Friends don’t let friends buy CCaaS
Let’s go back a few years…
From 2013 to 2020, my co-founder and I had a front row seat at Handy/Angi as consumer demand for $500B/year in home improvement spend shifted from main street to online at lightning speed. But the reality of serving the online customer demand in High Consideration Industries like home improvements, healthcare, and insurance did NOT mean build a digital only customer experience.
In fact, a digital only customer onboarding and retention experience for these complex goods and services FAILED without a human conversation to help the customer buy or sign up. Whether the team is called sales (which I will use today for simplicity), retention, concierge, patient onboarding, admissions, financial advisors, insurance agents, real-estate brokers or even support, these human teams play a critical role in achieving the company’s growth goals. When they have a conversation with the prospective customer, conversion can double. So the aim becomes to have a conversation with the customer as often as possible (as opposed to online retail where the aim is to avoid conversations with the customer).
As consumer online demand increased in these High-Consideration categories, B2C sales teams grew from tens to hundreds to thousands of agents, eclipsing the size of B2B sales teams. And executives put B2C sales software at the top of their priority list to find ways to drive more growth efficiently.
Legacy Contact Center as a Service (CCaas) Software
Like all B2C companies, Angi had purchased B2C Support Software aka Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) like Five9, NICE InContact, Genesys. These CCaaS solutions are built to manage a high volume of inbound customer communications at the lowest cost in large scale contact center teams, and also have outbound dialers that profess to be efficient there too, so it seemed like a good place to start our search for sales software. But sales was an afterthought in these products, and the CSV-upload driven sales dialers built to call every prospect as many times as possible without any personalization led to declining answer rates, lower on-call conversion rates, and very angry customers.
With those negative results, we, like many B2C sales teams, tried adding B2B Sales Software aka Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Salesforce as that’s what “real” B2B sales teams used. Built to centralize customer data in a salesperson-centric model that allowed the salesperson to manually build lead lists, manually personalize outreach and then use the sales dialer to call those lists, using a B2B CRM led to inefficient and inconsistent manual sales processes that didn’t scale up to the magnitude of B2C internet businesses.
In retrospect, it should have been obvious that CCaaS (and B2B CRM) would fail for B2C Sales. That tech stack was built for a world where the only interaction between the company and customer was a sales rep doing cold outreach, the only “customer data'' consisted of the customer’s phone number, and next steps were based on the unstructured notes left by a rep instead of anything automated. These tools were maladjusted to the new online world where inbound leads interacted with the brand's website and generated significant 1st party data that the brand could be use for personalization. In fact, it was already used for personalization in other channels like email marketing to drive better outcomes.
Signs that Legacy CCaaS Software is Impacting your Company’s Sales
- Your overall conversation rates online are lower than traditional offline players. (“We are the innovative digital player so why are customers still going with an offline provider?”)
- You are struggling to engage customers. (“Customers often ignore our calls. Our answer rate is going down. Customers are getting angry when we call them so many times. Our tactics drive new customers, but customer retention is low.”)
- The sales team feels like the only levers they have to drive more sales is to call customers faster or more often. (“The CEO is asking us to drive more revenue so let's increase the staffing to drive more calls to our existing leads.”)
- There is a lack of rigor around testing and data, putting you at a disadvantage against your competitors. (“I’m sure we should be calling less or testing a different script, but I have no way to set up an A/B test so let's go with our intuition. Did we already try this test in the past and what was the result?”)
- Your engineering, IT and ops teams are spending weeks making small changes or setting up new campaigns, and they often need to bring in professional services from your vendors. But they still can’t create the customer experiences the business and marketing teams want. (“Why can’t we call the customer immediately when they click on an email? Is there a reason it’s going to take so long to make the outreach different in Florida vs other states?”)
Legacy CCaaS Software is Dead
Legacy CCaaS (and CRM) software as we know it is fundamentally broken. And customer-centric, event-driven systems will make legacy CCaaS obsolete over the next 10 years, starting with sales use cases. Let me explain.
As the digital surface area brands have to interact with customers has expanded, the volume of real-time, 1st party data available has exploded and companies have put in place data infrastructure to instrument those consumer behavior events and "activate the data" in a variety of use cases. Marketing teams have already taken advantage and transitioned to event-driven systems for email marketing like Braze, Iterable and Customer.io.
But customer service and sales teams have been stuck with legacy customer service and sales tools like CCaaS and CRM that are laggards that rely on limited or static customer data and antiquated models of sales person-centric outreach instead of customer-centric outreach. Legacy CCaaS does't capture real time customer event data so the view of the customer for anyone using them is always out of date. Without event data and the tools to orchestrate cross-channel inbound and outbound based on those customer behaviors, legacy CCaaS, and the teams that use them are at a major disadvantage.
Today, in a typical B2C online experience, prospects first interact with a brand’s digital channels (websites, mobile apps, help articles, chatbots, email, ads, etc) before they are actually ready to buy a product or service (or engage with a human sales rep). And the experience is not linear – they likely will move back and forth between interacting with digital channels and a human sales rep. This story doesn’t fit into a static “CRM” view of a customer, and none of that data makes it into legacy CCaaS software, leaving teams on those legacy tools ill equipped.
Using prospect event-data to drive relevant conversations that lead to better outcomes is the exact gap that Regal fills. Customers stream events to Regal from CDPs, CRMs, data warehouses and other sources to trigger and personalize cross-channel customer engagement across voice and other conversation-based channels like sms.
In the next few years, every CCaaS (and CRM) vendor will either pivot to an event-driven offering (or pretend to) or lose relevance. And as companies become more data-driven and customer-centric, we expect the challenges with legacy sales software will grow and increase in importance.
Regal is the first Event-Driven Sales Platform
In real time, Regals ingests time series data of online customer behaviors, and uses AI to extract key attributes and meaning from conversations to understand the customer’s intent so brands can trigger the proper customized engagement and conversations. As one CCaaS executive told us recently, “Regal’s approach is the holy grail.”
We have found that the business case in revenue generating sales use cases for switching to Regal to use event data is obvious – better customer data results in better personalization, which results in more revenue, resulting in a simple path to replace CCaaS with Regal. But it has not escaped brands' notice that our customer-centric, event-driven approach will enable a better customer support experience too. So while we lead with sales use cases, many customers already use Regal for support use cases as well.
For a typical sales use case, let's follow a high intent customer struggling to refinance their student loan online. After one conversation with the brand, they might get busy for a while, and then come back and click on an email link to their latest loan application only to be blocked by a login. Legacy CCaaS would miss the entire customer journey and just use a standard campaign of 3 calls a day for 3 days for all customers who ever started a loan application no matter what actions they took next. Using Regal to orchestrate cross-channel outreach allows the brand to call the customer once they engage with the email and can't log in by triggering a call (which now can be branded with the name of the company calling), and a contextual conversation with a script tailored to that customer's specific 1st party data. Engaging with the customer in this way leads to higher answer rates, higher on call conversion, and ultimately a customer for life.
And for a typical support use case, imagine a diabetes patient of an online healthcare company. The patient must test themselves constantly, but it isn’t scalable to hire enough nurses to review every test. Using legacy CCaaS, you would wait till customers inbounded and even then have a hard time using their actual patient data to route the call appropriately. Using even-data, Regal can proactively trigger a branded call and text to the patient at exactly the moment a test shows something out of the ordinary, and give the nurse the full context to improve the patient outcome.
Better Outcomes with Regal
Over the last two and a half years, Regal has helped 150+ brands including SoFi, Fidelity Life, Ro, Angi, Career Karma drive over $2B in revenue. We see incredible results across company size and industry. Will you be the first or last in your intrustry to ditch legacy CCaaS for an event-driven system like Regal?
- Angi: 3x growth in Angi Key Members, 14% SMS answer rate, 19% phone answer rate
- MakeSpace: 20% lift in answer rate, $1.6M incremental revenue (without more agent hours)
- The Farmer’s Dog: 58% lift in conversion, 32% answer rate, 15% list in month 1 conversion
- Perry Health: 4x improvement in team productivity, 50% lift in engagement rate, 23% improvement in conversion
- Career Karma: 2x lift in conversions, 25% lift in engagement rate
- Embrace Home Loans: 60% increase in answer rates
- Assure Health: 38% lift in conversion rate, 47% increase in conversions, 37% improvement in outbound calls per hour
- Allstate: 20% lift in customers given a quote, 8% improvement in conversion rate, 40% lift in callbacks
- Kin: 36% lift in calls lasting 60 seconds, 8% lift in conversion within 7 days
- Club Z: 100% lift in answer rate, 33% lift in conversion rate
Alex & Rebecca
Learn about these products and services at Regal.io, read more posts at regal.io/blog or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.