CPaaS as a Change Enabler Amid Rising Customer Expectations: Insights and Examples
With everyone scrolling, swiping, talking, texting, sharing, and downloading – anywhere, across any device – it’s critical that companies can support dynamic and increasingly complex expectations around customer communications. Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is becoming mainstream for businesses to stay ahead of these expectations without having to overhaul their existing IT infrastructure. It’s a low-risk, pay-as-you-go cloud solution that enables technologies conveniently and easily, with endless possibilities to better serve customers. For example, CTI’s Business partner Avaya helped retail businesses quickly adjust to COVID-19 restrictions by providing Curbside Pickup solutions. Avaya has also showcased CPaaS in the development of its Contact Tracing solutions.
CPaaS is best defined as a framework used to introduce new value. It is part of the API economy business model, offering specific “functions” that you can pull from to build whatever communication-enabled service you want. In this way, CPaaS complements products like Unified Communications-as-a-Service and Contact Center-as-a-Service. With CPaaS you can get the benefits of advanced technologies such as AI enabled virtual assistants that can speak and text with customers conversationally. It is possible to enable these and other functions without being an AI expert. CPaaS also enables use-cases for proactive customer outreach and better engagement with mobile callers, resulting in improved customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Our customers and partners are using Avaya OneCloud CPaaS to introduce new value while dramatically reducing the time, effort, and budget that would normally be required. And it doesn’t matter if you are using a cloud based communications system, or a legacy premise-based system, or even a competitor system. Avaya CPaaS deploys from the Cloud, over the top, adding value to any existing solution. With CPaaS there is no hardware installation time required, and it easily scales up and down as a cloud-based solution. Recent examples include:
- CTIntegrations recently integrated Avaya CPaaS into its flagship product, CT Suite, to enable proactive SMS messaging to mobile callers, resulting in better response rates and more satisfied customers.
- The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health Manitoba leveraged Avaya CPaaS solutions to ramp up their ability to respond to huge increases in call center volume during COVID-19, and succeeded in managing peak volumes and reduced caller wait times.
- A major state medical center is using Avaya CPaaS as an intelligent conversational platform (think IVR) solution to speak with incoming callers in a conversational way, maintaining customer satisfaction standards, enhancing relationships and preserving quality of service while easing the burden on live agents to focus on more complex customer issues.
“In this new era of forced flexibility, it’s nice to know customers have the option to innovate at the speed they need, said Nancy Jamison, Industry Director at Frost & Sullivan. “The COVID-driven curbside pick-up surge is a case in point, as the majority of retailers were not prepared to provide it, and those that did were not prepared for the nuances of contactless pickup or dramatically vacillating peak hours of demand driven by the need for social distancing. CPaaS helps ensure retailers can be flexible in how the offer goods and services.”
Why CPaaS Makes Sense
Some businesses may not yet fully understand the benefits they can realize with CPaaS, but they see their competitors delivering new communications services that resonate with what customers want. They know they need to keep up, but they don’t want to spend a lot of time and money. This is exactly why CPaaS exists, as it allows customers to:
- Get started in minutes or hours – not days
- Have freedom to turn capabilities on and off, only paying for services when they are in use
- Enable agents to provide up-to-the-minute information for simple questions while allowing more bandwidth for call and chat flow for pressing matters
- Spread information faster and more broadly to large groups via a cloud-based notification service (particularly helpful during times of crisis)
- Easily scale for high volume; just like the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health Manitoba, CPaaS can be used to help front-end any burdened call center while providing critical information 24×7
How Your Business Can Use CPaaS as a Change Enabler
Manage increased inquiries across new digital touchpoints without being an AI-expert
With CPaaS, you can deploy an AI-based virtual agent over the top of your call handling infrastructure that can engage with customers in a conversational way so that they can serve themselves faster and more efficiently. If an interaction needs to escalate to a live agent, the virtual agent can intelligently route the customer to the best-suited resource based on information collected during the self-service experience.
There’s also the need to manage increased inquiries across a widening range of digital touchpoints, from popular in-app messaging services like WhatsApp to live chat. With CPaaS, this is as simple as deploying an API for WhatsApp or live chat on top of your existing framework to enable customers to communicate with your business how they want to. Turn APIs for different channels on and off as dictated by customer demand.
Proactively reach customers
Proactive outreach is key for maintaining customer relationships, now more than ever during an ongoing crisis. From health systems needing to proactively communicate with at-risk patients to retailers needing to handle delays for supply chains, businesses need to proactively communicate with contacts. CPaaS enables solutions that automatically reach out to individuals or groups with optional response tracking, text interaction, and auto-forms to capture information. In fact, CPaaS can enable all the critical messaging capabilities a business needs, enabling them to scale up reliably and quickly using their existing phone number. We have seen cases where companies have been able to generate satisfaction scores of 8 or higher for 75% of customers who use CPaaS in this way.
Better engage with mobile callers
CPaaS can be used to detect if a customer is calling from a mobile device, with the ability to switch to mobile self-service as a more convenient engagement method. By offering up an optional way of communicating (i.e. digital channel, mobile website), organizations can save agent costs and reduce toll-free minute time while delivering easier and more engaging customer experiences.
In this way, the contact center platform recognizes when a call is coming from a mobile device and asks the customer if they would like to engage in the company’s digital experience instead of being routed to an agent. If accepted, the company would digitally route the person either by launching its own mobile app on their device or sending them an SMS message that contains a URL to a mobile self-service portal.
The steady growth of the CPaaS market (IDC expects the CPaaS segment will grow from $3.3 billion in 2018 to $17.2 billion in 2023) aligns with, and is a direct result of, today’s ever-changing customer expectations. With the ability to seamlessly integrate communications into applications, brands can meet new and constantly changing customer expectations that create better experiences and drive loyalty.
Written by Oliver Bengtsson, a Senior Marketing Manager in the Avaya Solutions Marketing team, focused on Avaya OneCloud CPaaS.