Communications Platforms-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is an incredibly hot topic these days, and for very good reasons. It’s a way for developers to add today’s most attractive real-time communication capabilities− such as voice, video messaging, and instant messaging−into their enterprise applications, without the hassle, development time, and deployment hurdles of building the backend engine or interface. This revolutionary step in application development is made possible by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Communication APIs offer building blocks or coding ‘shortcuts’ that enable communication between applications in a much more streamlined way. With CPaaS development teams don’t have to build the entire infrastructure need for these next-generation communication features from scratch, because a lot of that work is already complete and hosted in the cloud. Thanks to APIs available to customers, suppliers, and third-party developers, the CPaaS market has tremendous momentum, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, According to Juniper Research, CPaaS is expected to quadruple to $6.7bn by 2022. (Source: App Omni).
Most enterprises see these pre-built communication capabilities as a tremendous value proposition because they can significantly accelerate development time while cutting management and maintenance costs, all while giving customers access to the best and brightest communications tools and convenience options they expect. Let’s review what CPaaS means for businesses today and explore ways companies are using the technology to redefine and energize customer communications and internal collaboration. Those companies that embrace CPaaS and make the right moves today can improve competitiveness by offering more interactive and personalized customer and employee experiences, all delivered through the users’ preferred channel.
1. Delivering personalized customer experiences- CPaaS is truly an innovation engine because businesses are empowered to quickly develop and implement new customer engagement strategies quickly and cost-effectively. And, these baked-in, must-have capabilities couldn’t come at a better time. In fact according to a recent study, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Source: Walker). By focusing on delivering unique and personalized experiences with customers, businesses build loyalty and pave the way for increasing customer satisfaction, retention and sales. A critical component to the customer experience is being ‘always-on’ and always available and communicating in customers’ preferred method, whether that’s video chat, SMS messaging, RCS messaging (Rich Communication Services), self-service, chatbots, or social. Premier CPaaS options deliver access to these communication interfaces and the next wave of tools users don’t even know they want yet!
2. Omnichannel marketing realized- On the path to delivering near-flawless customer service and enviable customer experiences, is adopting innovative customer engagement strategies and genuine omnichannel experience. Omnichannel marketing is complex, but at its core, it’s offering a customer journey that is well manicured to be unified and in sync at every touchpoint. Experiences that are free from friction or unintended gaps in communication improve engagement and brand stickiness. By integrating voice, video, and messaging, and other communications touch-points like chatbots, virtual service agents, and one-click call and messaging features within existing applications, the omnichannel experience becomes more unified. CPaaS powers omnichannel engagement because enterprises can leverage voice and video while getting smarter about targeted marketing, with real-time alerts and offers. With these tools, customer service agents can say the right thing at the right time and using the right communication mode because they have access to all customer records and interactions within a centralized and integrated platform. CPaaS helps power an omnichannel approach so businesses can also track and analyze how customer engagement strategies are working.
3. Good for external AND INTERNAL communications- While the spotlight is often on refining communications with external audiences, don’t overlook the potential CPaaS has to optimize workflows and internal communication. Embedded communications through APIs means that businesses can make their employees more efficient and productive when they’re communicating with each other or with their partner or supplier ecosystem. That’s because CPaaS adds much-needed context to our communication channels, greatly mitigating miscommunication and giving users a single source for all calls, messaging, or document sharing, for instance. Options for one-click calling, video calling, messaging, and access to shared ‘spaces’ online can improve internal collaboration with whiteboards, task managers, online calendars, and more.
Keeping pace with customer demand and driving customer engagement strategies are primary challenges for businesses today. CPaaS models can help companies overcome these obstacles by considerably reducing time-to-market regarding shrinking application development time. They also offer a big boost to scalability through cloud delivery. For those organizations looking at stellar customer service and customer engagement as critical differentiators going forward, they should consider CPaaS as a fast-track option to meeting their best customers wherever they are.
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