The “as a Service” concept has become common as Cloud usage expands. We now see SaaS, “Software as a Service” and PaaS, “Platform as a Service” for example. There are other implementations of the concept, generically known as XaaS In terms of customer service, CCaaS, “Contact Centre as a Service” has begun to gain some traction.
What is XAAS?
In its simplest terms, XaaS is where an IT service is delivered to the end-user remotely using Cloud Technologies. VoIP, including VoIP Phones, is an example where the configuration of the handset, user profiles and perhaps phonebooks and contact lists are delivered from a central repository in the Cloud held on a hosted server.
One of the prime advantages of XaaS is scalability. For the user, being able to scale resources up and down according to immediate needs can save a lot of money by not having permanent infrastructure that is not always needed. As an example, in the retail environment, there will be a need for more infrastructure to support the additional traffic generated during a sale, infrastructure that is not needed at other times. Buying it only during sale times will save hosting and infrastructure costs. Using the previous VoIP example, XaaS reduces the need for the supply and maintenance of VoIP phones that stand idle outside sale times.
For suppliers, it provides predictable recurrent income, allows them to reduce operational costs by sharing infrastructure, and by analysing client usage patterns, make more accurate predictions of resource requirements.
This has led to suppliers offering delivery and payment plans that allow them to provide XaaS to a wide range of customers.
Business Benefits of XAAS
There are considerable benefits for both the client and supplier with XaaS models:
- Predictable and renewable expenditure;
- They pay only for what they consume, reducing operational costs;
- Reduced capital expenditure because they don’t incur infrastructure costs; and
- More efficient control and operations.
- Predictable income streams;
- Better customer usage analysis; and
- Lower operational costs using shared infrastructure.
What is CCaaS
Once again to be simple, a CCaaS is a software deployment of appropriate cloud-based contact centre technologies. It has the advantage of allowing a contact centre to choose the technology it needs, rather than implementing a generic approach.
Legacy contact centres, usually called Call Centres, have existed for many years. In the first invocation, they were resource intensive in human, telephone and IT resources. Businesses had to establish a delicate balance between cost and effectiveness.
They were expensive to operate, and often generated more customer dissatisfaction than satisfaction if customers felt that were not receiving the assistance they were looking for.
The first step away from human voice interaction was web chat. Even in their infancy, call centres with web chat acting as a relay system between a customer and the call centre could handle more queries using fewer resources. The interfaces were still based on PSTN connections.
The next step was using web-based communications, either in browsers or apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp as interfaces into the call centre. This dramatically reduced the costs of PSTN-based telephony by transferring connections to the Internet interface and minimising the PSTN interface.
By using VoIP systems and VoIP Phones linked to CRM systems, organisations could reduce operating costs and improve service levels. Customers also had the advantage of cheap or no-cost access to contact centres.
Today’s Contact Centre
Contact Centres have evolved almost beyond recognition since the early days. Improvements in technology have created an environment where customers can hold live chats with sophisticated automated engines. Sometimes it is difficult to work out whether you are talking to an AI driven bot or a warm body. Significant improvements in VoIP have made the transition to CCaaS easier, making it easy to implement advanced telephony management features like interactive voice response, hunting groups, automated answering and call-forward.
Real-time language translation has reduced the need for multi-location and multi-language contact centres. From the organisation’s standpoint, increased automation enables the collection of timely and accurate customer data that helps with product evaluations and determining general customer satisfaction levels. Many CRM systems have CCaaS services built-in or with interfaces to specialised CCAS functions specific to individual business areas. There are applications dedicated to providing CCaaS.
Why Businesses Need One CCaaS
A move to CCaaS from legacy Call Centres is an imperative for most companies:
- It reduces operating costs for a Contact Centre;
- It increases customer satisfaction levels by dealing with common questions quickly and efficiently;
- It increases the ability to collect timely and accurate product and customer analysis data; and
- Your competitors have one.
Sure enough, there are justifiable concerns about data security and data privacy, but these can be handled with appropriate technologies, policies and procedures.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to look at upgrading to a CaaS environment.