The definitive guide to contact center as a service (+ the 5 best CCaaS providers in 2020)

Adopt a CCaaS solution, and you’ll be set to quickly connect with customers across all channels and leave your dated call center technology in the dust.

By Patrick Cwiklinski

Published September 3, 2020
Last updated January 7, 2022

We get it. Running a call center is hard.

Between the endless inbound calls and technical hiccups, managing a call center tests your patience and persistence. The good news is you can make things easier on yourself with a call center software solution: CCaaS.

By 2022, contact center as a service (CCaaS) software will account for roughly 50% of preferred adoption models in contact centers.

Learn all the ins and outs about this software now, and you’ll be able to bring your call center up to speed so it’s ready for the future.

What is CCaaS?

Contact center as a service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based software solution for company contact centers.

Over time, CCaaS has become a trusted alternative to traditional contact center solutions that focus on phone systems and call flows.

With an omnichannel approach, CCaaS software allows teams to service customers via:

  • Social media
  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Other communication channels

To know the real story behind CCaaS, we have to rewind the clocks all the way back to 1995 — right around the time TLC dropped “Waterfalls.” That was the year CosmoCom became the first company to introduce and patent IP-based contact center technology. It wasn’t the same CCaaS we all know and love today, but it set the table for what was to come later.

By the early 2000s, CCaaS as we now know it was born. Tech companies saw the limits of onsite call center software that you could only access through certain computers. They turned that dated way of working on its head with contact center software that only required an Internet connection.

Fast-forward to today, and CCaaS is leading the charge for call center innovation.

The 4-point case for using a CCaaS solution

The main difference between CCaaS and on-premise contact center solutions is pretty straightforward:

  • On-premise solutions refer to contact center software and hardware that are located and maintained at one physical location
  • CCaaS, on the other hand, is completely cloud-based and can be accessed from different locations

Both small businesses and large organizations have implemented CCaaS solutions at an accelerated pace since the pandemic hit. The uptick in CCaaS solution adoption is a result of:

  • Increases in remote working and social distancing measures 
  • Higher call volumes for companies with in-demand services, like healthcare providers or government aid

The value of CCaaS goes beyond COVID-19, though. Organizations choose this technology because it creates an engaging customer experience while helping with workforce management.

Here are four primary reasons that companies are moving away from traditional contact centers to CCaaS:

CCaaS is cost-effective

It’s cost-effective

As a cloud solution, CCaaS cuts many of the extra costs tied to traditional call center systems. You’ll save on expensive hardware, inflated IT departments for support, and overall energy costs.

Another big cost saving that comes with using a CCaaS solution is that it’s based on usage. Traditional call center technology always costs the same no matter how often you use it. CCaaS often uses monthly or pay-as-you-go pricing, so your bill is tied to the value you get.

CCaaS offers multichannel communication

It offers multichannel communication

Phone calls are the preferred communication method for customers, but they shouldn’t be their only option. With more millennials and Gen Zers entering the scene, customer interactions are moving beyond the phone and into social media, online chat, and email.

CCaaS software makes this multichannel communication a breeze:

  • Real-time dashboards can help agents see what channels customers are using
  • You can run reports to measure performance across all of them

Offering multichannel communication with CCaaS isn’t only convenient for customers — it’s also beneficial for your agents. They’ll be able to field customer queries more effectively through the preferred method of communication, so they’re always in stride with customer inquiries on each channel.

CCaaS order history

It shows product and order history

Let’s be honest: Call center agents have it tough sometimes. Not only are they trying to provide a great customer experience, but they’re also scrambling to find information about customers in real-time. It's not an easy ask. Customers can become impatient and, in some unfortunate cases, downright aggressive.

That’s when you need a CCaaS solution to help save the day.

A CCaaS solution can show a customer’s product and order history as you’re communicating with the client. Having specific customer account information right in front of you can help agents answer personal questions easier and guide the customer toward the right solution.

With instant access to product and order history, you’re ready to provide faster support for your customers.

CCaaS analytics

It provides insightful reports and analytics

If you’re spending all your time sifting through countless pages of data, you’ll have less time to resolve customers' issues and keep them happy.

Using a CCaaS will give you access to automatic reporting and analytics. The software will track key call center metrics like:

  • Uptime
  • Downtime
  • Missed and declined calls

These insights can boost operational performance across your call center. If you’re seeing a big increase in missed calls, for example, you might need to evaluate whether you have enough agents during peak hours to keep up.

The 5 best CCaaS providers in 2020

A CCaaS solution is a major investment, so you don’t want to take the choice lightly. Find the best software for your business with our breakdown of different plans from the top five CCaaS providers today.

Zendesk Talk

In addition to offering four flexible plans, Zendesk Talk Partner Edition also gives enterprise organizations the ability to integrate their call center software of choice (including Amazon Connect, Five9, and Nice inContact) with Zendesk for an all-in-one solution.

You can contact us for Partner Edtion pricing details and give our free trial a shot as well.

Plan Type Price Features
Lite Free Limit of one phone number, automatic ticket creation, call recording, and voicemail transcription.
Team $19/month Multiple phone numbers, warm transfer, and text messaging.
Professional $49/month IVR phone trees, call monitoring and barging, conference calling, agent recording controls, reports, and real-time dashboards.
Enterprise $89/month (available for teams of 100+) Monthly diagnostics, failover on demand, call offering time limit, and extended queue wait time.


RingCentral offers three different contact center plans. You can also sign up to get access to a full product demo.

Plan Type Price Features
Basic Contact sales for pricing Standard IVR and ACD capabilities, integration with RingCentral Office, and collaborate using team message, video, and phone.
Advanced Contact sales for pricing Advanced IVR and ACD, omnichannel routing for chat and email, omnichannel real-time and historical reporting, and CRM integrations.
Ultimate Contact sales for pricing Advanced outbound dialing capabilities, preview, progressive, and predictive dialers, advanced campaign management, and agent scripting.


Aircall offers three different pricing plans. They also offer a free 7-day trial.

Plan Type Pricing Features
Essentials $30/month Unlimited calls within U.S. and Canada, CRM integration, and IVR.
Professional $50/month Advanced analytics and reporting, live call monitoring, and dedicated account manager.
Custom Available upon request Custom analytics, custom onboarding, and unlimited calls worldwide.

Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect has a pay-as-you-go pricing plan with no monthly fees or long-term commitment. The AWS Free Tier also gives you free access to Amazon Connect for 12 months.

  • Voice usage: $0.018 per minute
  • Chat usage: $0.004 per message
  • Features include natural language chatbots using Amazon Lex, skills-based routing, and an intuitive graphical contact flow builder.

NICE inContact

NICE inContact doesn’t share pricing for its CCaaS solution. You need to request a quote from the company. Their features include:

Use CCaaS to build a reliable, efficient call center

CCaaS technology isn’t going away any time soon. By 2027, the global contact center software market is expected to climb to $72.3 billion.

The software has only become more relevant with COVID-19. Physically staffing call centers is becoming an increasing challenge, and companies are looking for solutions their agents can access from anywhere — with ease and security.

Keep your call center ahead of the curve with a contact center software solution. Learn more about how our tool Zendesk Talk can benefit your team with a free trial.

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