Customer experience (CX) is the key to building brand loyalty in a post-COVID world. And poor CX costs enterprises $75 billion annually (Forbes).
Many enterprises have addressed these issues but also opportunities by moving communications to the cloud to create new, powerful, time-saving, and value-adding experiences for both customer service agents and consumers.
However, migrating pieces of the contact center to the cloud is risky and daunting. Regulated entities must warehouse their calls in a regulated, audited environment that contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) platforms aren’t compliant with.
In addition, contact centers are losing critical features when moving to the cloud because businesses can’t tailor their cloud contact centers like they can with their open source, on-premise solutions.
Simply put, cloud platforms must be interoperable with legacy ones: or enterprises will struggle.
…modern carriers…can help you move your contact center to the cloud without disruption…
Still, innovation in the cloud is slowly pushing businesses to migrate, which then poses a new question: How can you build a best-of-breed, composable cloud contact center ecosystem with a new set of tools, integrations, and carrier services?
Cloud vs. Carrier
Your carrier is the power behind your voice. They’re the critical link between you and your customer, whether through SIP trunks, messaging, or a blend of both.
And now, modern carriers can do more than just connect you and your customers. They can help you move your contact center to the cloud without disruption, re-architect your CX in a cloud-first world, and give you global reach, where and when you need it.
Still, not everyone gets the support or capabilities they need from their carriers. In fact, contact center leaders have begun asking, is my current carrier the right one for my future in the cloud?
The legacy carriers are offering the networks they always have. However, there are new carriers that offer more: like a universal communications platform for composability and innovation.
These modern carriers have evolved to meet the needs of modern businesses, from all-IP, automated SIP trunks to integrating media with multiple providers.
Both enterprises already on their journeys, or are planning their journeys to the cloud, need a carrier that can help rebuild a cloud-first communications ecosystem.
The challenging part is re-examining if their legacy carriers should remain the core suppliers for their communications needs, now and in a cloud-based future.
The Three Layers
Historically, the carrier’s network was absent from conversations around migration and integration—carriers supported these needs through their professional and managed services.
To power contact center telephony, IT leaders would purchase SIP trunks from their carriers, or purchase bundled telecom services from their contact center solutions providers. However, many businesses have unique use cases that an out-of-the-box CCaaS platform wasn’t designed to address.
Businesses…must evaluate current carrier relationships…
With a modern carrier platform, you have three layers of communications infrastructure powering your CX:
1. The network layer includes the phone numbers, SIP trunks, emergency calling, and toll-free voice at the core of your contact center.
2. The logic layer is where the carrier can manage call flows with integrations to PBXes and to the communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) software.
3. The application layer is where the user interface (UI) and CX tools, like voice authentication and customer sentiment tools, live.
This three-layer carrier brings new opportunities to close integration gaps across call flows and SaaS products and simplify the communications landscape. It’s also why so many IT leaders are reconsidering their relationships with legacy carriers—especially when customers are at stake.
Businesses considering a move to the cloud must evaluate current carrier relationships and find a modern carrier that can underpin their cloud communications future.
Bringing Your Own Carrier
Find a good carrier, and they can take you anywhere. That’s why innovative enterprises have been decoupling their SIP, emergency calling, and messaging from CCaaS platforms and plugging in their own telecom through the Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) model.
There are many reasons why enterprises choose to bring their own carriers. For large, complex contact centers, BYOC has become increasingly popular because it offers control, flexibility, and vendor consolidation at scale, if you bring the right carrier.
Unbundling telecom from a CCaaS platform allows IT leaders to migrate to and move around the cloud with total control over where, when, and how it happens.
In addition, carrier networks with global reach allow contact centers to scale into (or leave) territories with one partner instead of managing different network providers for niche geographies. There’s then only one relationship to manage, regardless of global footprint.
Lastly, a modern carrier allows you to take a piecemeal approach to migrating. Your move to the cloud should include setting up parallel SIP trunks, deploying the CCaaS platform, and then porting numbers from on-premise to cloud contact centers. Then, creating additional integrations with third-party solutions needed within the ecosystem.
The CCaaS Integration Gap
It’s estimated that nearly $40 billion was lost due to telecom fraud in 2021, an increase of 22% since 2019 (CFCA).
While no single factor is to blame for this rise, much of this burden falls on contact centers. Many leverage authentication software to combat fraudulent activity, especially those in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance.
But as enterprises migrated their authentication to the cloud, they noticed a gap between SaaS and telecom layers—what we call “the integration gap.”
In order to send media to both CCaaS and authentication solutions, contact centers were forced to keep their on-premise Session Border Controllers (SBCs) to control call flows.
This applies to any third-party solutions needed in the contact center, from IVR to PCI-compliant payment tools, and to artificial intelligence (AI)-powered applications, like chatbots.
Rather than creating an integration between these two solutions in-house or keeping on-premises equipment to manage call flows, enterprises are looking to the modern carrier to create the bridge for them—something legacy carriers wouldn’t do, because it required re-architecting their network.
But with an agile, innovative carrier, enterprise contact centers can leverage these custom carrier-level integrations between their inbound voice and third-party software.
What to Look For
Gone are the days of struggling to configure rigid on-premise systems to fit your needs and trying to piece together regional carriers for global coverage.
As you’re planning for a cloud-first CX, look for these carrier qualities to help meet operational and strategic goals.
1. Business continuity and global reach. Voice continues to lead effectiveness in meeting customer expectations (Genesys). Today’s consumers demand access to brand agents on their schedules, and network downtime or number disruption can seriously impact customer relationships.
Today’s cloud-ready carrier should not only provide a high-quality, reliable, and redundant network but they should provide geographic reach where customers are.
This allows businesses to spin up or down CX services anywhere in the world, which is more and more relevant in the age of SaaS growth.
What to look for:
- 99.999% core network reliability for the best voice uptime and call quality.
- 5X network redundancy with multiple failover networks.
- A large global network that covers your existing and future markets.
2. Cloud-native. The gradual ISDN switch-off occurring across the European Union has raised an important question for IT leaders everywhere: how can you future-proof your communications?
The legacy copper wires and switches on-premise communications depend on won’t be here forever, eventually forcing businesses to migrate to the cloud. In 2021, there were around 884 million fixed telephony line subscriptions worldwide, 2.7% lower than 2020’s 908 million subscriptions.
Rather than using fixed landlines and hardware, look for a carrier that offers all-IP communications, which use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies to connect callers (just like computers use the internet to exchange information). This cloud-based network allows you to leverage your existing contact center infrastructure to provision and use VoIP services to communicate.
What to look for:
- An all-IP carrier network designed and built for the cloud future.
- Carrier-level integrations that allow you to phase out on-premise equipment.
3. Composability and network innovation. A modern carrier can unlock new methods of connecting CCaaS platforms to the broader communications ecosystem.
By understanding cloud delivery mechanisms across CCaaS, unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), and third-party solutions, a modern carrier can optimize and deliver more efficient, impactful workflows.
Today, this is only possible with a carrier because of their unique network control needed to integrate with critical CX apps.
The carrier is the glue holding together each leg of the contact center experience, from voice authentication to payment security, and to sentiment analysis.
Most importantly, carrier-level control over call flows allows businesses to eliminate on-premises equipment once needed, like edge SBCs.
What to look for:
- A carrier that can develop integrations on the carrier, logic, and application layers.
- Interoperability across third-party integrations.
4. Platform-agnostic. Porting is the riskiest aspect of moving CX to the cloud: it’s a perfect storm of varying carrier requirements, regulatory red tape, and lack of support.
This is why unbundling telecom from CCaaS platforms can give enterprises greater control over migrations, and even reduce friction altogether when moving to other CCaaS platforms.
Carrier tools like porting APIs and dashboards can make moving to and around the cloud so much easier.
In addition, some carriers are platform-agnostic to help avoid vendor lock-in and optimize cloud-to-cloud migrations. This is especially valuable as new platforms emerge and evolve alongside CX requirements.
What to look for:
- BYOC integrations with the CCaaS platforms you’re working with now or in the future.
- APIs, dashboards, and support to orchestrate your migrations.
5. Silent partnership and support. Bundling voice, emergency communications, and messaging with a CCaaS solution puts more distance between the contact center and the network provider.
Because of this, many enterprises purchase telecom directly from the carrier for more visibility into network operations, regulatory insight, and quicker time to resolution when things go awry. Still, not all carrier support is made equal.
When critical high-volume numbers are being impacted by network outages, a direct relationship with the carrier means a quicker time to resolution and more operational uptime for happier customers.
What to look for:
- 24/7/365 customer support around network operations and tactical assistance.
- Insight around new and evolving regulations, migration challenges, and more.
Find Your Path to the Cloud
The carrier’s role in contact center operations is instrumental to many aspects of operations—from business continuity to call quality to global reach.
To truly win with CX, your contact center needs something beyond plain old telco.
The leading contact centers have deployed a best-of-breed, composable cloud contact center ecosystems across a new set of tools, integrations, and carrier services.
Don’t be afraid to graduate into this new class of carrier that can help you achieve the same.