. As you’re probably aware, it’s common for growing companies to experience peaks and valleys. When those expected fluctuations occur, there’s no need to worry about having to change systems or software programs to keep the budget in line.
How a CCaaS Solution Simplifies the IT Role
If you’ve been spending too many nights worrying about how to financially support the cost of a strong IT team, you can put that to rest when you implement a CCaaS solution. In fact, with CCaaS, the service provider takes care of many of the tasks and responsibilities that you have no choice but to leave in the capable hands of your IT staff otherwise.
You’ll no longer need to have concerns about your system going down in the middle of the night, on a holiday, or on the weekend. As an added benefit, you won’t have to pay an IT staff member overtime or double time to ensure your business remains up and running. Your CCaaS service provider takes care of system maintenance behind the scenes and they manage all the concerns about security as well. All you need to worry about is having a reliable internet connection.
As your call center representatives come and go, you won’t have to contact someone from IT to get them set up on the system or to erase all traces of them when they leave your employment for security reasons.
Another type of technology that you should be familiar with is open API technology. This is a type of technology that allows various software programs to work together seamlessly, which also cuts down on the work of your IT personnel. No longer will you have to worry about your IT employees spending a ridiculous number of hours troubleshooting errors or figuring out how to get programs to work together.
Your CCaaS Business Checklist
That’s a lot to digest! To make things easier for you and help you scale CCaaS, we’ve set up a CCaaS business checklist for your IT decision-maker to review with a potential CCaaS provider:
✓ A VoIP phone system
✓ Call center software (Aircall offers a robust set of voice features)
✓ A CCaaS provider that offers an App Marketplace with a large offering of software integrations
✓ True omni-channel capabilities
✓ Service level agreements (SLA)
✓ Redundancy in various geographical locations
✓ An experienced leader in the industry
✓ Easy to install and implement
✓ A solid training program and post-sale support
✓ Can provide information on issues like compliance and licensing
✓ Availability of someone who can answer questions
There’s no need to be overwhelmed by the thought of switching to a CCaaS provider. Most businesses find that it can happen faster and easier than they ever thought possible. What’s more, they’re pleasantly surprised about the amount of money they save by making the switch. Over time, the benefits of switching to a CCaaS solution quickly become glaring as your business benefits by gains in efficiency and productivity.