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June 8, 2021
A new Avant Analytics report shows accelerating demand for contact center as a service (CCaaS) as more organizations see it as necessary.
CCaaS now accounts for more than $3 billion in global sales. Furthermore, some predictions anticipate sales reaching $10.5 billion by 2027.
A majority of IT decision makers plan to implement CCaaS solutions within the next 12 months, according to the Avant Analytics report. Some 30% of customers are most likely to make a decision on CCaaS technology when a contract nears its expiration date or when a legacy system’s warranty expires.
Those stats infer customers want to offload management of conventional contact center solutions. Furthermore, they want to pursue more advanced technological solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the customer experience. This is especially important for companies implementing permanent remote work options for their customer service agents. Many companies plan for at least 40% of employees to work remotely.
Ken Presti is Avant‘s vice president of research and analytics.
Avant Analytics’ Ken Presti
“CCaaS has emerged as an important medium for the use of AI,” he said. “Trusted advisers are in a position to leverage AI on behalf of their clients as a means of building increased customer satisfaction. At the same time, this opportunity provides them with an important starting point for building their own value propositions around AI, which will very likely extend well beyond CCaaS. Time will tell how this unfolds, but it lays important groundwork for moving forward.”
Presti said he hadn’t anticipated the degree to which CCaaS has workforce implications caused by a multichannel environment that combines text communications and voice.
“For example, where do you start your rookie contact center agents?” he said. “One school of thought says you start them on the text side because they can copy-paste boilerplate responses and then adjust those responses to the specific case. Proponents view this as better than having rookies talk to customers off the cuff. But another school of thought advocates starting those rookies on the voice side because voice communications are typically less trackable and provable over time. In either case, companies will have to adjust their scheduling so that both channels are adequately served at all times.”
Key takeaways from the Avant Analytics report include:
Thirty-two percent of IT decision makers are looking to CCaaS to enable or expand their remote workforce.
Fifty-one percent plan to invest in a new contact center system because their current setup lacks functionality.
AI has emerged as a key factor in energizing broader adoption.
In addition to AI, CCaaS systems often include a call distributor, interactive voice response (CDIVR), outbound predictive dialers (OPDs) and analytics capabilities.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents listed voice to text as a required AI capability when considering a new contact center solution.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents require PCI compliance for a contact center solution. This highlights the need for effective security to interweave with every CCaaS migration, Avant said.
Work from anywhere is definitely the new normal, Presti said.
“And you’ll see that trend continue even as offices open up in a post-emergency world,” he said. “In fact, most companies expect a 60-40 mix of office versus elsewhere. This points to the need for a cloud-based system that accommodates that trend. And CCaaS is the embodiment of that cloud-based system.”
AI will augment customer relationship management (CRM) integration in solving the problem of “contact center roulette,” Presti said. That’s when “you’ve bounced from one agent to the next and needed to repeat your story again and again.”
AI can also do some “really impressive” things that can help companies resolve minor issues before they become bigger ones, he said.
“For example, some of these systems can even tell if the customer is angry, and alert higher-level agents,” Presti said. “If that person has an ongoing tendency to become angry, that person can automatically be routed to agents with a known talent for smoothing ruffled feathers.”
In other news, Avant and Ujet on Tuesday announced a new strategic partnership. This collaboration unites Ujet’s enterprise cloud-based contact center platform with Avant’s partners. This provides clients with an all-in-one solution to build customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and long-term value.
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