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How can businesses create standout customer experiences?
In an increasingly crowded digital landscape, organizations worldwide are struggling to keep pace with emerging technologies while differentiating themselves from the competition through strong customer experiences (CX). Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) has emerged as a solution that can not only meet businesses’ needs but exceed them.
The growth of the CPaaS market in recent years has been triggered by multiple trends. Undeniably, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes in workplace culture and the adoption of cloud technologies. Unfortunately, the downside for companies is that an increase in the channels and technologies used often leads to an increase in complexity.
Indeed, companies whose channels are siloed, will struggle to see the full picture of their customer communications, lose time manually tracking down interactions, and miss opportunities for more valuable connections.
As a result, CPaaS has emerged as the champion for not only simplifying communications by integrating and embedding seamlessly multiple channels, but also enabling new uses cases.
“Enterprises are starting to evaluate more-complex use cases (beyond SMS) requiring rich communications channels and orchestration incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), conversational APIs and simple user interfaces to scale customer engagement. Vendors are advancing communications capabilities in these areas to address horizontal and vertical needs, such as campaign management or telemedicine” (Gartner® Market Guide for Communications Platform as a Service)
How businesses can enrich CX with multichannel communications
Multichannel communications are a key tool for businesses to take their customer engagement to the next level. This is mainly due to three key benefits: customer-centricity, guaranteed compliance (on GDPR and other regulations), and personalization at scale (10 to 15% of revenue lift is often driven by personalization).
While SMS represented 56,3% of CPaaS spend in 2021, enterprises shouldn’t focus on leading communications through one main channel. Instead, thinking in terms of customer journeys and use cases specific to their business should be the starting point for building workflows that integrate multiple channels.
For instance, multichannel communications can be deployed to:
- Send personalized reminders to customers to increase conversions (i.e. replenishment alerts: “Time to restock on cat food? Click here to schedule delivery”)
- Increase convenience for customers so they can access information in real time (i.e. contacting your doctor’s office via WhatsApp to check the appointment time)
- Enhance the customer care experience by lessening the wait time (i.e. routing calls intelligently by converting speech to text)
“CPaaS vendors are using these rich communications and technologies in advanced messaging channels to enable the creation of end-to-end customer journeys. In effect, advanced messaging channels are being used to support conversational “everything” in the channel from marketing, customer acquisition, onboarding, customer support, e-commerce, transactions and payments.” Gartner® Market Guide for Communications Platform as a Service
What makes a good CPaaS provider?
As it stands today, the CPaaS market is bustling with opportunities, and businesses that adopt multichannel models see the results in customer engagement, retention, and profitability. To be successful, providers must adapt to the ever-evolving demands of the market, but what makes a good CPaaS provider in today’s business communications environment? What programs are they using to differentiate themselves from the competition?
“Marketplace — Vendors are expanding their partnership capabilities through internal and add-on marketplaces and ecosystems CPaaS vendors may provide marketplaces of third-party add-ons, such as those for sentiment analysis or language translation to complement their own offerings and to further build a partnership ecosystem”.
Customer success plans — These plans help customers get the most out of their CPaaS deployments (often at an extra charge) and, in many cases, go on to build new CPaaS use cases across business units.
Professional services — These are specific professional services and consulting capabilities that may be brought in (either from a third party or by a CPaaS vendor) for specific areas, such as legacy or vertical-specific integration (often with an additional charge).
Partner programs — These programs recruit, educate and promote partners to help scale the business. Partners are valuable to reach the masses of customers, build customized solutions, expand geographies and build horizontally. During 2022, we have seen vendors launch more formalized programs.
Vertical and regulatory compliances — These involve adherence to vertical compliance (such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard [PCI DSS]) so their CPaaS offerings are authorized for use. Data residency and sovereignty requirements are becoming more stringent, as are requirements for local in-country record/data storage.
Developer blogs, developer relations, certifications, training and events — These build a deeper bond with the developer community. This is in addition to the core developer APIs, SDKs and documentation (on the right side of Figure 1).” (Gartner®).
The graphic below provides a visual representation of the CPaaS architecture outlines above.
When selecting a CPaaS provider, enterprises should assess whether the platform enables them to:
- Centralize all their business communications: Does the platform allow them to create, execute, and manage multichannel campaigns (across voice and messaging) through visual builders? For example, BICS CPaaS gives you everything you need to easily connect with customers at any time, anywhere: from a feature-rich platform, campaign builders, analytics tools, and leading voice/ SMS/ numbers coverage; to APIs, integrations, and plugins.
- Provide flexibility to support different business communications needs: Enterprises should look for a provider that offers the flexibility and support to co-create a solution, easily develop their own through DIY models (such as campaign orchestration tools), or seamlessly integrate a bespoke turnkey solution built by the provider’s experts. Pricing should also be adapted to the requirements of each business.
- Achieve business goals: Formalized customer success frameworks, including the one offered by BICS, are a powerful CPaaS differentiator. Rather than a completely DIY model, enterprises starting their CPaaS journey should seek a provider that supports them from design and implementation, all the way to provisioning, delivery, and billing. This can make all the difference in achieving business objectives.
- Get started easily: User-friendliness is crucial for businesses looking to adopt CPaaS to boost their business communications. Enterprises seeking to cut time to market need solutions that are easy to use for non-technical staff. A solution like BICS CPaaS, built to deliver seamless multichannel customer experiences globally, offers the flexibility to easily orchestrate and execute multichannel campaigns – all without needing to write a single line of code.
- Track and analyze campaign performance: It isn’t enough to just get access to raw data. CPaaS platforms that go a step further, and provide intelligence in the form of data analysis and actionable insights, offer real value to enterprises looking for continuous business optimization.
CPaaS built on a telecoms heritage
BICS’ cloud-based communications platform offering is built on a heritage of market leadership in enabling global connectivity and securely transporting the voice, data, and SMS traffic of billions of people in more than 120 markets around the world:
- Cloud-based platform hosted on AWS: For guaranteed reliability, scalability, and maximum security.
- Global network: To enable local points of presence for your customers, as well as global SMS and voice delivery, traffic control, and service quality/ reliability.
- Direct routes: Direct connections to the end party, for cost saving and improved customer experiences.
- Own infrastructure: Carrying calls and messages through BICS’ backbone infrastructure to ensure traffic security, and prevent fraud.
Tapping into its well-established direct operator connections worldwide, the BICS CPaaS solution allows you to seamlessly scale a local presence in every geography; with one single partner, and avoiding the hassles of multiple telecoms setups while maintaining quality, and enhanced functionality.
BICS is recognized as a Notable Vendor in the latest Gartner® report, which provides a non-exhaustive overview of the CPaaS market.
Explore BICS CPaaS platform today, and take your customer engagement to the next level
Source: Gartner® Market Guide for Communications Platform as a Service
Gartner, Market Guide for Communications Platform as a Service, By Lisa Unden-Farboud, Brian Doherty, Daniel O’Connell, Ajit Patankar, 19 September 2022
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This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from BICS.