Communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) is changing the customer engagement status quo

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) is changing the customer engagement status quo

In this age of digitalization, many companies today use more than 40 different communications channels, including phone, social media (Facebook, Twitter, VIBER, etc.), mobile apps, collaborative tools, voice, email, and chat. It is no brainer that communication channels have exploded over the years and the customer engagement space has undergone a significant shift. Earlier contact centers were primarily used for customer support & service. But in this new normal, contact centers have become the first point of contact. All the functions including sales & marketing, relationship management, and fulfillment need to be on the same platform to ensure data consistency throughout the customer journey and deliver a superior customer experience.

However, creating omnichannel customer experiences has been a significant hurdle for businesses as they connect to customers through multiple communication channels leading to data silos. “While 87% of retail leaders agree that creating an omnichannel strategy is critical for business success, only 8% say they have achieved it,” states research conducted by Research Live, an international website for global market research. Although businesses are striving to achieve this milestone of creating omnichannel experiences by leveraging all the modern capabilities from a customer engagement front, it is perhaps not being utilized to its true potential. As complex and challenging as it might seem to integrate multiple software and vendors, it becomes easier and simpler by adding an essential technology, a communications platform as a service (CPaaS).

Resembling the Prominence of CPaaS in the Global Market

The global value of the CPaaS market is likely to exceed $10 billion for the first time next year, rising from $8.6 billion in 2021. This represents a growth of 17% year-on-year, says Juniper Research, who conducted the findings. While these may just look like numbers, they show the significance of this new rising player in the customer engagement space. The significant change in CPaaS revenue numbers comes from companies’ transition from using off-the-shelf products to crafting highly customized solutions according to their business needs.

How CPaaS is Improving the Overall Customer Experience on Multiple Fronts?

Providing an all-in-one Communication platform: In the time and age where consumers increasingly prefer direct, authentic interactions, CPaaS solutions allow companies to develop real-time communication (like voice, video, and instant messaging) using a one-click connection. This provides the brand representative with ease to connect with the customers. Further, with the help of the intelligent call routing/sticky agent feature, the customer calls are diverted to the agent whom s/he has interacted with previously. This avoids the chances of customers explaining their problems repeatedly to different agents, eventually leading to a smooth customer experience.

Stronger Monitoring and Analysis Capabilities: By utilizing the robust monitoring and analysis capabilities of a CPaaS platform, businesses can closely monitor the activities of their agents and know the areas of improvement. Ensuring better customer interaction analysis, CPaaS makes it easier for contact center managers to monitor the recorded calls to keep track of all customer interactions and agents’ performance reviews. Such capabilities can be utilized by companies like Uber and Ola to know whether a driver has canceled the trip after checking the customer’s destination or not. This will help companies take necessary actions and provide a better, optimized customer experience.

Embracing business agility: The word “invincible” does not stand true to the business world, especially in a rapidly evolving business environment. In fact, the recent example of COVID-19 is what stands true in this regard. As businesses had to make an overnight shift to the remote working environment, CPaaS systems accelerated this rapid change, allowing companies to work from anywhere seamlessly.

Freedom to Experiment: Nothing changes faster than a customer’s mood and choices. To this end, CPaaS is a high-speed feature swapping system that lets a business keep up with fickle customers and allows the company to bring in new features. An example of proactive customer service is using an IVR deflection to WhatsApp. For instance, if many customers ask about their monthly bills on IVR, the report for the same can be sent to them on Whatsapp, reducing the number of queries by customers and improving their overall experience.

Going the Extra Mile

To further achieve a milestone in the customer engagement space, CPaaS platform vendors need to expand their range of value-added services. One of the significant factors that can help mark a clear differentiation is the development of CDPs (customer data platforms) as a critical service that will increase the significance of a CPaaS platform by providing actionable insights into end-user preferences, such as contact time, contact channel, and upselling opportunities. This, in turn, will help brands and enterprises using CPaaS platforms to enhance the value of mobile communications by automatically contacting users over preferred channels at preferred times.

As the channels to connect are constantly evolving, the customer engagement space needs to move beyond email, voice, and messaging to more advanced capabilities such as video and AI. In addition, companies need to figure out what their customers truly care about in this crowded marketplace. It’s no coincidence that the CPaaS sector started to experience its rapid growth and the COVID-19 pandemic ravished the world at the same time. The pandemic’s restrictions and social and economic changes have made businesses realize that they need CPaaS to cope with those changes to survive and thrive.

The meteoric rise of the CPaaS sectors can be ascertained with the fact that the world is marching towards having convenient and contextual communication that will soon become the norm and not the exception. Continuing along with this same trend, companies have no choice but to be remarkable in providing better customer engagement and satisfaction. What indeed can help them in the process is undoubtedly CPaaS. In all, a happy and satisfied customer is another testament to the prowess of CPaaS.

-Authored by Sachin Bhatia, the Co-founder and CEO of Ameyo, one of the largest players in the Customer Engagement space in emerging geographies

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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