In the past, companies ran their contact centers using on-premises software systems. Maintaining consistently good customer service often required significant ongoing investment not only in the software itself but also in hardware like computers and servers—and that’s not even including the cost of staffing a customer-service center. Today, cloud-based customer service solutions are a natural extension of the growth of cloud and AI (artificial intelligence) across industries.

There’s an increasing demand for automated contact center solutions and a growing need for a consistent, positive customer experience throughout a business’ omnichannel presence. The COVID-19 pandemic has also put pressure on businesses to do more with less in all areas of operations, including customer service. Grand View Research’s recent report valued the contact center software market at $23.6 billion in 2021, and the firm predicted the market would reach $90.6 billion by 2028. The adoption of cloud-based contact centers and CCaaS (contact center as-a-service) solutions will be an important part of this surge in market value. However, research firms don’t quite agree what to expect from the CCaaS market.

A 2019 market study from Verified Market Research suggests the CCaaS market will reach $35.1 billion by 2026, which is up from $24.8 billion in 2018. Interestingly, Fortune Business Insights’ research, which was released in 2020 after the onset of COVID-19, predicts the CCaaS market will reach about $10 billion by 2027 (up from just $3.07 billion in 2019). Whether the market’s worth $10 billion or $35 billion in the next five years or so, factors contributing to its growth will include advancements in CRM (customer-relationship management) technologies, as well as the integration of AI and machine-learning solutions into various business processes. The integration of IVR (interactive voice response) technology into CCaaS solutions will also help boost the market.

In early 2020, COVID-19 forced businesses to pivot in many ways—e.g., transitioning to remote workplace solutions to protect employees from the virus, transitioning to e-commerce platforms to continue sales, and, in many cases, transitioning cloud-based customer service solutions to maintain or even improve customer service during an unprecedented time. According to CCaaS provider Talkdesk, the cloud offers benefits like significant improvements in redundancy and uptime (Talkdesk even offers a 100% uptime agreement). Another CCaaS provider, Genesys, points out that the CCaaS model allows businesses the flexibility of purchasing only the technology they need, which can cut costs and reduce reliance on internal IT support. This model also offers the ability to scale as needed. Other players in the CCaaS space include 8×8, Cisco, Five9, Oracle, and TTEC, among others.

The need for businesses to create and preserve relationships with customers by providing a positive experience isn’t new, but it is becoming increasingly important for this experience to be smooth across channels and platforms. Customers in today’s digital world expect to be able to connect with businesses quickly, easily, and on their preferred platform. They expect their issues to be resolved efficiently, and they expect their privacy to be preserved through it all. Customer service has changed, and the COVID pandemic has expediated these changes. Contact centers no longer require on-premises software systems, and the benefits of moving call center solutions to the cloud are starting to make more sense to more businesses.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #IoT #sustainability #AI #5G #cloud #edge #digitaltransformation #machinelearning #futureofwork #customerservice #CCaaS #software