Enhancing Customer Experiences with Cloud Communications
If there are two technology trends nobody would debate, the first is the meteoric rise of cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS)–alongside the maturity of Cloud Communications as a Service (CPaaS) capabilities.
The cloud reduces the need for expensive investments in hardware, software, and data storage, plus an extended IT team to maintain and troubleshoot. Software updates and fixes are automatic, while subscriptions to platforms and services can be based on actual usage. Deployment is instantaneous, ROI begins immediately. As a result, even risk averse industries like healthcare, government, and financial services are now on board with the cloud.
A recent Gartner report has cloud computing growing 21.7% in 2022, and SaaS continues to dominate with $172M of the projected $500B in cloud services spending.
Of course, much of this applies to cloud communications as well. In an era with more options than ever for reaching people, expectations have ballooned: we presume to learn every customer detail instantly, all delivered through our preferred communication channels. Quality communications are elemental to good customer experiences, and cloud communications are more scalable, flexible, and cost-effective than traditional on-premise hardware. Voice and messaging can be added to SaaS applications in minutes with just a few snippets of code, making it easy to control and deliver calls and text messages to anyone, anywhere.
According to a 2020 cloud report, 36% of IT budgets were already being spent on communications, with over half of all businesses having already implemented or were in the process of implementing cloud offerings. (Bandwidth)
What Are Their Priorities and Concerns?
All of this said, the rate of change in the last two years has been unprecedented, with carrier rules, regulations, and legislation working to catch up. All of this is occurring in the midst of an extended global pandemic, with any one of these changes having the potential to be transformative to the SaaS industry.
While cloud platforms and their developers tend to be smaller and more nimble, there’s a lot to take in:
- How are these changes affecting their in-app use of cloud voice and messaging?
- How important are communication capabilities to their customers’ experience?
- What do they look for in a communication provider, and who do they trust to help them decide?
- How are they coping with the new FCC STIR/SHAKEN legislation around caller ID spoofing, or the new text messaging registry, rules, punitive carrier fees?
- COVID has changed everything; how has it changed communications, and is it permanent?
- How do their priorities change as their companies grow?
To find out, we asked them directly. Following are the results of the first annual Commio Cloud Communications State of the Industry survey, including our insights as a CPaaS provider with more than a decade of experience in voice and messaging.
Who Responded to Our Survey
Our invitation to participate targeted the C-suite. Almost one hundred individuals responded the largest of which—47% —are in the CEO/CTO/founder/owner /president category. Another 14% are VP/VP of Product/VP of Engineering, and an additional 13% are head of technology /network engineer/IT specialist. The remaining 23% are in various technical and managerial roles.
- As a young industry with relatively few barriers to entry, most of the companies they represent are small to medium in size; while 36% have over 50 employees, an astounding 33% have just 1-5. The rest are somewhere in between.
- Paralleling that, 40% have been in business 15+ years while 26% have been in business less than 5 years, with the remainder in the middle.
- This aligns with voice usage: although 90% use voice in their software, almost two-thirds of those (64% on average across domestic, international and toll-free) use less than 250K minutes per month, while 9% use more than 2M minutes domestically and 7% use 2M a month toll-free.
- On the messaging side, 73% use messaging in their applications but just over half (52%) of those send less than 1M text messages a month, while 6% send more than 20M (interestingly, 20% don’t know or prefer not to answer).
- All but a few are cloud developers. Most identify as UCaaS (26%), SaaS (24%), or CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service, 15%); the remainder are more specific, such as call center software and service platforms (each 8%). With the ability to choose multiple options, just over half (51%) said they target end users; 35-40% said they target healthcare, finance, and/or call centers. Roughly 30% target sales, marketing, and education. Others target service technicians and application developers.
Part 2: Maintaining Relationships During a Pandemic
Part 3: It’s a New Day – STIR/SHAKEN and 10DLC Messaging Rules
Part 4: The Ideal Cloud Communications Provider
Part 5: What Keeps The SaaS C-Suite Up at Night
Part 6, Coming soon: How SaaS Companies Change as They Grow