Alex Martinex at OpenText looks at how CCaaS and speech analytics create a best-in-class contact centre offering.
Many companies today are transitioning from traditional on-premises telephony contact centre solutions to cloud telephony solutions—better known as contact centre as a service (CCaaS). But why are organizations shifting to CCaaS? And what are some of the benefits gained by migrating to the cloud?
There are other questions worth asking too. Are CCaaS capabilities mature enough? And do they offer advanced technologies such as speech analytics and artificial intelligence (AI)?
If analytics and AI aren’t inherent features in your CCaaS solution, your organization isn’t likely to be providing the utmost employee and customer experience.
What Is CCaaS?
CCaaS is a cloud-based solution used by inbound and outbound contact centres that handle customer sales calls, technical support calls and general inquiries. With CCaaS, the complete contact centre infrastructure is hosted in the cloud rather than on servers at your place of business.
CCaaS is used to intelligently route inbound calls from all communication channels, and to keep track of interactions using workforce engagement management software. Essentially, CCaaS is a cloud-based phone system that lets your company handle inbound and outbound communication with customers or prospects.
Why Are Organizations Switching to CCaaS?
I see two reasons for the move to CCaaS. The first is the most obvious: cost. Many variables drive up costs in a traditional on-premises contact centre infrastructure: from the space needed for staff, the automatic call distribution (ACD) system, cabling, computing and storage, to the real estate and utilities to run it all.
By contrast, cloud solutions offer a lower cost of ownership. And whereas on-premises systems can take months to deploy, CCaaS can be up and running within a few days or weeks. There’s also the benefit of the real-time feature enhancements.
The second reason driving CCaaS adoption: its ability to decentralize the workforce and support remote work by home-based staff and agents. This provides additional flexibility in managing call volumes as circumstances change, as we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Benefits Does CCaaS Offer?
Let’s start with the net cost savings. First, there are no upfront capital investments required for computing, storage, cabling, PBX, ACD and phone equipment. Plus, you pay monthly only for the services you need. And you can avoid the usual maintenance and service upgrade costs associated with on-premises contact centre implementations.
Second, you instantly achieve high availability, scalability and disaster recovery. When you manage your own data centre infrastructure, these attributes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars—and shortcomings can hinder your ability to innovate and provide top-notch customer service.
Third, organizations that adopt CCaaS enable an enhanced agent experience. CCaaS solutions let you provide agents with a holistic and unified view of customer demographics, product information, incident records and more.
They also provide the fundamental technical capabilities needed to handle omnichannel communications: automatic call distribution based on agent skills, caller identification, interactive voice responses, inbound call queues, call diallers, basic billing and product information and integration with cloud-native CRM systems.
But What About Speech Analytics and AI?
This is an area where CCaaS solutions don’t always meet organizations’ expectations. CCaaS providers generally lack the advanced AI and speech analytics capabilities required for modern quality control and personalized customer experience.
Businesses today need to constantly collect, dissect and analyse customer data to enact best practices and optimize agent-to-customer engagements. Solutions can greatly augment CCaaS offerings by bringing in enterprise-grade business intelligence and capabilities so you can acquire, merge, manage and analyse big data and big content.
Explore delivers insights from unstructured speech data. And it includes powerful natural language processing capabilities for concept identification, categorization and sentiment analysis. This delivers insight into customer interactions, allowing contact centre professionals to discover the “unknown unknowns” that are hidden in customer behaviours and feedback.
What Can Speech Analytics and AI Bring to Your Business?
With advanced analytics and AI, organizations can automatically score the outcomes of agent-to-customer interactions. And with the ability to aggregate data from social media sites, blogs and forums, they can automatically identify emerging trends. This provides a data-driven, near-real-time picture of what people around the world are saying about their company and competitors.