UCaaS vs. CCaaS:
Why your business needs both

Author: Rose de Fremery

Regardless of your business's size or industry, you're likely looking for effective ways to improve your communication and collaboration. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) are powerful solutions for enhancing internal collaboration among employees to help agents provide excellent customer service. When combined, UCaaS and CCaaS can deliver even greater advantages than they otherwise would on their own. Here's what you need to know about UCaaS and CCaaS, the benefits they offer and why organizations are increasingly opting to embrace both technologies.

What are UCaaS and CCaaS?

UCaaS is designed to support and enhance internal employee and external collaboration. It unites business communication tools such as voice, video, messaging, collaboration and presence under a single umbrella. With UCaaS, employees can easily communicate and collaborate with one another and with customers from anywhere using the channel that's most appropriate for the task. For example, colleagues from the sales team can virtually meet to discuss their progress toward their quarterly targets using UCaaS's videoconferencing capabilities, while an employee who only needs to ask a finance team member a quick question about an invoicing procedure can simply message that person. Presence information indicates whether someone is busy or available for a conversation, making it easier to choose the right moment to reach out.

CCaaS, by contrast, enables and optimizes customer communications. Advancing far beyond the traditional call center model, CCaaS integrates a range of customer-facing communication channels such as voice, SMS, chat, social media and email into a single platform. It seamlessly routes conversations across these channels, allowing customers to switch to a more convenient channel without losing crucial context or having to start over from the beginning. And because CCaaS is cloud-based, agents are able to work from virtually anywhere and connect with customers at any time. Companies can also leverage the analytics found in a CCaaS solution to continually improve the customer experience (CX). As such, CCaaS is ideal for any company trying to provide an omnichannel customer experience.

UCaas vs. CCaaS: How do they compare?

UCaaS and CCaaS resemble each other in a few key aspects. Notably, they're both modern communications technologies that support conversations across multiple channels. Because they're both cloud-based solutions, UCaaS and CCaaS are more cost-effective than premises-based business communications infrastructure—particularly in the case of businesses that have multiple locations or support remote workforces. They can both be easily scaled up or down as needed, and they also integrate with other emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and application programming interfaces (APIs). They can also integrate with one another, enabling businesses to maximize employee and customer experiences.

UCaaS and CCaaS: What are the benefits?

You can use UCaaS to enhance workplace collaboration, whether your employees are working alongside one another in a physical office or they're distributed across various geographic locations. This capability, once handy, is increasingly essential. According to research from PwC, 63% of employees prefer a mix of in-person and remote working. In recent years, many companies have improved their productivity even further by integrating their UCaaS solutions with core business applications such as business productivity suites and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Because UCaaS solutions are cloud-based they can be quickly scaled up or down to meet your business needs. Additionally, you pay for what you need on a subscription basis rather than having to make upfront capital investments in infrastructure. UCaaS solutions can also be accessed fromanywhere with an internet connection and a device such as a smartphone or laptop, offering your company a cost-effective option for maintaining business continuity in the event of an emergency or an unexpected outage. Lastly, since UCaaS solutions are fully managed by a service provider, it can help reduce the IT team's administrative workload. With the time saved, IT professionals can focus their attention and talent on strategic digital transformation initiatives that advance key business goals.

CCaaS, meanwhile, is a valuable asset for transforming the customer experience. In addition to supporting seamless omnichannel customer communications and meeting customer expectations for convenient engagement on their preferred channels, CCaaS can also improve contact center productivity. Rather than juggling various communications tools that don't integrate with one another and refuse to carry over crucial context that's needed to deliver satisfying service, contact center professionals can enjoy a unified view of all their customer communications from within a single platform (if a CRM system has been integrated). They can also access this view using the device of their choice, remaining as productive while working from home as they would be in a traditional office setting. Some CCaaS providers offer workforce engagement tools that help contact center teams forecast agent availability and optimize resource use, further advancing the capabilities of those departments. Additionally, CCaaS offers organizations the flexibility required to support agents working from anywhere and the scalability to accommodate seasonal demands.

UCaaS vs. CCaaS: Why do businesses need both?

Businesses once thought of employee communication as entirely separate from customer communication, but this distinction is no longer as salient in an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. Research has found that happy employees and customers can help increase profitability and growth.

According to Gallup, highly engaged employees tend to be more satisfied and stay with the company, which means the organization is better able to retain crucial institutional knowledge. Motivated employees also consistently provide a better customer experience that keeps customers coming back, which in turn increases opportunities for revenue generation. Accordingly, rather than simply comparing UCaas vs. CCaaS with the intention of choosing one over the other, understand how pairing UCaaS and CCaaS can dramatically elevate your CX.

For example, by integrating UCaaS and CCaaS, you can streamline the flow of communication between the contact center and employees in other departments. This way, if a customer opens a chat session with the contact center team and asks a question that would be best answered by the product division, the agent assisting that customer can get a quick, accurate and helpful response on their behalf. You can also integrate your UCaaS and CCaaS platforms with your CRM application, retaining crucial contextual information about the customer and their query that can help your business deliver faster, more effective service.

When UCaaS and CCaaS solutions have been integrated, employees can find it easier to navigate their way to the features they need than they would if they had to keep track of separate tools for separate streams of communication. This optimized workflow reduces the friction employees experience while on the job, enhancing their satisfaction and increasing their engagement. Some CCaaS providers offer workforce engagement tools that help contact center teams forecast agent availability and optimize resource use, further advancing the capabilities of those departments. Businesses that combine UCaaS and CCaaS can also reduce their communications costs, easing IT's administrative burden and simplifying vendor relationships in the process.

Maximize the combined potential of UCaaS and CCaaS

Businesses want to be confident that they're making smart, strategic investments in communication technology. While you might once have evaluated UCaaS vs. CCaaS as siloed tools with entirely separate purposes, these two technologies are now complementary assets that can simultaneously optimize the employee experience and the customer experience. With the combined advantages that UCaaS and CCaaS offer, you can become more responsive to your employees' needs while also better serving your customers. In doing so, your employees will be far more likely to unlock their full creative potential, more easily adapt to uncertainty in the market and enjoy enduring customer loyalty.

Learn how Verizon's Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions and Cloud Contact Center Solutions can help remove collaboration barriers and improve productivity.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.