On-premises contact centers are turning into an increasingly rare breed, replaced at many companies by cloud platforms that support a rapid pace of innovation on features and capabilities. But those maintaining an on-premises architecture don't need to be left behind on customer experience transformation. For them, communications platform as a service, or CPaaS, can provide the bridge from the legacy to the modern.
Companies can address the limitations of their on-premises contact center platforms by using CPaaS to layer real-time, cloud-based capabilities on top of them. With an API, they might add a click-to-call or live chat option to engage customers on a brand website, for example, or use text messaging to send out appointment reminders or loyalty offers. They can also implement more advanced cloud contact center features with CPaaS, such as cross-channel customer journey mapping, virtual assistants for agents and customers, and workflow automation.
Additionally, because CPaaS providers run in the cloud, companies can top off their on-premises platforms with new cloud-based capabilities without having to worry about adding back-end infrastructure to support them. In other words, they get the ability to update their customer experience (CX) strategies without losing management and security control of the contact center platform.
CPaaS improves contact center efficiency
Metrigy's "Advanced API & CPaaS Development 2023" global research study found that adding cloud-based features to an on-premises contact center was a primary CPaaS driver for nearly 38% of 400 participating companies. Metrigy's "Customer Experience MetriCast 2023" buyer-side market forecast study found that roughly 58% of those companies with an on-premises contact center are using CPaaS, and about 20.6% intend to begin doing so in 2023.
With enhanced CX often being an avenue to competitive advantage, companies need to embrace new ways of reaching customers and improving their contact center operations. This makes CPaaS an imperative for companies running on-premises contact centers. The good news is that, with growing availability of low-code/no-code options, the barrier to entry isn't insurmountable any longer.
IT and CX leaders who have previously ruled out CPaaS due to concerns about a development burden need to revisit the technology. Historically, CPaaS took the form of a full-code platform. This was often a deterrent, as adding cloud capabilities on top of an on-premises contact center platform meant lining up internal or external developers to build and customize the application using the provider's APIs and SDKs. Alternatively, they might have purchased a prepackaged product from a CPaaS provider, but such packages may or may not have fully met their particular requirements.
Cloud contact center features advantages
Today, many CPaaS providers offer low- or even no-code options that empower nontech professionals to add new features and functionality to their CX environments using drag-and-drop and visual workflow builders. Already, more than 55% of companies are using low-code platforms, and most consider this to be their primary approach, according to Metrigy's CPaaS study. Improved innovation, lower development costs and speedier time to market are the top three reasons companies are turning to low-code platforms today.
IT and CX leaders should be able to build a strong business case for CPaaS use on top of an on-premises contact center. Not only will CPaaS help stave off a migration for the service, but the cloud contact center features it enables can also drive key business metrics, like revenue growth, operational cost savings, improved customer ratings and increased employee efficiency. Consider the following:
- Revenue growth. Self-service virtual assistants can guide customers to a purchase, or a CRM integration, coupled with AI, can feed upsell recommendations to agents in real time.
- Cost savings. Automated workflows eliminate the need for manual processes that chew up time and money.
- Customer rating improvements. Sending appointment reminders, shipping updates and other notifications or alerts with the customer's channel of choice can improve customer satisfaction.
- Increase in employee efficiency. Ability for an agent to initiate a video call with a customer or team chat with an internal subject matter expert can lead to answers or problem resolution faster.
Cloud contact center is not a prerequisite for delivery of modern CX. CPaaS delivers value, regardless of contact center architecture.