Four Challenges of Taking a Telephony-First Approach to CCaaS

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The market for contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions has grown exponentially in the past few years. Many companies have made the move to this approach with high hopes that it will help them simplify their customer engagement across multiple channels, provide great customer service, all while helping to lower costs.

However, once implemented, many organizations have discovered that taking a telephony-first approach to CCaaS is not the panacea they had been led to believe and the promise of great customer engagement hasn’t been realized. According to Gartner’s 2022 “Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service:”

“The market has seen a notable increase in demand for systems that can support greater levels of sophistication in support of digital channels, self-service, interaction and journey analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide enhanced levels of automation.

However, CCaaS vendors’ support for these capabilities often lacks the functional maturity to meet customers’ demands.”

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service, Aug 2022

Why is this happening?

Let’s take a look at the top four challenges of taking a telephony-first approach to CCaaS and uncover why it alone is unlikely to be the single answer to your customer engagement challenges:

Challenge #1: Telephony-first CCaaS doesn’t provide great customer engagement across communication channels

Challenge #2: Telephony-first CCaaS doesn’t simplify the management and visibility of data across interaction channels

Challenge #3: The contact center isn’t the only place where customer engagement needs to be managed

Challenge #4: Telephony-first CCaaS can’t easily operate in your existing environment

Challenge #1: Telephony-first CCaaS doesn’t provide great customer engagement across communication channels

Historically, CCaaS vendors have taken a “telephony-first” approach — everything else has been created as secondary to the ACD and voice interactions. The problem here is that this ignores the many (and often more prominent) channels that make up today’s customer journey.

The preference for using text-based channels, such as messaging and social media, has continued to expand, and even overtake, traditional telephone calls as the preferred method for customers to reach out with questions and concerns.

With a focus on telephony, additional channels and capabilities are sold as add-ons rather than being an integral part of the CCaaS solution. And while these point solutions might “tick a box” when it comes to answering an RFP, they are not purpose built to provide the best customer experience possible.

More importantly, research shows that organizations who are confident in their ability to provide a great CX in 2023 are 3.2 times more likely to effectively engage with their customers via digital channels. See ECG study for the details.

Today, with “CX at a lower cost” cited as a primary driver, it is only through best of breed applications in an integrated platform, that organizations will be able to elevate customer experience and close the engagement capacity gap.

Challenge #2: Telephony-first CCaaS doesn’t simplify the management and visibility of data across interaction channels

When asked what’s motivating an organization to purchase CCaaS, the usual response is “we want to have all of our communication in one place.”  However, telephony-first CCaaS is simply not designed to do that.

While many CCaaS platforms can manage data from phone, chat, and email, they can ONLY manage the data if THEY provide the channel. Since most companies have multiple providers of digital channels, they are blind to any that are not part of their CCaaS,

This also leaves out social channels — some of the fastest growing group of interactions. Not to mention any new channels that may be on the horizon. Plus, any secondary ACDs are not included. So, if your organization should acquire a company with a different telephony provider, you won’t be able to manage their interactions.

As stated earlier, Gartner’s critical capabilities for CCaaS Report in 2022 listed one of the greatest weakness of telephony-first CCaaS platforms is their ability to support digital channels.

The result is disconnected, siloed engagements. And, these silos make it virtually impossible to have a true omnichannel view of your customers. A particularly thorny issue at a time when this holistic view is more critical than ever in order to provide great customer experiences across each and every channel.

Why is it so important to have all of your data in one place? Without it you have no visibility or control over the entirety of your communication platforms. You’ll lack a centralized way to forecast and schedule your employees and won’t have a unified look into the quality of interactions.

This means that you’ll lack insight into how to address issues and improve them.

Ultimately, telephony-first CCaaS only manages a subset of all of your customer engagement data. Without it, you’re missing the full picture and will be unable to make decisions that are truly data driven.

Challenge #3: The contact center isn’t the only place where customer engagement needs to be managed

What’s in a name? When it comes to CCaaS, it turns out that its very name tells us a lot! It’s called contact center as a service because that’s what it focuses on. The problem is obvious, the contact center isn’t the only place you engage with your customers.

Think about all of the ways customers may be interacting with your organization other than by phone. It could be via web self-service, or through your back office/fulfillment center.

Or maybe you have branch or other brick and mortar locations. Wherever there are customer interactions, you want to make sure that all of that data is captured so you can have a clear picture of what’s going on.

After all, you want to be able to provide seamless journey for your customers. Yes, they may have started with a call or message into your contact center, but then whatever prompted that original call — maybe a check on current mortgage rates — can lead to an in-person branch visit for a face-to-face meeting with a mortgage broker.

It’s also more than in-person interactions that go beyond the contact center. Think about Zoom, Teams, Slack, and the myriad other newer tools that have become ubiquitous for communication — also, all outside of the traditional contact center and beyond telephony-first CCaaS’ reach.

Challenge #4: Telephony-first CCaaS can’t easily operate in your existing environment

With its closed ecosystem, a cloud telephony provider simply cannot offer the innovation and openness required for an organization to scale customer experiences effectively. To do that requires a data driven approach to AI and automation.

But, if you are stuck using your telephony provider for your digital channels (which they are not designed for) or are trying to use your CRM as a knowledge database, you are stuck with a closed set of data. As a result, you are unable to access and utilize all customer interactions, across the enterprise, to improve CX.

On top of that, what happens if you want to change your telephony provider? Not so fast….you can’t do it. You’re stuck in your existing providers’ closed loop system. Same thing happens should you want to select a different vendor for a certain engagement channel or want to choose a “best of breed” provider for a specific workforce engagement capability.

Once again, you’re locked in and stuck.

The problem has changed. Your solution needs to change, too

CCaaS was originally developed at a time when most interactions were via phone, chat, or email. Organizational infrastructure was much simpler then. Customer expectations regarding the level of service they would receive tended to be lower.

Organizations had yet to truly understand the importance of providing a seamless customer experience across multiple channels. But, times have changed. Telephony can no longer be the main driver of a contact center’s purchase decisions. In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, finding a way to get great CX at a lower cost has to be an essential factor.

Instead of focusing on one specific method of communication, organizations need to focus on the customer experience itself and the role the entire suite of communication channels plays in determining whether or not it will be a positive one.

What’s needed is a customer engagement platform, complete with AI and automation at its core. One that can provide best of breed capabilities to manage, analyze, and improve customer engagements.

You want a platform that is designed for today’s increasingly hybrid workforce and can span all customer use cases including back-office and in-person locations. One that is built on an open architecture to support both your existing and future infrastructure decisions.

You need a solution that will address your most critical contact center challenges: Forecasting and Scheduling, Quality and Compliance, and Interaction Analytics. This includes everything from the ability to efficiently schedule both humans and bots, provide automated scoring for both digital and voice, text and speech analytics for voice and digital channels, and real-time work — all needed to improve CX while lowering operating costs.

The Verint Platform does all this and more — extending beyond the contact center to include solutions to measure, manage, and improve customer engagement in self-service applications, retail locations, branches, and back-office locations as well.

When you add applications like Knowledge Management and Channel Automation to the platform, the true differentiation between it and a telephony-first CCaaS solution becomes even clearer. With Knowledge Management, contact center agents can see the relevant information they need in the moment to answer customer questions and resolve issues all while improving customer satisfaction.

With channel automation, you can add the digital channels your customers want to engage on as well as automate these engagements using bots. Your workforce can be orchestrated across a blend of channels, provided with the up-to-date knowledge needed for a consistency of response from both humans and bots.

All of these interactions are captured in the Platform’s  Engagement Data Hub.

With Verint Da Vinci AI & Analytics and the Verint Data Hub at its core, the Verint Platform provides seamless experiences across all channels and from self to assisted service, to automate, orchestrate, and scale differentiated experiences.

The truth is — this is something that no telephony-first CCaaS alone can do.

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