As communication is evolving, customers are using channels other than voice and email to interact with businesses and to purchase products/services. They are more likely to prefer companies that support channels, such as messaging apps, social media platforms and online videos. Companies now keep pace with them through communication platforms.
Communication platforms allow organizations to incorporate real-time communication capabilities, such as voice, video and messaging, to business applications for meaningful interactions with customers.
While products can be goods or services, platforms are access gateways. Many of the world's successful companies, such as Salesforce, Airbnb, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, use platform models.
Cloud solutions, available on platforms, have given birth to platforms as a service (PaaS). They tie multiple products together; are scalable and flexible; and connect all users via a single point of access, which exponentially increases their value and makes companies that use them attractive to customers and investors.
According to KPMG, PaaS adoption is predicted to grow to 56% in 2020 from 32% in 2017. Platform solutions that suit more specific requirements, such as communications platform as a service (CPaaS), are offshoots of this growth.
In the past, businesses that needed communication functions as an integral part of their services had to rely on phone or Internet service providers. Apart from paying a hefty price for them, they also had to monitor such functions using complex hardware and skilled personnel.
However, businesses no longer need to deal with multiple wireless providers. CPaaS helps integrate communication functions into business processes and services via application program interfaces (APIs). APIs are codes that allow software programs to communicate with each other.
CPaaS is cloud-based; companies don't need to spend much effort and money on building or maintaining infrastructure for a single function or to make everything scalable. Apps that use APIs can be prototyped, used, and delivered to customers quite fast.
Companies can choose a good CPaaS solution, rather than buying and installing expensive hardware and software. Because CPaaS solutions, such as the Cequens communication platform, allow embedding of various communication solutions like messaging and call features, businesses can integrate services, such as in-app customer support, in addition to their core products.
CPaaS helps people with much less programming skills than professional programmers to create applications. It also lends itself to serverless computing capabilities, as experienced by companies such as AWS Lambda and Azure Functions.
Most businesses now use multiple channels to manage their workflow, sell their products, and interact with customers. Customers want multiple communication channels with a business and expect quick and meaningful responses through them.
They want customer experience at each channel to be seamless and consistently enjoyable. The smooth transitioning between channels and an undivided focus on customers is the hallmark of an omnichannel experience.
Companies with an omnichannel approach understand and respond to real-time interactions, enabling customers to conduct business how and when they want. For example, customers on voice chat with customer support personnel can seamlessly switch to SMS, if needed. CPaaS platforms facilitate omnichannel communication.
Businesses can access data and customize interactions with customers when machine learning is integrated with CPaaS. They can also use chatbots or other new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to offer superior customer experiences.
CPaaS platforms can be used to provide innovative services like automated self-service and smart shopping assistance, among other functions. The intersection of IoT and CPaaS can lead to innovations, such as the City Platform as a Service, developed by Europe and Japan.
CPaaS solutions are easily available, affordable, and also offer greater security, which makes it easy for companies of all sizes across industries to use them. Investing in them would not only help businesses enhance their workflow, but also bring them and their customers much closer.