April 13, 2023
By Renaud Charvet
The global unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) market has grown rapidly following the pandemic, as businesses require flexible tools that better equip them to manage any future unpredictable circumstances. While adoption is growing, UCaaS continues to evolve. So how is the future of the latest innovation in communication technology shaping up?
UCaaS refers to a cloud-based communications system that brings together a few business communication tools, including services such as voice, video conferencing and instant messaging. Trends in UCaaS are constantly evolving, driven by technical innovation in the marketplace and changing needs of businesses. As more businesses adopt UCaaS platforms, greater expectation is placed on the technology to perform. But what specific functions should channel partners look out for?
For most businesses, the future won’t be a case of deciding on whether to use a UCaaS platform, but rather of deciding which platform to use. This is partly down to the fact that the business world is going mobile and needs a communication system that is designed for mobile-first activity, but also due to the shift toward remote working.
A new study from WFH Research revealed that just under 30% of all jobs in the United States remain fully remote as of February 2023. Pre-pandemic, just 4% of jobs were remote. Additionally, as the world returns to business as usual, we’re also seeing an increase in travelling for business, too — whether that’s client visits, conferences or trade shows. All of this is creating a need for an adaptable communications platform that can be used on the go.
The goal of unified communications is always to make work easier by eliminating the need for multiple platforms, introducing portability and simplifying communication. Although we don’t know exactly what the future of work will hold, and it does differ from business to business and region to region, having an agile, adaptable solution that can meet changing needs will become even more essential.
One of the key benefits of UCaaS is its ability to integrate with an ever-growing list of third-party, business-critical software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools. Spearheading many integration tools is artificial intelligence. AI can be used to analyze data in a matter of seconds to automate repetitive tasks and allow businesses and employees to focus on tasks that require human intelligence.
There are so many ways AI can be integrated into UCaaS — virtual assistants, priority setting and meeting aids are just a few. But there’s also integrations that facilitate certain job functions, too. Take the example of AI-enabled revenue intelligence tools in sales teams, integrable with UCaaS. Here, AI transcribes speech to text through natural language processing and to help users analyze calls to advise team members on best practices to secure a sale.
This is just one example of where AI integrations are headed. They certainly add an elevated layer of support for users of UCaaS platforms. In the future, we could even see AI combined with augmented reality to support remote teams to collaborate and reduce the dependence on in-office time further.
While UCaaS is primarily used to enable internal communication, we’re also expecting a rise in the tools for external communication with customers through contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) technology — a specific application of UCaaS designed to support customer service agents.
CCaaS platforms enable agents to manage all communication channels through one system: phone, email, live chat and social media. Integrate it with the CRM, and customer data can be pulled from any source and presented in one platform, preventing erroneous or missing information input. This gives agents the right information at their fingertips to deal with customer enquiries quicky and efficiently.
Customer service has some of the highest rates of staff turnover, so any technology that can make agents’ jobs less stressful will encourage better stability. But CCaaS doesn’t only make customer service agents’ jobs easier. By streamlining all communications channels into one omnichannel platform, it also improves the customer experience.
Customers crave choice in the digital age. If they’re contacting a company, they want it to be on their terms, using their preferred communication channel. While contact centers by nature deliver on this expectation, CCaaS software is essential to making the actual conversations productive by giving agents the information they need in an instant and avoiding information misplacement.
As more businesses adopt UCaaS platforms, users will expect greater freedom and flexibility, and businesses greater productivity and continuity. Communication has evolved and there’s certainly no going back from UCaaS. Instead, we need to look forward to how the future will look and what additional functionalities are to come this year and beyond.
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