UCaaS vs CCaaS

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CCaaS and UCaaS both help businesses improve their communications across different communication channels.

UCaaS, however, is used mainly for internal communications between employees, while CCaaS is used for external communications with customers.

Both types are growing in popularity, and are beginning to overshadow their alternatives — on-premise solutions, which cost a lot of time and money to maintain and update.

Businesses prefer the cloud-based, as-a-service model because it enables them to buy only the features they need and scale up or down as their priorities change, while also having access to the cutting-edge features that vendors constantly add to their platforms. Plus, agents don’t actually have to be in the office to access the tools.

With such similar sounding names, people often want to know the difference between CCaaS and UCaaS and which one is right for them. In this article, we’ll address these questions so you can make a smart investment.

What is UCaaS?

Unified communications as as service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based platform that supports and integrates multiple communication channels and streamlines internal, employee-to-employee communications for businesses.

Companies typically adopt UCaaS in order to increase efficiency, reduce internal miscommunications, and facilitate collaboration between team members.

To help businesses accomplish these goals, UCaaS usually comes with the following features:

  • Unified Interfaces: Users can place calls, send emails, manage contacts, review data, search through past messages, and more from one organized desktop platform.
  • Multiple Integrated Communication Channels: Employees can use messaging, video conferencing, phone calls, and other supported channels to communicate. Because they’re integrated, all information is captured in one centralized, online location.
  • Meeting Solutions: Effectively host and run remote meetings online.
  • Collaboration Tools: Screen-sharing, document-sharing, on-screen markup, and other tools help team members work together.
  • Call Recording: Calls and video calls can be recorded so that absent team members can watch and listen to them on their own time and not miss a thing.
  • A Mobile App: On the go employees can use many or all of the features on their mobile device.  

While UCaaS also generally includes business phone service features like auto-attendants, toll-free numbers, and direct-dial that help your business connect to the outside world, most of their features are designed to help with communications happening inside your business nexus.

What is CCaaS?

Contact center as a service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based platform that facilitates seamless inbound and outbound communications between contact center agents and customers across a variety of integrated channels, from text and online chat to phone calls and text.

Companies usually invest in CCaaS to improve the customer-service experience, increase agent productivity, and boost sales.  

Below are some of the common features that help businesses get the above results:

  • Unified Agent Desktops: With CCaaS, agents can access all channels and each channel’s data from one online interface.
  • Channel Switching: Agents can quickly and easily switch between channels mid-conversation without disconnecting or creating a new ticket.
  • Multiple Channels: Most software enables agents to use email, live chat, phone, and text.
  • Intelligent Contact Routing: Users can configure the call routing system to send inbound customers to agents based on factors like who is best equipped to help them.  
  • 360-Customer View: On one screen agents can see everything they need to know about a customer, including their past conversations, personal info, and account details.
  • Agent Coaching: Most tools provide coaching features like call recording or individual performance tracking.
  • Self-Service Options: CCaaS typically comes with chatbot and IVR features that allow customers to self-serve.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Pre-built reports, KPI tracking, customer sentiment analysis, and agent performance metrics like average resolution time help you improve your contact center’s performance.  

As you can see, most of the CCaaS features are geared towards enabling contact center agents to more effectively assist a business’s customers.

Similarities and Differences Between Ucaas and CCaaS

Both CCaaS and CCaaS help businesses integrate their communication channels, thereby quickening the transfer of information between various parties. They also have some overlapping features, like the following:

  • Access to multiple communication channels
  • Access to data from all channels on one interface
  • Advanced reporting and analytics tools
  • Various integrations

And because UCaaS and CCaaS are both provided through the as-a-service model, they also share some major benefits.

For one, they both have lower upfront costs than on-premise unified communications systems. There’s no need to make huge software, IT, and hardware investments. Users instead pay a monthly fee, which can also help them easily forecast costs out into the future.

Additionally, there is no need for the business to worry about system updates and maintenance, as the vendor handles all of this. Lastly, because all the features you need are online, agents can access the tools they need for their job from anywhere, as long as they have internet access.

For all their similarities though, the two types of software are still distinct types of software and are implemented for different purposes.

The Fundamental Differences Between UCaaS and CCaaS

The main difference between UCaaS and CCaaS is that UCaaS is used primarily for improving internal, company-wide communications and facilitating collaboration, whereas the primary purpose of CCaaS is to improve external communications with customers to increase sales and improve the customer experience.  

Anyone within a company can benefit from having UCaaS in place, as it helps them communicate with other team members and departments. A marketing manager can reach the VP of Sales using messaging, for example.

But CCaaS solutions are designed for contact centers, so it’s going to be customer service and sales departments using and benefiting from the software’s features.

UCaaS CCaaS
Purpose Enhance communications between people within a company to boost collaboration and efficiency. Streamline communications between agents and customers to improve the customer experience or generate sales.
Integrations Productivity tools, email, calendar, CRMs. CRMs, help desk software, email, UCaaS.
Most Important Features Unified interface, collaboration tools, video conferencing, meeting rooms, cloud calling, email, AI-powered assistants, mobile apps Agent desktop, email, text, online messaging, phone, call routing, 360-customer view, call whispering, reporting, customer sentiment tracking, auto-suggest, automated feedback collection.

Because the two tools cover two different purposes, it’s quite common for companies to invest in both and then integrate the two systems.

How Can Businesses Benefit From UCaas?

With thousands of internal communications transpiring per day, even just a 10% increase in their rate of delivery can save businesses hundreds of hours per month. But efficiency gains are just one of many reasons to use UCaaS. Here are some other benefits you can expect.

1. Reduce Internal Miscommunications

SHRM reports that the average company with around 100 employees has miscommunication costs of about $420,000 per year. That’s partly because miscommunication leads to people doing work in a different way than it was intended, and this way may take more time and also produce an undesirable result of that work.

With features like call recording and fast online messaging, UCaaS makes it so employees are less likely to misunderstand their assignments or tasks. It’s much easier for them to gain clarity on a request that at first doesn’t make much sense. Rather than guessing at their team member’s intentions after a meeting, they can get the real answer, without friction.

2. Increase Flexibility & Scalability

Compared to on-premise systems that employees can only use if they’re in the office, UCaaS is cloud-based, meaning that employees can use its features from anywhere, whether that’s at their home computer or in the car via a mobile app on the way to a big meeting.

UCaaS is also flexible in that businesses can easily choose to scale up and scale down as their company’s needs change. They can add new features or users if they need to, and just as easily drop them.

3. Improve Collaboration Between Team Members

Sometimes employees don’t communicate with each other because it’s too much of a time and energy investment. UCaaS resolves this issue by giving employees options. If someone doesn't want to hop on a phone call, they can easily send over a message instead.

Most UCaaS solutions also provide collaboration tools like screen-sharing, which allows one person in a video meeting to take over control of the screen and lets the other users see their screen. Document storage and sharing are also key, as they help team members get the information they need to do their work as effectively as possible.

How Can Businesses Benefit From CCaaS?

Because CCaaS solutions are built to facilitate more productive interactions between agents and a business’s customers, companies using the software typically see improvements in customer retention and loyalty. Let’s go into more detail about how a CCaaS can help your contact center.  

1. Enhance the Customer Experience

CCaaS helps businesses improve the customer experience in many ways. First, it gives them a variety of channels to choose from. This is incredibly important, as customers these days expect to be able to reach businesses in whichever way they prefer.

Second, since agents can easily view a customer’s data and history from one unified desktop, they can more effectively assist customers in a personalized manner.

This leads to faster resolutions. Customers never have to restate what they’ve already said to another agent. All the data’s there on the agent’s desktop, regardless of which channel was originally used. This speed in turn decreases the average time customers spend in a queue.

Lastly, sometimes customers feel that talking to an agent is unnecessary to fulfill their needs. Fortunately, self-serve options like chatbots and IVR can help them get the information they want without having to interact with someone.

2. Improve Agent Productivity & Well-Being

Contact center agents have a tough job. Throughout the day they have to answer difficult questions, provide technical support, and deal with unhappy customers. CCaaS lightens the load with various tools.

For example, many CCaaS solutions offer auto-suggest, which helps agents provide the best answer to a customer’s question during messaging. Another feature is call whispering — agents can enter a call and help another agent while staying silent to the customer on the other end.

Not to mention, being able to access all channels and data from one unified desktop, rather than scrambling one’s brain switching between apps and tabs, provides a real reduction in stress.

When agents are more productive they feel like they’re doing a good job. Free of worries about their performance, they’re more likely to be happy and less likely to quit.

3.  Easily Analyze and Improve Performance

With pre-built reports, customer sentiment tracking, and automated customer feedback collection, contact center managers can more easily track their team’s performance and spot areas for improvement.  

After finding those weak spots, they can leverage various coaching tools like call recording or call whispering to help their agents improve.

UCaaS vs CCaaS. Which Is The Right Option for Your Business?

If you had to choose just one, start by thinking about which investment would make the greatest impact on your business.

If you’re struggling with internal communications and it’s affecting your ability to serve your customers, but your customer service team is doing fine handling customer interactions, then UCaaS should be your priority.

If your internal communications are running smoothly, but customers are starting to experience high wait times, and you feel you can’t handle the increase in customer service demands without a fully-functioning contact center, it’s time to seriously consider CCaaS.

Many businesses fall somewhere in between these two extremes. In that case, it may be a good idea to adopt both CCaaS and UCaaS and integrate them. Because the prices for each can be as low as $20 per user per month, this is feasible for most businesses.

Conclusion

CCaaS is cloud-based software that powers contact centers, where customer service or sales agents help or sell to customers.

UCaaS, on the other hand, is cloud-based software that specializes in streamlining a business’s internal communications.

If after reading this article you think CCaaS is the right choice for you, consider checking out Plivo Cx Service, an easy-to-use cloud contact center solution that empowers agents.

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