The millennial and digital-native customer of today no longer likes to be restricted to one or two mediums of communication and clearly votes for businesses that support omnichannel communication. Customer communication is evolving. Having only voice or email capabilities does not suffice as the customers today are inclined towards messaging, video and live chat (omnichannel communication). A recent survey by Walker indicates that by the time 2020 dawns on us, customer experience will overtake price as the top brand differentiator. For organisations that have adopted effective customer experience as a part of their strategy, embedding real-time communications (voice, video, messaging) into their applications is a great way of enhancing and ensuring seamless customer engagement.
Imagine a customer on an e-commerce platform hitting a roadblock having to then exit the app to make a phone call or send an email to the customer service executive. This would result in built-up frustration and is also a waste of precious time. More so if it is a time-based app, as switching the app might result in having to input the information from scratch. An ideal situation would be to provide an in-app facility to the customer to be able to make a voice/video call to the agent.
Abovesaid is the scenario where CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) enables organisations to create an environment extremely hospitable for customers. CPaaS, which is a cloud-based communication platform, allows organisations/developers to integrate communication features like messaging, voice & video into their applications without having to invest in the back-end infrastructure. The CPaaS providers take care of everything including the servers, networking, storage et al. While the organisations only need to manage the applications. This becomes possible through the provision of open software development kits (SDKs) and open application programming interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to embed video, messaging and voice into their applications.
No wonder why a lot of businesses now are deploying CPaaS to create collaborative and contextual communication and also to ensure differentiated user experience.
A full-stack CPaaS provider is a platform that delivers a heavily integrated set of programmable APIs. These APIs are closely knit together to enable the delivery of customised voice, video or messaging solutions into applications or websites. Having anything less should not call itself a full-stack CPaaS provider. It is therefore critical that organisations work with a CPaaS Provider that has a broad range of communication functionalities.
Having said that, the soaring demand for CPaaS has resulted in many voice/messaging aggregators to dive-in as CPaaS vendors. However, they often do not exhibit the attributes of a true CPaaS provider that aims to provide omnichannel communications to organisations by offering a comprehensive set of communication platforms (voice, video and messaging).
Here are some reasons why the latter might not match up to your expectations when compared with a true full-stack provider:
It is possible an organisation might want to start off with one of the three categories – voice, video and messaging. However, once the organisation identifies the advantages of real-time communication, it might come up with a requirement for incorporating the other two as well. In which case, a full-stack provider is your best bet. For e.g. A customer contact centre choosing only voice to begin with might see value in a video chat for a more interactive communication.
Vendors that are not full-stack providers might not be able to offer seamless integration of all components. For example, if you opt for only messaging first and later decide to embed voice capabilities as well, a full-stack CPaaS provider will provide you with an effortless integration of platforms whereas the former might struggle since they have not designed the products themselves.
There might even arise a scenario where the integration of these disparate platforms will become the organisation’s responsibility that might not possess the necessary capability. Moreover, it defeats the purpose of hiring a vendor if the organisation is required to integrate services into existing platforms.
The vendor’s lack of integration/trouble-shooting expertise might result in errors and might disrupt the communication cycle thereby increasing customer discontent. This is because you might be trying to synchronise components that were never meant to fit together and were not designed in collaboration with each other.
A full-stack service provider will take care of all the aforementioned requirements by creating all its components in complete harmony with each other. Hence, even if you start with just one of them, integrating the rest at a later stage is seamless. Also, you pay for what you use and never for the whole package unless you opt for the latter. With its open SDKs and APIs, it gives the freedom to the developers to design the applications as per requirement.
While on the lookout for a CPaaS vendor, you may also want to consider the role of intelligence in today’s communication. Voice, video, messaging being the fundamentals of communications, some CPaaS providers are now moving towards a broad range of communication APIs that support AI/IOT/VR capabilities too. Choose one that can provide your organisation with a distinct edge over the competitors.
EnableX is one of the few CPaaS providers offering full-stack CPaaS platform in Asia and beyond with voice, video, messaging and advanced features such as recording, AR and translation. With EnableX’s robust APIs, organisations can begin with one communication functionality (eg Voice chat) and easily add messaging and video chat as they enhance their applications and workflow to be omnichannel. This gives any organisation the trust and confidence that they will not have to select a second or third platform provider as their needs expand or change. Experience EnableX here.