• October 4, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Cloud Contact Centers to Be Mainstream in Two Years

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Contact center as a service (CCaaS) will likely hit mainstream adoption in less than two years, according to Gartner, which puts it on the “Slope of Enlightenment” on the 2021 Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies.

Some early adopters of CCaaS have overcome the initial hurdles and are beginning to see the benefits of the service, the research firm reports.

“CCaaS is a growth market,” says Drew Kraus, vice president analyst in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. “The technology offers greater software agility with a lower cost of ownership, making it a key area of investment in innovation and customer service applications that surpasses the offers of legacy premises-based or server technology.”

To realize the full benefits of CCaaS, service and support leaders should reduce the impacts of transitioning off legacy systems by focusing on providers with referenceable transition frameworks and methodologies for migrating from relevant on-premises systems to their CCaaS offerings.

Gartner also positioned work-from-home (WFH) agent technology as the only item on its “Plateau of Productivity,” meaning it is already hitting mainstream adoption.

“The adoption of WFH agent technology has passed 50 percent across organizations thanks to the move to remote work during the early stages of the pandemic,” Kraus explains. “Many leaders are now reviewing technologies and processes to optimize what is becoming a mainstream business practice of supporting flexible work environments for customer service agents, in addition to what will become standard practice for maintaining business continuity during future disasters.”

Messaging apps, meanwhile, have also reached mainstream maturity, according to Gartner, and will begin to impact businesses in less than two years. Although most used for communicating with consumers, the applications are increasingly being used by B2B organizations with direct sales and channel partners.

With this in mind, Gartner recommends service organizations start by using consumer messaging applications to address the most common types of customer interactions, such as account balance, order status, and change notifications.

Gartner also notes that customers’ need for self-service, combined with the emergence of conversational AI, has led to an evolution of most engagement models and the emergence of a new area of customer care referred to as digital customer service. Digital customer service offerings, the firm says, focus on creating and managing seamless conversations across digital channels. Organizations that embrace digital customer service will reap the benefits of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy and mitigate the risk of disconnected conversations with less procedural structures, it concludes.

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