How to choose a CPaaS Solution
As working remotely has become more common during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that in the ever-evolving business landscape, more organisations are considering implementing cloud-based communications to support their staff and increase workplace efficiency. In this article, we will introduce CPaaS, as well as the necessary steps to select the right platform for you and your business.
What is CPaaS?
Firstly, CPaaS, short for Communications Platform as a Service, is a cloud-based technology that allows real-time communication applications such as voice, video, SMS, and fax to be integrated into your business solutions using a number of different APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It is widely used today in a variety of business sectors due to the ease of implementation and deployment, as well as being easily customisable.
Do I need it?
Using a CPaaS platform for your business can be very beneficial, to say the least, especially if your business is centred on customer interactions. CPaaS is currently used heavily in retail for example, to help process orders, gather feedback, promote goods, or handle enquiries.
CPaaS is also used heavily in the finance sector. From placing secure WebRTC calls to sending reminders for payment collections, CPaaS is freeing up resources and streamlining customer interactions. Below are just a few of the many benefits it is renowned for:
Fast implementation & deployment
Scalability & Customization
CPaaS selection for your business
Step 1: Identify your needs
To find the right CPaaS solution, you need to identify your business needs and consider your daily activities as well as the marketing processes. Then, highlight important steps and types of customer interactions. By listing out communication lags and issues within your business that you want to solve, you can determine which CPaaS features will be helpful to you.
It is vital for your communications platform to be compliant with the relevant regulations, both international and region-specific such as ISO 27001 (security), GDPR (data protection) & HIPAA (healthcare). Ensure your provider meets the necessary regulations by asking for compliance documents.
Ask your potential provider about their support in case of an outage or service interruption. Most top market CPaaS providers like Aculab offer a range of technical support contracts with a variety of service levels to suit the needs of all customers, as well as optional extras like 24/7 support coverage in case of emergencies.
A CPaaS can help your business become more successful and boost engagement, but first you need to be clear about your business goals.
Step 2: Check CPaaS Features and Tools
APIs function as the backbone of any CPaaS solution. Two important factors to keep in mind when considering a provider are scalability and customisation. You may look at a set of APIs from a provider and think it’s perfect for your current needs, but what about when your business grows and you need to make changes? Whether it’s voice, video, WebRTC, or SMS, your potential provider needs to be able to cater for your current and future plans, as well as make custom changes, specific to your business needs.
CPaaS providers tend to charge on a “pay as you go” basis, meaning you only pay for what you use. The ability to add additional functionality and upgrades down the line, whether it’s new communication components, APIs, security, or additional support coverage, combined with the “pay-as-you-go” model, ensures your CPaaS can evolve alongside your business, and allows you to scale your communications platform to your needs.
When dealing with cloud services and sensitive customer data, high security is a must to ensure peace of mind for your business and end-users. CPaaS providers should deliver high levels of security, for example encryption of media files at rest, crisp explanations of the locations where your data is being stored, and compliance to standards such as ISO 27001. Some also offer additional user authentication, such as voice biometrics - for example, Aculab’s VoiSentry.
If you’re placing outbound calls, for example to remind patients of medical appointments, issue test results, or notify utility customers of up-coming outages, ensure the CPaaS provider has highly accurate Answering Machine Detection (AMD). A good example of this is
Aculab’s AI AMD which, with over 99% accuracy, has around one fifth the error rate of the industry norm.
If you’re considering using the CPaaS for voice calls, look at its support for Text-To-Speech and Speech Recognition, along with how easy it would be to integrate a dialog engine such as Google Dialogflow. The powerful and flexible dialogs we’re used to having with devices in the home, such as our smartphones or Amazon Alexa, are fast coming to voice calls - your CPaaS needs to support them.
For your business to use CPaaS for voice calls and SMS, your provider should be able to provide you with reliable service in the country/region of your choice. It is recommended that you look for a CPaaS provider with proven expertise in telecommunications, preferably one that is partnered with multiple carriers in the regions where you need to operate. This provides a more reliable service, as well as allowing quicker responses to carrier-related support tickets. Ask the provider what strategies they have in place in the event of an outage as well as what different levels of support coverage they offer.
Step 3: Test drive the CPaaS before choosing
You can always ask for a live demo or request to talk to an expert for answers to your questions about CPaaS. Opt for a free trial to test drive the CPaaS functionality and user experience. This trial period enables your management team and other team members to examine the CPaaS user-friendliness as well as its support.
Pay-as-you-go pricing, the industry norm for CPaaS, means that you only pay for what you use. However, you also only get what you pay for so, as well as price, look out for the vendor relationship, their quality of support, the platform’s features and, if you're placing automated outbound calls, its AMD accuracy.
Mistakes to avoid when choosing CPaaS
Ignoring business needs Narrowing down the needs of your business is vital, in the sense that not knowing the areas in which you want to improve on makes it very difficult to build an effective CPaaS solution. Once needs are properly understood, you can start to build your communications stack around that.
Implementing a CPaaS for marketing without a Marketing Strategy CPaaS is first and foremost a tool, and an extension of your business. Although easy to implement and deploy, trying to boost customer engagement with that alone won't do you any good. Consider the wider marketing strategy and how your CPaaS fits into that.
Not involving Management and people in the organization Although renowned for ease of use, issues are bound to arise when any new technology is embraced, and the last thing you’d want is for everything to come to a standstill. Make sure everyone is aware and has time to get familiar with this new part of your business to ensure a smooth transition to CPaaS. Summary
While there are numerous CPaaS which offer apparently similar features, not all CPaaS are equal. Aculab, one of the top CPaaS providers in the American healthcare sector, allows you to build HIPAA and HITECH compliant solutions. Our CPaaS technology is scalable and easy to use with powerful, programmable APIs, offering high levels of security and encryption, and a clear statement about where your data is stored. These, allied with leading-edge Voice Biometrics, AI-driven AMD, Text-To-Speech and Speech Recognition set Aculab apart from other cloud providers.
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