Simon Dodd2023-11-07

CPaaS: Why is it important and what top trends are we expecting in 2024?

In the age of omnichannel popularity, consumer digitisation is increasingly evident. In fact, statistics confirm that 45% of the world's population make online purchases from mobile devices every day. To ensure a smooth customer experience that meets consumer expectations, brands are also pivoting towards effective integrations between the physical and digital worlds. This holistic approach starts with the desire to develop omnichannel strategies with the aim of reaching customers and users at any touchpoint; by personalising each interaction. Today, creating single channel experiences such as SMS, Email, RCS or WhatsApp on multichannel platforms means relying on multiple intermediaries and having a partial view of consumer behaviour. An awareness of this is leading many companies to choose CPaaS solutions, i.e. platforms with high security standards capable of synergising and coordinating the various communication channels. But what specifically is meant by CPaaS? And how did this technology come about?

CPaaS: From A2P messaging to a new communication platform

The emergence of Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is closely linked to the spread of A2P (Application-to-person) messaging, i.e. the mass sending of text messages in the form of SMS or MMS to a large number of recipients through a software application. It is a one-way communication channel commonly used by companies that want to reach customers for marketing communications, transactional notifications, appointment reminders and two-factor authentication. This is possible thanks to the API interface, i.e. a software intermediary through which two applications can communicate with each other.

With the advancement of technology, A2P messaging, and APIs have become two fundamental components of CPaaS. In fact, the acronym itself refers to a cloud-based solution that allows companies to easily and quickly integrate traditional communication channels, such as Email or RCS Messages, with instant messaging from WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Telegram.

5 reasons why brands need CPaaS technology:

CPaaS is the best digital solution for brands to improve their customer engagement. It is innovative, scalable, and easy to adopt and that is without mentioning all other benefits that come with cloud-based systems. Adopting CPaaS solutions means achieving:

1. Native scalability

In IT, 'scalability' refers to the ability of a system to handle an increasing amount of work by adding resources or functions as needed. This scalability in CPaaS allows companies to handle large volumes of requests with maximum elasticity, without reducing or hindering performance. This becomes crucial in situations where service functions suddenly find themselves handling high volumes of customer interactions, from new product launch campaigns to service requests. On top of this, any new functionality released into a CPaaS platform automatically becomes available to the user, without the need to install heavy software.

2. Customization

The adoption of a CPaaS has a positive impact on the relationship between company and customer. On one hand, a customer can contact a brand using the channel and tool they prefer. On the other, the cohesive management of communication channels encourages a brand to study and analyse the customer journey by identifying the right moments (touchpoints) to establish a conversation with the user.

3. Analytics

The integration of different systems opens the opportunity for companies to gain a closer insight into customer behaviour by identifying the channel of preference. From a single dashboard, the brand has access to the results achieved by each individual campaign launched. Data such as open rates or delivery rates can be monitored in real time to take effective action.

Analytics are also not only about the performance achieved, but also about the data on the individual contact. For example, forms can be used to collect demographic and geographic information on the customer. Based on location, a brand can initiate drive-to-store campaigns or apply specific discounts to the shop closest to the user's location. Other strategies may, on the other hand, arise from purchase history: the more a consumer buys, the more points and customised offers he or she gets.

Based on these statistics, the company can segment customers by creating specific lists and customised clusters. By doing so, the brand ensures effective, non-invasive communication in line with the needs of its stakeholders.

4. Simplicity of integration

Personalization of the customer journey can be achieved through the integration of different communication channels from SMS to Email. From just one platform, a company can orchestrate their entire conversation flow: bookings via smartphone, activation of chatbots as first-line contact centres, sending boarding passes via WhatsApp and forwarding SMS messages to report delays or gate changes. This all forms a synergy between instant messaging, social networking and web messaging that does not require the intervention of different providers because everything is available in one solution.

5. Security

Choosing a CPaaS solution requires a brand to trust its contact data with a given provider. Integrity and confidentiality are the two cardinal principles that relate not only to the processing of information but also to the equipment used. These concerns can be overridden with the use of additional platform security measures often offered by providers. In addition to username and password, secure access to the data must be guaranteed by one or more identity verification checks. Two-factor authentication (2FA) can be done by sending a temporary numeric code (OTP) to the phone number or email address of the registered account in order to protect access. An even more secure method includes multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires, for example, the input of information provided at the time of account creation such as a fingerprint or other item owned by the user.

CPaaS Trends: What will change in 2024?

Low-code and AI-powered chatbots

Low-code programming is an approach to software development that aims to simplify and accelerate the application development process. Generally speaking, these platforms provide an environment in which user interfaces can be designed autonomously using graphical representations and simple functionality such as drag-and-drop. This means that only minimal, if any, code writing is required. Thanks to this technology, even those with no knowledge of coding or machine learning can create high-quality results.

Utilising these technology advancements will allow brands to utilise the realistic nature of human engagement and conversation within their communications. Through AI, chatbots will be able to hold real conversations with the aim of improving the relationship between the company and its customers. This will be possible thanks to the extension of learning techniques: bots will recognise intents, not only from the key words entered in the text, but also from voice commands and by learning from past interactions.

Omnichannel approach for an increasingly phygital

Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that the customer journey is not a linear, predictable path with well-defined stages. Instead, it is a set of often overlapping steps in which the contact points leading to a conversion alternate between the physical and digital worlds. This new trend over the next few years will lead to an ever-closer encounter between online and offline, between traditional and innovative channels to ensure a seamless experience. A phygital experience that gives customers the opportunity to get everything they want at the click of a button, to be fully 'immersed' in the experiential phase and to interact with the object of purchase. In concrete terms, this will translate into interactive adjustments in stores, expanded delivery and collection methods (smart locker, click & collect, ship from store...), virtual fidelity cards, in-store QR codes to obtain personalised promotions or request the support of an AI personal shopper. As a consequence of this success, brands must manage a considerable amount of data to be channelled into two-way communication strategies through the orchestration of multiple channels that take into account customers' habits, tastes and preferences. For example, a retailer integrating a CPaaS solution can:

  1. Announce unmissable discounts by email to all contact lists

  2. Launch a localised SMS marketing campaign to inform customers of the promotion items in the nearest store

  3. Exploit the potential of RCS to display items through rich media such as videos or product carousels and associate them with coupon codes to be redeemed at checkout

  4. Ensure immediate post-purchase assistance with WhatsApp messages for tracking or returns management and customer care interactions

  5. Send updates on point collection and prizes in app

Rich Media, Video and Voice: Personalisation matters

Brands have customer satisfaction at the heart of every activity because every positive experience generates online and offline word-of-mouth attention that impacts corporate reputation. In this sense, tailor-made communications are crucial at every stage of the customer journey. And it is precisely media content such as videos, gifs or image carousels that can convince people to choose one brand over another. Multimedia is a winning feature that will be widely used to keep engagement and loyalty rates high. Already today, major retail chains use WhatsApp to send digital flyers with offers or show items with a price and description through the catalogue function. In addition to marketing purposes, instant messaging can also be useful in the Assurance, Utility or Healthcare sector for example with the sending of invoices, documents to be signed and medical prescriptions.

But in 2024, a further step in personalising the customer experience will be reached with voice and video API integrations. These will be crucial, especially for customer service departments looking to reduce waiting times and improve service quality.

According to Juniper Research, voice orchestration will be increasingly popular in chatbot development frameworks to enable consumers to ask direct questions by voice. Voicebots rely on artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to interpret requests by engaging in a real dialogue. In this way, the incoming call load handled by 'human' operators is lightened to allow them to resolve more complicated issues.

In a similar approach, video support will also become crucial in providing real-time assistance to callers through a video chat session. With video chats, agents visually assess the problem, guiding the user through to resolution. If one thinks of the telecommunications sector, the call centre is often stormed by customers experiencing technical problems with their router. Dealing with the issue remotely by phone to find the correct cable insertion or line quality becomes frustrating for both the customer and the operator. Video connectivity would override these issues. Another example can see innovation in the insurance sector. Surveyors are often called to customer homes to assess damage, for example, a broken car. Remote video inspections would speed up this process dramatically.

A scenario of changes: The role of LINK Mobility

~ A word from Benoît Bole, Chief Operating Officer Western Europe

"As Europe's leading mobile messaging and communication platform since 2001, LINK Mobility observed and experienced a major revolution in brand-customer relations over the years. We were among the very first pioneers of SMS messaging and today we are proud to represent a benchmark in the CPaaS market.

CPaaS sees a constant technological and research evolution that goes hand in hand with the growing needs of the hyper-connected consumers. Brands must recognise this need and act accordingly. With this in mind, from large multinationals to SMEs, the main objective is one: to guarantee a seamless experience and strengthen the brand relationship with customers.

In this matter, LINK Mobility plays a pivotal role in Europe. We support companies when selecting the best messaging channel for their customers and organisational needs. The simplicity and versatility of our solutions are visible in their low-code and AI-powered nature. In 2024, we expect businesses to design more elaborate omnichannel scenarios, integrating increasingly popular messaging and multichannel functionalities such as RCS and WhatsApp into CRM or marketing automation platforms.

I certainly look forward to witnessing brands grab the massive opportunities CPaaS has to offer in 2024.”

Want to explore LINK's CPaaS solutions in 2024?

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