The Rebirth of the Contact Centre; Contact Centre as a Service 

by Alistair Niederer, Head of EMEA at TTEC and member of the GSA Executive Council

At a recent GSA Pop-up event a panel of leading industry speakers and CX experts including myself and Tony Chambers, Head of Digital at TTEC EMEA discussed the concept of ‘Contact Centre as a Service’ (CCaaS).

So, what is CCaaS?  Contact Centre as a Service is a software deployment model that enables companies to only purchase the technology they need and is commonly operated by a vendor to reduce IT, integration, and support costs.  CCaaS solutions are most commonly deployed as a cloud-based CX solution in contact centres, but in some instances, an on-site CCaaS software solution is more ideal.

During the event, the panel discussed the rebirth of the contact centre industry and the opportunities and challenges faced when adopting CCaaS, along with their top tips and considerations on how to implement technology when purchasing such a service.

Key takeaways;

  • Contact centres have traditionally required a large capital outlay for property, fittings, and maintenance.  CCaaS is mostly based on cloud computing and allows the on-demand delivery of IT resources via the internet with pay as you go pricing.  This means you can try technology and solutions without a huge capital outlay.  The other advantages are it is more secure and has a triple level of resilience which provides stability and connectivity, and is almost instant providing speed and agility.  Bringing in AI, machine learning and personalisation allows you to gain a much better understanding of customers and their needs.
  • CCaaS has changed the landscape for service providers, there are no longer traditional service providers as they are embracing new technologies and cloud agility. Outsourcing is changing too as the industry can now provide technology solutions that are not location-based and a mixture of human and robotics which is increasing the employee and customer experience.  I commented “It’s a win win for agility and flexibility and is a real game changer” which I honestly believe is the case.
  • The panel agreed technology has come a long way since the advent of ACDs and IVR and that a rebirth of the contact centre is happening.  In the past there has been a lot of technical restraints, but now fully integrated solutions are possible for effective and optimal solutions, making it a very exciting time for the industry.
  • The challenge now is that organisations need to adapt and adapt fast as the technology is available to allow brands to rethink IT and technology needs from their customer’s viewpoint.  The panel agreed the buying behaviours of organisations will change and there should no longer be large RFP’s and huge IT projects, replaced instead with how can you deliver a good customer journey? The focus is on the customer outcome, not the underlying systems and processes.

Top tips from the panel included:

  • Adapting to an agile procurement process based on customer outcomes and going to the marketplace to see who can best deliver effortless customer experiences.
  • Mindset and culture must change as there is a lot more digital maturity around today and a real desire to deploy the correct technology to make it better for both customers and employees.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are key to ensure customers are properly supported. Your CX partner can offer a vision into the future of customer experience - use their experience and insight.

The panel agreed that the most common barrier to CCaaS is a resistance to changing the way that contact centre operations have always been organised. There are many RFPs going around the industry with static data in a very dynamic world - often not even acknowledging the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a need to look five years ahead and bring the culture of continuous transformation into procurement discussions today. A long-term vison is needed as people are buying on-line using Facebook and other social channels. WhatsApp is already trialing a payment system. The way that customers interact with brands and transact will be dramatically different in just a few years. By the time a company creates an RFP the actual requirement for the customer service processes may already have changed.

One thing is very clear, organisations should continue to evolve their old-style contact centres into value-driven customer engagement hubs, orchestrating a best-in-class customer experience. The ones who implement cutting-edge CCaaS technology that enables flexible working, improves employee satisfaction, and has AI capabilities are going to be the winners for sure!

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