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As organizations plan to increase CX spending over the next few years, they should pay attention to CCaaS trends, like agents changing workspaces and integrations with UCaaS.

Organizations spend just 3% of their revenue on CX technologies, according to Metrigy Research’s “Customer Experience Transformation 2020-21” study.

Depending on the technology, nearly 70% of the study’s 700 organizations plan to increase CX spending through 2025, while less than 10% plan to decrease spending. Contact center platforms are the most widely used CX technology, and organizations that already use contact center as a service (CCaaS) also plan to increase spending through 2025.

So, what makes CCaaS so ripe for investment? Aside from multichannel communication capabilities, CCaaS trends, like unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and AI, drive this technology’s usage.

1. Changing workplaces

Contact center agents began working remotely before the COVID-19 pandemic, but pandemic restrictions accelerated this move. More than 70% of organizations said their agents would continue to work from home indefinitely, either full time or part time.

CCaaS made the remote work shift easier than on-premises contact center services. CCaaS providers, like 8×8, Avaya, Cisco, Dialpad, Five9, GoTo — formerly LogMeIn — Nice inContact, RingCentral and Talkdesk, offered rapid deployments and some free services as agents moved to home offices in 2020.

After CX leaders saw deployment speeds and how easily they could add more applications from app stores, they also saw technology hurdles decrease. In fact, 56.3% of organizations said the remote work experience during the pandemic improved their perceptions of working remotely.

2. Integration of UCaaS and CCaaS

Organizations increasingly want to integrate their UCaaS and CCaaS platforms so contact center agents can pull in experts to help resolve customer issues. Other organizations want to give all employees access to contact center resources, such as voice of the customer analytics or streamlined ways to ask frontline agents for customer feedback. UCaaS and CCaaS integrations mean contact centers no longer operate as an island, but integrate into the organization.

Cloud providers, such as 8×8, Cisco, Dialpad, GoTo and Vonage, operate their own UC and contact center platforms. Some providers also have communications platform-as-a-service offerings that promote the value of an integrated service on a common native platform.

Other vendors, including Avaya, RingCentral, Mitel and Nice inContact, have structured relationships with either UC or contact center providers to offer integrated services on different platforms. Contact center vendors, like Five9, Genesys and Talkdesk, offer integrations with UC providers — giving customers the flexibility to pair their contact center platforms with their preferred UC providers.

As visual engagement takes hold, Zoom has entered the contact center space with an offering that integrates video with basic contact center features and is geared toward smaller businesses.

3. Artificial intelligence

Contact center providers focus heavily on integrating AI into their platforms, with no shortage of apps that AI can benefit. Startup vendors that focus on AI for CX can drive innovation and acquisitions. Many acquisitions have also launched new divisions within companies that use AI for virtual assistants, agent assistance, knowledge management, self-service, natural language processing, etc.

Nearly all CCaaS providers have acquired other companies to enable AI innovation, including the following:

  • Nice inContact acquired MindTouch for knowledge management.
  • Five9 acquired Inference Solutions Inc. for intelligent virtual assistants.
  • Cisco acquired CloudCherry for personalization and predictive analytics.
  • Dialpad acquired Koopid and Kare for self-service.

The list will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

CX leaders can buy AI-powered apps from startups and more established providers. They prefer to use a single provider whenever possible for tight integrations, common UIs and bundled licenses.

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Robin Gareiss

Robin Gareiss is CEO and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research, and advises leading enterprises, vendors, and carriers focusing on customer experience and engagement, digital transformation, and contact center.