UCaaS vs CCaaS: What Makes the Most Sense for You

understand ucaas vs ccaas and which is better for your business.
by
Daniel Weiss

Businesses have lots of options for digital solutions today and the issue of UCaaS vs CCaaS leads the pack as one of the latest hot topics in call center software solutions.

In general, the “as a Service” concept is getting more complex and versatile all the time. Innovation and flexibility reflect some of the prime reasons it’s so popular. 

Cloud-based phone systems and cloud-based communication technologies offer so many advantages that it’s becoming easier to join the ranks of businesses that are giving up costly, labor-intensive systems to migrate to cloud-based solutions.

If you’re ready to hop on board with cloud-based solutions, you need to make wise choices on how to build your communication tech stack.

We’ll help you sort out the definitions and differences that drive UCaaS vs CCaaS to help refine the “as a Service” conversation so you can make a decision about what’s right for your company.

UCaaS vs CCaaS: Defining the Differences

While the acronyms between UCaaS vs CCaaS are almost identical, and they’re both communication technologies, many of the similarities between them stop right there. 

UCaaS

UCaaS refers to a Unified Communications app that includes various business tools and is hosted and delivered by a cloud communication tools vendor. UCaaS is delivered “as a service” through a service agreement with a Unified Communications vendor.

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By unifying your communications tools into a single source, you get the benefit of being able to streamline your business functions and give users a consistent experience across all devices. With UCaaS, users can send and receive messages using different communication channels including voice, text, instant message, and email using a single platform that works on any device. 

CCaaS

By way of contrast, CCaaS stands for contact center as a service. CCaaS is a software solution that offers greater capabilities and functions than on-premise hardware. Like UCaaS, CCaaS is software “as a service”, or subscription-based service, and it’s provided through a service agreement with a CCaaS vendor.

A CCaaS software solution allows companies to offer cloud-based customer support by giving them a feature-rich set of capabilities that includes call routing, interactive voice response, and analytics to track user productivity and key performance indicators. 

Also, like UCaaS, CCaaS apps are mobile-friendly. Users can access all the features of CCaaS using their computer, smartphone, or other device via an app.

Another hot topic for today’s businesses is the customer experience. Call centers are springing up in response to the need to meet customers’ expectations. CCaaS has all the features that call centers need most.

CCaaS includes telephony services like voice calling and conferencing — and it goes a bit further. Call routing and interactive voice response (IVR) get calls to the right people in a shorter time than traditional phone systems. CCaaS services also usually offer analytic capabilities to evaluate a call center’s productivity. Another popular feature that CCaaS providers sometimes offer is call whispering, which allows a manager to listen in on calls and coach call agents in real-time during a call without customers ever hearing them. 

CCaaS functionality is a must for support and sales call centers where staff is on the phone the greater part of the day. The right integrations work with CCaaS to give them a complete set of business tools to make their job easier and the customer experience better.

What Are the Benefits of UCaaS?

Because UCaaS is cloud-based software and companies pay by monthly subscription, UCaaS costs less to implement and operate than traditional phone systems and manual processes. Costs are a major thing that businesses pay attention to, and UCaaS provides even more benefits than cost-savings.

  • Advanced functionality-Can switch between communication channels like voice, text, social media, and messaging at the same time. Open API makes it quick and easy to integrate various business tools without having to build a back-end infrastructure.
  • Increased flexibility-Allows call agents to be more agile and adjust to changes more quickly.
  • Streamlines processes-It combines all communication channels into a single source, giving everyone a single source for customer contact information and call history. Consolidating data into one area saves time and improves the customer experience. 
  • Enhances collaboration-Allows you to check in with other employees in real-time.
  • Unifies remote workers-Makes it possible to effectively use remote teams and distributed teams and keep them unified. UCaaS also increases the pool of potential talent nationally and globally. With UCaaS, your employees can access apps on their own devices, allowing them to work anywhere.
  • Redundancy-UCaaS makes it possible to forward calls to another number so there’s always call continuity.
  • Scalability-You can quickly add or remove users as your business grows or to respond to seasonal workflows.
  • Reduced maintenance costs-There are no cables to install, repair, or maintain. Cloud-based issues are less costly to fix, easy to fix, and you get the advantage of continuous updates. UCaaS also gives you more time and resources to ensure reliability. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the latest technology.

What Are the Benefits of CCaaS?

CCaaS brings many benefits of its own.

  • Improve customer experience-Competition is heavy for every industry and improving the customer experience is essential to providing customer service. Customers expect to get instant communication and have their problems resolved quickly. Call agents can more easily give off the impression that they’re knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Desktop notifications-Gives call agents instant notifications about incoming calls and there is no switching between the phone and computer. Call agents can immediately respond to customers or other call agents and you won’t have to worry about missing calls.
  • Call center features-Offers many call center features like call routing, IVR, voicemail, and call whispering.
  • Capability to work with software integrations-Seamlessly consolidate data with CRM, helpdesk, eCommerce, and other business software solutions.
  • Quickly and easily set up a call center-Gives you the ability to set up a call center quickly and easily. Makes it possible to set up remote teams and distributed teams and scale the number of call agents up or down at will.
  • Innovation-The best CCaaS providers are continually working on innovation to keep up with the demand for improving functionality and customer experience. Instant feedback helps them keep up with industry trends.
  • Cost-effective-Lower costs for equipment, installation, maintenance, and ongoing costs. CCaaS also costs less for tech support and keeping programs updated. The CCaaS provider takes care of administrative costs like licensing and troubleshooting so you don’t have to.

What Are the Challenges of UCaaS vs CCaaS?

The nature of software solutions varies significantly from one provider to another. Getting the right UCaaS or CCaaS solution is critical to a business’s mission. Poor serviceability can impact daily business operations and lead to a decrease in productivity and a poor customer experience. 

It’s hard to escape the fact that there will be a few negatives for every type of product and service and UCaas and CCaaS are no exception. Fortunately, UCaaS and CCaaS solve more problems than they create and the challenges they bring are fairly minor. The challenges of UCaaS and CCaaS are much the same.

Essentially, there are three main challenges of UCaaS and CCaaS—call center agent skill, rapid growth, security, and network services. Let’s take them one at a time. 

Call Center Agent Skill

While it’s handy to have so many business tools at your fingertips, it can be a lot to manage. Call agents need to have excellent multi-tasking tools to be able to answer calls, read information, route calls, respond to customer requests, and do it all in quick succession. Some people are naturally better at it than others and those are the people you need on your call center team.      

Growing Too Quickly

UCaaS and CCaaS can improve our customer service capability to the point that it increases the demand for your products and services. The busier your call center becomes, the greater the demand there will be for your products and services. That’s a good problem to have, right? Rapid growth is a good problem when you’re manufacturing, operations, and shipping can meet the demand consistently. During peak times and surges in demand, it forces companies to scale up all operations, perhaps more prematurely than they’re prepared for.

Security 

Computerweekly.com cites a study by IDG Research that looked at responses from decision-makers from businesses in various parts of the world that either were using or planning to use UCaaS or CCaaS. The study indicated that top decision-makers were concerned about data security. Cybersecurity is a major issue in the business world, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. About 70% of leaders said security was an issue and 48% deemed security as a critical issue. 

Network Services

Decision-makers also focused on the importance of maintaining consistent service globally and managing network performance. About 63% of the respondents said that they were concerned about maintaining consistent service. Around 57% of those surveyed said they were concerned about managing network performance. 

Overcoming the Challenges of UCaaS and CCaaS

Getting back to the survey, about 93% of decision-makers said they preferred to use bundled solutions that incorporated extra security features, had a software-defined network, and 24/7 performance monitoring. Most leaders believe that integrated solutions via UCaaS and CCaaS from a single provider are the key to being able to take advantage of the top business solutions without compromising security or network performance.

In fact, 90% of those surveyed said they categorized a service that was fully managed and offered 24/7 monitoring and had a software-defined network (SD-WAN) as highly important criteria in making their final choice of a service provider. Over half of them were already using SIP trunking with their UCaaS and CCaaS solutions. Overall, most decision-makers had full confidence in trusting their operations to bundled solutions from a single provider.

Weighing the Differences of CCaaS and UCaaS

When weighing the differences of CCaaS and UCaaS, you’ll find that they share many of the same benefits. Here’s a bullet list of benefits they have in common:

  • Reduces start-up and ongoing costs
  • Easy to install and use
  • Improves customer service and customer experience
  • Streamlines operations
  • Makes it easy to scale
  • Allows for redundancy
  • Improves call center functionality
  • Offers software integration capability

The main differences between UCaaS and CCaaS have to do with functionality. While CCaaS offers a robust set of call center features, UCaaS increases call center capability by bringing multiple communication channels together as a single source of data.

Evaluating Your Business Needs 

When evaluating hardware and software business solutions, something that doesn’t come up very much is how it affects accounting. UCaaS and CCaaS count as operating expenses as opposed to being classified as capital expenses. If you prefer to have greater operating expenses for tax purposes, “as a service” solutions are a plus.

Even before the pandemic hit the U.S., 88% of organizations opted for using cloud-based services in some way. Since the onset of COVID, 45% of businesses reported that they expected to move 75% (or more) of their applications to the cloud by 2021.

If you’re considering moving more of your operations to the cloud, these are some of the questions you may want to ask: 

  • Can we reduce our budget for business solutions without compromising capability?
  • How could we improve customer experience by being able to consolidate our business tools?
  • Are we ready to start a call center?
  • Are we ready to start using remote or distributed teams?
  • How will cloud-based systems increase productivity?
  • Will cloud-based solutions reduce errors?
  • Can a single cloud service provider alleviate our concerns about security and network reliability?

The answers to these questions should lead you to a clear conclusion on how to move forward. 

CCaaS and Your Contact Center 

With a cloud-based contact center, you get all your “go-to” solutions as well as all the solutions that are nice to have. With so many features at your disposal, you don’t have to leave out any features that could increase ROI. Consider how these features could improve your customer service or call center functions: 

  • Call routing
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)
  • Analytics to track KPIs can call agent activity
  • Call whispering
  • Call recording
  • Click-to-dial
  • Works with software integrations and open API

Besides giving you a robust set of features, CCaaS is easy to install, inexpensive to use, scalable, and flexible. In summary, it’s hard to deny the fact that CCaaS brings a vast amount of value to your operations. 

Why UCaaS Does Not Equal CCaaS

UCaaS is an alternative to using on-premise business solutions that are installed directly on computers and sets of business communication tools that aren’t unified. CCaaS and UCaaS are cloud-based solutions and they both include telephony. That said, they both give you lots of call features and functionality. 

The difference that UCaaS makes is that it allows you to incorporate other communication channels into a single source for call agents which makes it easier and faster for them to serve your clients. Ultimately, UCaaS creates a seamless customer experience, which is vital for today’s businesses.

With Aircall, you can easily give your call center UCaaS capability by adding many of the software integrations you’re already using. Aircall gives you that single source for business communications tools without the main challenges that business leaders worry about. With a robust set of phone system features and integration capability, Aircall alleviates the complexity and stress over creating your own infrastructure, so you can focus on growth.

Any way you look at it, UCaaS and CCaaS bring remarkable value to businesses of every size because of the flexibility and versatility you get with cloud-based solutions.  

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