CPaaS platforms are a rapidly growing technology solution used by a large number of organizations globally today. The CPaaS market is expected to grow to 45.3 billion over the next few years, according to recent research.
But what does CPaaS stand for, how does it work, and, most importantly, what can it do to propel your business forward?
We will also talk about some trusted CPaaS providers that can help narrow down your search for a reliable customer communications solution.
Read on to get the answers to all these questions and more.
What is CPaaS?
CPaaS is the abbreviation for ‘Communications Platform as a Service'. CPaaS products are cloud-based API solutions and SDKs that allow you to integrate different types of communications functions into your existing business applications. A CPaaS platform includes text messaging and instant messaging capabilities, voice calling (via VoIP phone service), video calling or video conferencing, and, more recently, contactless payments and security features (like fingerprint verification).
A CPaaS is sometimes also referred to as a cloud communication platform, although the latter covers a much broader range of features, such as unified communications platforms (aka UCaaS) for communication between internal teams. CPaaS solutions, on the other hand, tend to be focused on customer interactions.
To put it simply, communication-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) is just a voice and messaging API. Though the acronym and what it stands for might sound complex, the 'as a service' part is just a business model term that has become exponentially dominant in the digital landscape in recent times. In this case, this "service" is a communications platform. The CPaaS model allows you to pick which communication systems you want and embed them into your services and apps.
CPaaS is suitable for any size of business that is looking to grow and undergo digital transformation. One of the key benefits of such communications solutions is that they are affordable and flexible. You can simply use and pay for the communication capabilities you need at a given time, making it an affordable build-your-own solution of sorts.
For example, if you run a small auto business, sending service appointment reminders by SMS could be essential. Perhaps bulk messaging capabilities could be leveraged to send out special promotions to text subscribers. But you might not need the entire suite of communication services, like Messenger chat or a video-enabled helpdesk. In this example of CPaaS, you could utilize it just for the SMS API offering. You could connect it with a different SMS marketing platform, too, to unleash its full potential.
How cloud communication platforms as a service work
A CPaaS solution provides you with access to real-time communications features without the need for major technical development or physical network infrastructure. So, they're a great option if you want to expand into global markets without spending a fortune. As a cloud communications platform, it's designed to work with minimal coding requirements.
A developer can easily and quickly integrate these programmable communication APIs into your existing applications, for example, your CRM system or contact center software. These cloud communication platforms usually come with technical documentation, including sample code snippets and FAQs to help developers embed and set up each CPaaS API. Software development kits (SDKs) and API libraries may also be available for fast and seamless integration. These communications APIs can often be set up for contextual and personalized communications and for tracking customer engagement too.
Types of CPaaS providers
Broadly speaking, each CPaaS vendor can fall into two main categories:
Specialist or focused providers – these vendors specifically specialize in one or more communications services, for example, SMS or voice APIs, instant messaging, or video calling.
- Diversified cloud communications providers – these tend to offer a more comprehensive portfolio of services, including IoT implementations, project management tools, team collaboration tools, or other "extras". They may support and bring together additional communication channels to help businesses adopt an omnichannel strategy. They may offer advanced developer support too.
Our top 10: Which CPaaS company is the best?
Here's a list of ten high-performance CPaaS solutions by notable cloud communications companies that work well for businesses of all types and sizes operating in a range of industries. They each offer unique services, and it's up to you to choose according to your needs.
How CPaaS platforms can improve business processes
The main driver for CPaaS is its ability to strengthen and enhance business processes and ultimately help deliver upon the increasing demand for outstanding customer service. Today's consumer has high expectations for customer service. According to a 2023 report by Intercom, 83% of support teams have seen a visible increase in the number of customers wanting to receive excellent customer experience.
Customers want to receive business communications via the channel of their choice. Moreover, they want to resume contact with a business at a later date and have the support agent understand their conversation history. They tend to lack the patience to repeat themselves to every new agent that gets assigned to their case, even if they initiate contact via a totally different channel the next time around.
Some CPaaS solutions can help you implement an omnichannel communications experience, seamlessly bringing together all channels, like live chat, SMS, and social media, so you can have contextual customer interactions.
Not only that, but cloud communications platforms can automate specific business processes that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort when done manually. Intelligent text or call routing capabilities are one example where CPaaS is used to route a particular type of inquiry to the right support agent. For instance, a technical question might be routed to a technical support agent, and a billing inquiry could be routed to the accounts team.
Administrative tasks are a further example. Two-factor authentication codes, appointment reminders, or other time-sensitive communications can be automatically issued via text at precisely the right time, with no human intervention needed.
Then, there is the opportunity CPaaS platforms provide for optimized sales and marketing. Using your CRM tool, you can identify the scope for cross-selling and use contextual communications to deliver targeted promotional messages to your audience.
Business CPaaS examples: Industry use cases
The healthcare, hospitality, and transportation sectors were among the first to adopt CPaaS technology. More recently, CPaaS is being used in e-commerce and education. Let's look at some specific use cases for an enterprise cloud communications platform.
A positive customer experience is integral to success in the hospitality sector. A cloud communication platform can be leveraged in numerous ways to engage with customers.
For instance, a two-way SMS API could enable hotel guests to check into their rooms in advance and allow the hotel to send a text confirmation in return. And booking reminders could be easily issued to reduce the risk of no-shows and cancellations. Airbnb is one such company that uses CPaaS to enhance customer service and communications.
CPaaS is used in the healthcare sector to provide better patient care and to make processes more efficient. A common application is appointment scheduling and reminders. It's used for video consultations, audio and video calls, call recording, and even to provide translation or transcription services to patients who may not speak the native language or are hard of hearing.
Behind the scenes, cloud communication platforms can integrate with customer data to provide healthcare professionals with the real-time, accurate information needed to run things smoothly.
Ride-share firms, such as Lyft and Uber, utilize CPaaS. If you use their apps, you'll receive ETA notifications and SMS arrival alerts. You'll even be able to call the driver directly. Airlines also use CPaaS to boost customer satisfaction. For instance, some airlines use live chat functionality to help passengers resolve travel problems, like rebooking a flight after a cancellation.
Remote learning has driven growth in the CPaaS market this year due to more students learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. CPaaS APIs can be integrated into online learning platforms and be used to engage with thousands of students all at the same time. Key features are lesson recordings (so students can learn at their own pace), screen sharing, and whiteboarding capabilities.
Choosing a CPaaS platform for your business
When researching CPaaS companies, there are several points to consider. Firstly, check the performance of the API itself to make sure it will meet your business requirements. Maybe you can ask the CPaaS provider for industry-related case studies to get a better idea of how it works. Check that the API has been well-tested and is stable.
Ensure your preferred CPaaS solution has adequate support for your developer by way of coding libraries and technical documentation. Some providers may offer a developers' community or forum as well.
Finally, check the provider's reputation to ensure they're well established. There's a risk that new CPaaS vendors could fail or be bought out by a larger firm, which could lead to unnecessary service disruption.
Conclusion: Why you should use a cloud communication platform for customers
CPaaS provides a cloud-based software platform for unified communications that enables developers to digitally transform their businesses. It provides turnkey communications capabilities such as voice calls and SMS messaging. Developers can also expand it with any software feature if they want. Users avoid paying for features they are not using and receive a highly customized solution with high scalability potential.
CPaaS is the future of customer communication that will get your business at the forefront of cloud technology with a plethora of benefits for a low cost.