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Cloud PBX or Cloud Contact Center: Which is Better for your Business?


In the tug-of-war between Cloud PBX or Cloud Contact Center, organizations tend to lose sight of what actually matters to them the most. The choice between the two should not depend on the functionalities offered by each, but rather the unique needs of your business. You need to analyze your business processes end-to-end in order to understand what would be the best fit. For more guidance on understanding the best fit scenario, please refer to managed cloud services provider.

First, let’s define what we’re talking about:

What is a Cloud Contact Center?

A Cloud Contact Center (also known as CCaaS) is a comprehensive suite of tools, applications and cloud-hosted services for the customer support divisions of a company. This includes the requisite tools and applications for communications including telephony, messaging (chat, SMS, social media, bot etc.), email, CRM and omni-channel. These features are delivered in an omnichannel interface that enables businesses to deliver an enhanced customer service experience. CCaaS can also include sophisticated call routing, agent management and analytics features.

Customer experience cloud contact center providers currently offer a variety of solutions including hosted cloud and shared cloud. While the services are mostly similar, there are differences involved when it comes to telephony offerings. These are meant for the management of all incoming and outgoing calls of a business and can be powered by either Cloud PBX and Cloud Call Center. These often come bundled with several productivity and monitoring features.

Differentiating Service Factors Between Cloud Contact Center Providers

Although there are several providers for Cloud Contact Center, not all of these are capable of providing the omnichannel feature. Also, a critical difference between service providers can come in the form of their telephony offering, i.e. Cloud PBX or Cloud Call Center. For instance, cloud infrastructure like Google easily allows for integrations and potentially unlimited scalability. Other providers may not be capable of offering the same. while others may lack such features.

What is Cloud PBX?

PBX, or Private Branch Exchange, is a conventional private telephone system that enables companies to communicate internally as well as externally. PBX routing is hardly a new technology, as PBX systems have been used in conjunction with telephony hardware much before the advent of cloud systems.

PBX routes incoming calls, transfers calls to other extensions, and provides all the amenities of a business phone system using different communication channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analog. The advantage of a cloud PBX system over a conventional PBX system is that the hosted communication solution is capable of providing the same private branch exchange services as an on-premise solution without additional infrastructure management costs.

The Key Features of Both Systems

Here are the key features of Cloud PBX:

Find Me Follow Me Feature

Primarily designed as a productivity feature, the Find Me-Follow Me feature allows the mapping of both IP desk phones and mobile phones of an employee to a DID (direct inward dialing) number. This allows for added flexibility, and the agent can choose to answer the call on any device that they find convenient, even when they are not at their desk.

Screen Pop-Ups

Screen pop ups are a cloud PBX feature that shows the details of the caller with past interaction history to the agent even while the call connects. This is particularly useful for agents who have to manage calls from their softphones or IP desk phones. This functionality allows for agents to be aware of the context of the call and the user and enables speedy first call resolutions for customers.

Click-to-Call Feature

With customers getting used to instant service, click-to-call is an important business feature that enables your customers to connect with your business in a single click. This feature can be integrated on your official website enabling a quicker response time. If the visitor has shared a number that they can be contacted on, the call gets connected to that number automatically.

Direct Inward Dialing Feature

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is a popular feature that allows businesses to map several numbers to a trunk line. This enables the lines to be segregated to different departments for accurate call routing and enhanced customer service experience. This also enables businesses to do away with physical lines for each possible connection. DID can be useful not just in routing external calls, but also to facilitate better internal communication within the team.

Here are the key features of Cloud Contact Centers

Cloud Contact Centers come equipped with all the above-listed features and additional offerings including:

Real-time Reporting

Data-driven decision making is crucial for businesses to understand and quickly respond to customer needs. This involves effective and near real-time reporting and analysis of data. Ideally, you should look for a cloud contact center provider who offers built-in Google BI & Analytics for real-time monitoring, contact history, and graphical custom reporting. This will enable you to get near-instant insight into your team’s performance. Insights on call reports can help you understand important metrics like call dropout rate, abandoned call rate and deeper agent-specific information, such as, average handling time, shrinkage rate, first call resolution rate and more.

Public API for Integration

Reliable cloud contact center providers generally offer an Open API for quick integration. This can be highly useful for businesses looking to save on time and cost. This allows for painless integration with other applications such as CRM software, payment solutions, chat solutions, and others. Empowered with the omnichannel interface offered by cloud contact centers, your agents will be able to leverage a unified view of interactions across all channels. This allows for seamless interactions and will help you drive exceptional customer experience.

Automatic Call Distribution

Automatic call distribution is an essential feature of cloud-based call centers. In stark difference with Cloud PBX, a cloud call center is capable of offering important features like skill-based routing or VIP calls or routing calls based on other criteria. You could even deploy different queues for the management of different campaigns. You can also offer customers enhanced customization through the Sticky Agent feature that allows calls to be connected with specific agents based on caller preference.

Customizable Dialers

Customizable dialers, empowered with functionalities like the predictive dialer initiating outbound calls from a contact list automatically and sequentially, can go a long way in increasing the efficiency of your agents. Predictive dialers make use of predictive statistical algorithms and AI-powered machine learning to gauge agents’ availability and each call’s duration to place outbound calls. The right cloud contact center provider can even help you customize the predictive dialer to act as a progressive dialer, and call each number on a list per available agent. This can be particularly useful for scenarios wherein communication regulations do not allow for the usage of predictive dialers. CRM integration can also offer additional functionalities, such as a Preview dialer that allows agents to view the contact history. Other functionalities, such as the click-to-call feature can help to minimize errors and the stress caused by manual dialling.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

Integrating artificial intelligence with cloud contact center solutions can allow for potent use cases. For instance, an AI-and-Natural Language Processing-based chatbot can streamline B2C interaction and improve efficiency in customer request resolutions, thereby improving customer experience, and minimizing operational cost. According to a report by MIT Technology, 90% of businesses reported faster complaint resolution with bots. Also, AI-powered IVR is equipped with Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), Speech to text (STT), Text to Speech (TTS), and Google Dialogflow features to enable increasingly personalized conversational experience.

The Final Verdict

Although cloud contact center and cloud PBX offer similar functionalities in streamlining customer interaction, the differences matter more. Cloud contact center software definitely outperforms cloud PBX when it comes to enhancing customer experience at scale. Modern-day customer experience enhancement requires the scalable personalization features that cloud contact centers provide. However, as we already stated at the beginning of this article, the best cloud-based telephone solution for your business is really dependent on your unique business needs.