August 10, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided more opportunities for contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) companies with remote work prompting skyrocketing demand for cloud-based contact center solutions.
Ditching on-premises and switching to CCaaS has helped call centers keep up with the hybrid workforce and changing customer demands.
The global CCaaS market should reach $10.8 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of nearly 16% from 2021 to 2028. That’s according to Grand View Research. The need for enhanced customer experience is fueling this anticipated growth.
This is our second annual list focusing on CCaaS providers. Analysts and another CCaaS expert share their views on what it takes to succeed with the technology. It includes an updated list and fresh views on changes in the competitive landscape.
Pandemic Exposed Contact Center Shortcomings
Jon Arnold is principal of J Arnold & Associates. He said the pandemic exposed a lot of shortcomings in the way many contact centers have been running. That’s because they tend to be very telephony centric. They’re not highly automated and not set up for good forms of self service.
J Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold
“A lot of these inquiries that were overwhelming the contact center were pretty routine things,” he said. “And contact centers that were on the ball and adopted forms of automated self-service could handle it. But the ones that weren’t ready for it got completely overwhelmed because now they’re dealing with all these questions that really could have been automated. It forced a lot of them to think about artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud. And this is the CCaaS angle. If you’re using a legacy, premises-based contact center, it’s kind of inflexible. It isn’t scalable and it doesn’t adapt well to short-term changes.”
Pandemic Accelerated Shift to Cloud
Sheryl Kingstone is head of customer experience and commerce, and voice of connected user landscape with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
451 Research’s Sheryl Kingstone
“Back at the beginning of the pandemic, it was a capacity issue,” she said. “So we all sheltered in and the world fell apart. And we had long hold times for contact centers. They were not able to keep up with the demand. And there was not mature adoption across the board of some of these new digital channels. So while some industries were OK because they were already digital and most of it could go through chat, or were already adopting the cloud, a lot of other organizations still struggle to shift.”
These pandemic-related challenges accelerated cloud adoption and CCaaS, Kingstone said.
“And then beyond that, it’s what we are doing to scale these employees, to help them out with things like next-best action and real-time decisioning, and then incorporating that into digital channels for service that really became extremely important over the pandemic,” she said.
No Longer a Luxury
Brandon Knight is Telarus‘ vice president of advanced solutions for contact center. He said the pandemic impacted customers’ contact center needs in two ways.
Telarus’ Brandon Knight
“The biggest short-term impact was the exposure of several companies that had no true business continuity or disaster recovery plan,” he said.
Most companies faced outdated concepts and extremely manual processes that couldn’t be implemented effectively with closed businesses.
“The second-biggest impact was the realization that having a cloud-based versus premises-based contact center is no longer a luxury or future thought conversation,” Knight said. “Prior to the pandemic, the contact center space was dominated by premises-based systems, which didn’t perform as well using remote access or VPNs in comparison to a cloud-based system.”
We’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 top CCaaS providers. It’s based on analysts’ feedback and recent news reports. The list includes a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known ones making strides in CCaaS. This is by no means a complete list and includes a broad spectrum of providers in the contact center space.
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