Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS): The Complete Guide

April 18, 2024 12 min read

Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn

What is Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)?

Customer expectations have reached an all-time high, and businesses are feeling the pressure.

Customers now expect companies to be available across multiple communication channels, providing quick and efficient customer service. Traditional contact centers are just not capable of handling surging demands.

If customers struggle to reach out to you, they’ll leave you for competitors.

The solution? Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) — a cost-effective and flexible cloud-based alternative to traditional contact centers, empowering businesses to deliver exceptional service through a centralized platform.

In this guide, we’ll explore CCaaS in more detail and show you how you can use it to improve your customer journey while making the most of your resources.

What Is CCaaS?

CCaaS is short for Contact Center as a Service. It’s an on-demand, cloud-hosted solution that provides all the features and functionalities of a traditional contact center without needing physical hardware. CCaaS software allows companies to establish a scalable method to handle inbound and outbound communications on every channel while reducing hardware, telephony, and IT costs.

A contact center is ideal for handling consistent customer requests, orders, or help desk tickets. CCaaS helps businesses manage various communication channels, such as phone calls, SMS, emails, web chats, and social media messages from a single platform.

Core functionalities of CCaaS include:

Unlike traditional systems, CCaaS is readily available from anywhere with an internet connection, offering increased flexibility and remote work capabilities for contact center agents.

Cloud-based vs. on-prem contact centers

Let’s examine the key differences between cloud-based and on-premises contact centers to better understand why CCaaS is becoming the preferred choice for many businesses.

Cloud-based contact centers offer several advantages over on-premises solutions:

Gartner projects cloud contact center revenues will reach $17.9 billion by 2024 while on-premises infrastructure declines. Cloud solutions provide faster deployment, more features, and better overall value than on-premises technology that lags market demands.

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) - Dashboard
Example of a CCaaS dashboard showing customer contact volumes and dispositions

CCaaS Software Benefits

Companies adopt cloud-based contact center technology for many reasons. If you’re researching use cases and the advantages of using a contact center as a service, this will help.

1. Cost-effectiveness

CCaaS eliminates the need for expensive hardware, software purchases, and ongoing maintenance costs associated with on-premise systems.

With a pay-as-you-go subscription model, businesses can scale costs according to their needs, paying only for the needed capacity and functionality.

This approach is more cost-effective than traditional contact center infrastructures, which can easily surpass six figures, along with additional licensing and maintenance expenses.

Gartner predicts 80% of companies will move to the cloud by 2025.

2. Scalability & flexibility

Businesses can easily add or remove seats and features on-demand, adapting to changing customer volumes and business needs. This allows companies to quickly scale their operations for seasonal peaks or unexpected growth without significant upfront investments.

CCaaS solutions also enable agents to work across multiple time zones and on any device, including phones, laptops, and tablets, creating a more flexible and optimized team.

3. Improved customer experience

CCaaS platforms offer omnichannel support, so customers can interact through their preferred channels, such as phone, email, or social media, while receiving consistent service.

Centralizing every customer interaction in one place helps agents access real-time customer sentiment, account value, and customer satisfaction without switching platforms.

An omnichannel contact center dashboard streamlines customer communication.

Advanced analytics and AI-powered tools like natural language processing and chatbots enable businesses to identify and address customer pain points proactively, driving better customer satisfaction and engagement.

4. Increased agent productivity

Cloud-based contact center solutions automate repetitive tasks and equip agents with advanced tools like call recording and quality management. Agents can better focus on resolving complex customer issues and deliver personalized service.

CCaaS lets agents work more efficiently, maximizing labor and technology investments. Using customer experience analytics, you can easily optimize any gaps in the support process to boost customer retention and lifetime value.

Call Center and Contact Center Analytics - Nextiva

5. Better security & reliability

CCaaS providers invest heavily in data security and infrastructure redundancy, protecting sensitive customer information and offering continued service availability.

With enterprise-grade reliability and uptimes of 99.999%, cloud telephony minimizes the risk of downtime due to office moves, severe weather, or equipment failures.

Leading CCaaS providers, like Nextiva, have multiple data centers across North America, offering automatic failover and real-time call routing adjustments to keep teams operational under any circumstances.

Differences Between a Call Center and a CCaaS

Call centers and contact centers are often used interchangeably but serve customers using two distinct customer support technologies.

A call center handles voice calls only. Call center software is ideal for outbound and inbound calls, such as customer support and sales teams. It provides features like call routing, queuing, and recording.

Contact center functions over multiple channels, including phone, email, text message, live chat, and social media. When offered as a service (CCaaS), contact centers field customer interactions over several touchpoints, as today’s customers no longer funnel through just one channel to reach a business. This omnichannel approach allows for seamless customer experiences.

Companies primarily serving customers over the phone should turn to a hosted call center.

However, if you want to give your customers multiple options for contacting you and provide a more comprehensive customer experience, a cloud-based contact center (CCaaS) is the better choice.

Related: Customer Service Contact Center 101: Features, Metrics & More

UCaaS vs. CCaaS Solutions

While both UCaaS and CCaaS are cloud-based, subscription-based services, they serve different purposes.

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) is designed for internal communication and collaboration, providing features like team messaging, video conferencing, and workflow automation tools. It’s ideal for businesses looking to improve employee productivity and enable remote work.

CCaaS, in contrast, is focused on managing customer-facing communications and improving the customer experience. It offers omnichannel routing, IVR, and real-time analytics, making it the preferred choice for customer service and sales teams.

Some UCaaS solutions may offer basic customer-facing communication features, such as a business phone service, but they typically lack the advanced functionality and reporting capabilities of a dedicated CCaaS platform.

UCaaSCCaaS
Internal communication & collaborationCustomer-facing communications
For all businesses prioritizing employee productivityFor customer service, sales, & support teams
Features: instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharingFeatures: call routing, IVR, call recording, call analytics
Integrates with productivity apps (e.g., Google Workspace, Microsoft 365)Integrates with CRM & helpdesk systems (e.g., Salesforce)
Streamlines employee communicationStreamlines customer interactions across channels
Improves employee collaborationEnhances customer experience & satisfaction
Basic customer-facing featuresAdvanced customer interaction management

How To Implement CCaaS Software

All you need to deploy CCaaS is a reliable internet connection. But there’s a little more to it than that.

Each company has unique needs for addressing customer questions or running outbound sales campaigns. The specific implementation of CCaaS ultimately comes down to the desired workflow and automation the business needs.

Here are a few key things you’ll want to remember to ensure a smooth and successful transition to CCaaS.

1. Identify your business needs and goals

First and foremost, clearly define your business needs and goals.

What do you want to achieve with your customer service? What specific features and functionalities do you need to make that happen?

Sit down with your team, including business leaders and customer support management, and prioritize the contact center software functions most important to you.

Consider metrics like first-call resolution, average handle time, and customer satisfaction scores to help guide your decision-making.

Contact center metrics

2. Choose the right provider

Not all providers are created equal, so it’s important to research and evaluate your options based on features, pricing, scalability, security, and integration capabilities. Look for an experienced provider that offers a comprehensive suite of tools to meet your needs.

Make sure your CCaaS provider adheres to relevant industry regulations and data privacy laws and has robust security protocols in place to protect customer information. Look for certifications like SOC 2, PCI DSS, and HIPAA based on your industry requirements.

3. Check your network connectivity

Before you dive in, check that your network connectivity is up to par.

All users should have a reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth and low latency. Run some initial network connectivity checks to confirm that users can maintain at least 1 Mbps up and down with low latency and jitter.

A VoIP quality test can help you assess your network performance.

4. Automate your workflows

Once you’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to configure your workflows. This is where you’ll streamline processes and improve efficiency by authenticating business app integrations and adjusting rules to ensure cases and requests are handled correctly.

Consider integrating with CRM systems, helpdesk software, and other relevant tools to create a seamless customer experience.

Nextiva integrations

5. Train and onboard agents

Don’t forget about your agents.

Provide comprehensive training to ensure they understand and can effectively use the CCaaS platform. Onboard agents in phases, aligning with each customer communication channel.

Adjust your company’s IVR, automatic call distribution (ACD), and workflows in an online portal to optimize the agent experience.

6. Use call analytics & reporting

Use customer experience analytics to gain insights into customer interactions, sentiment, and customer engagement. Analyze metrics like the number of interactions required to resolve issues, customer retention rates, and customer lifetime value.

These insights will help identify areas for improvement to optimize your support processes.

7. Plan ahead to transition

If you’re migrating from an existing contact center system, have a well-defined plan to smoothly transition to CCaaS.

Work closely with your CCaaS provider to develop a detailed timeline and checklist for data migration, agent training, and minimizing disruption to customer service operations.

Related: Customer Experience Analytics: How to Track and Improve CX

Key Features of CCaaS Solutions

CCaaS platforms offer a range of features to streamline customer interactions and improve overall contact center operations:

When exploring different contact center solutions, remember that you want a platform that helps solve your business needs with the right blend of communication functionality.

How To Choose The Best CCaaS Software Platform

Selecting the right contact center software ensures that your agents provide customers with top-notch service, regardless of how they reach out.

As you explore different providers, here are some essential questions to consider: 

And with that, you’re ready to select your next Contact Center as a Service provider with confidence.

Get a cloud contact center from Nextiva.

IVR, call recording, VoIP numbers, call routing, advanced reporting–integrated in ONE cloud platform.

CCaaS Software Providers

Here are the top-rated CCaaS providers to consider when exploring a contact center solution for your organization.

1) Nextiva

Nextiva Contact Center is a CCaaS platform designed for high scalability and integration with existing business systems, focusing on cost-effectiveness and enhancing user experience through features like automation, artificial intelligence, and real-time analytics.

  • Advantages: Cost-effective, scalable, robust CRM integrations
  • Best for: Businesses looking for an all-in-one communication solution
  • Pricing: Starts at $99 per user per month for voice and digital CCaaS functionality

2) Avaya OneCloud CCaaS

Avaya offers a widely known call center software solution with a focus on flexibility and customized setups using AI tools and noise removal for enhanced communication clarity.

  • Advantages: High customization, comprehensive omnichannel support
  • Best for: Companies needing tailored communication solutions
  • Pricing: Not publicly disclosed.

3) Genesys Cloud CX

Genesys blends AI-driven management with comprehensive analytics and workforce optimization to adapt to business needs, prioritizing personalized customer engagement.

  • Advantages: Flexible AI integrations, scalable solutions
  • Best for: Dynamic businesses focusing on customer interaction
  • Pricing: Starts from $75/month for standard voice features

4) Cisco Webex Contact Center

Cisco Webex is versatile CCaaS platform integrating various communication tools and analytics, recognized for its ease of customization and integration with the broader Webex suite.

  • Advantages: Reliable, customizable, integrates with UCaaS
  • Best for: Businesses seeking a unified communication approach
  • Pricing: Not publicly disclosed, but some sources suggest $150 per user per month.

5) Five9

Five9 delivers a cloud-based platform integrating CRM and voice services, focusing on efficiency and data insights through AI and automated workflows, aimed at improving customer service.

  • Advantages: Integrative AI features, comprehensive analytics
  • Best for: Enterprises seeking traditional contact center software
  • Pricing: Starts at $175 per user per month

Close the CCaaS Gap with Nextiva

If you want to equip your sales and support teams, CCaaS is the perfect, scalable solution. For almost every other department, UCaaS is a wise choice. You get the communication features that most employees need.

Combining CCaaS and UCaaS, you can create a seamless communication ecosystem that caters to the specific needs of each department. You work efficiently and provide a better customer experience across all touchpoints.

With the right business phone system, you won’t need to settle for one or the other.

See how Nextiva helped Shelby American deliver better customer experiences.

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) FAQs

Is CCaaS secure and meet data protection requirements?

Absolutely. CCaaS prioritizes security and complies with essential data protection regulations, such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC 2, and ISO/IEC 27001. When considering a contact center solution, discussing your business requirements is important to ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Learn more about Nextiva’s network and security tips for healthcare organizations.

How much does CCaaS software cost?

CCaaS pricing models vary depending on features, user count, and usage. Most providers offer flexible plans to fit different business needs. As a general guideline, CCaaS software costs between $100–$200 per agent monthly. Learn more about the pricing and costs of CCaaS.

Is CCaaS suitable for small businesses or just large enterprises?

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) software is suitable for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. Its subscription model allows teams to access advanced features without upfront costs, leveling the playing field between enterprises and smaller firms.

These contact center features enable small teams to deliver superior customer service and compete with industry leaders.

How easy is it to implement CCaaS and train my agents?

Implementing CCaaS is straightforward since it eliminates the need for complex hardware installations. The contact center provider handles maintenance and updates, reducing the burden on your IT team.

CCaaS platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and helpful training materials, making agent training quick and easy. The intuitive interface and AI-powered features ensure rapid onboarding and equip agents to deliver exceptional customer service.


What is an example of a CCaaS?

An example of CCaaS software provides multi-channel communications for a team of agents to interact with inbound or outbound customer interactions. Its functionality extends across voice, email, website chat, video meetings, text messaging, and social media.

Top-rated contact center software providers are Nextiva, Thrio, Five9, Talkdesk, Genesys Cloud CX, and Cisco Webex Contact Center. These are just a few examples. Many other CCaaS providers are available on the market. Compare features, pricing, and other factors to find the best solution for your specific needs.

Chris Reaburn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn is the Chief of Strategic Execution at Nextiva. Known as "Reaburn" by friends/family, he is responsible for championing Nextiva's brand and products into the market in support of the company's vision to change the way businesses around the world work and serve their customers. With his previous leadership roles in the communications industry…

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