This article is part of a larger series on Unified Communications.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) are cloud-based solutions with voice, video, and messaging capabilities. The difference between UCaaS and CCaaS is who they serve. UCaaS integrates all business communications, allowing a variety of teams to collaborate remotely, while CCaaS provides an all-in-one communications channel for sales and customer support departments. In this article, we explore the difference between UCaaS vs CCaaS to help you determine which is best for your business.
Based on our comparison, the best use cases for UCaaS vs CCaaS are as follows:
- UCaaS: Best for businesses needing an all-in-one platform for business communications and collaboration needs
- CCaaS: Best for companies requiring robust customer service and sales tools to manage high volumes of inbound and outbound calls
UCaaS vs CCaaS at a Glance
Businesses needing multichannel communications capabilities in a single platform
Companies with dedicated support and sales teams that need call center capabilities
Estimated Monthly Cost (per User)
$5 to $65
$15 to 150
When to Use UCaaS
A unified communications solution provides various communication and collaboration features in one platform. It is a good fit for companies wanting to replace their on-premise phone system with a cloud-based voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service with video and instant messaging capabilities.
If some or all of your team work remotely, UCaaS doubles as a virtual workspace. Instead of having separate tools for voice calling, video meetings, and team chat, UCaaS combines all these features to streamline various modes of communication. This allows your team to switch from collaborating on a document to joining a video meeting in just a few clicks. With its cloud-based nature, users are able to interact from anywhere they have internet access.
UCaaS is a good solution for businesses with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and those needing basic call routing capabilities. Since UCaaS puts various communication and collaboration methods on one platform, you also reduce the probability of missed messages.
UCaaS plans typically cost less than CCaaS plans, albeit with fewer customer-centric features like contact center analytics. Plus, some UC platforms scale into full-service contact centers at higher plan tiers. For example, 8×8’s business phone system monthly plans start at $15 per user, but this cost jumps to $85 per user when combined with contact center features.
Pros & Cons of UCaaS
|Facilitates real-time interaction||Requires reliable, fast internet|
|Bundles all communication tools in one platform||Initial learning curve for new UCaaS users|
|Collaboration features boost team productivity||Outdated office hardware may not be compatible with UCaaS platforms|
|Eliminates on-premise installations and maintenance costs||Advanced features may be underutilized by smaller teams|
|Efficient access to company information||Privacy issues due to increased sharing of information|
When to Use CCaaS
Companies use a contact center as a service, or CCaaS platform, to create convenient, flexible, and personalized customer experiences. Whether you have a distributed or on-site customer support center or your business completes a high volume of sales calls, a CCaaS system is an excellent option. Many UC features come in CCaaS platforms, including multichannel communication tools and automated call routing.
Cloud-based call center software adds supervisor capabilities, such as monitoring calls and agent status in real time. It supports customer surveys and caller sentiment analytics using artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML). Many CCaaS solutions also have tools for workforce management and optimization, which help in analyzing agent performance and improving employee engagement levels.
Between UCaaS vs CCaaS, CCaaS supports unlimited customization to help you configure every customer interaction. Advanced interactive voice response (IVR) systems often include skills-based routing, so that incoming callers connect to the best agent or self-service tool for their needs. CCaaS systems serve as a single source of customer data, giving every employee access to updated information about the caller before they pick up the phone.
Pros & Cons of CCaaS
|Minimal upfront costs||Requires fast internet connection|
|Syncs conversations across multiple channels||Embracing new technology may alter current workflows|
|Analytics tools provide insights into customer and agent behavior||Inter-operability issues for companies using outdated infrastructure|
|AI tools and self-service options free agents from routine tasks||Requires investment in employee training|
|Advanced routing solutions connect clients to the most qualified agents||No special hardware required except for headphones|
Top Providers With UCaaS & CCaaS Features
The nature of UCaaS and CCaaS solutions vary significantly across providers. You’ll find many options to suit the needs of your business, staff, and customers. Many of the best VoIP providers bundle unified communications and contact center features into advanced plans. Here are the top business phone systems that provide a single source for both UCaaS and CCaaS.
UCaaS Monthly Starting Price (per User)
$32.99 to $62.99
$30.95 to $45.95
$15 to $57
CCaaS Monthly Starting Price (per User)
Contact sales for pricing
Contact sales for pricing
$85 to $140
Click on the tabs below for a more in-depth look at each provider.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between UCaaS vs CPaaS?
UCaaS provides a ready-made solution that bundles various communication features, such as cloud phone, video conferencing, and team messaging. In contrast, a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) provides development tools like application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable businesses to incorporate communication features into their existing applications. Learn more about their differences in our guide about UCaaS vs CPaaS.
How do VoIP & UCaaS platforms differ?
VoIP is a standalone technology for voice calls, whereas UCaaS supports multiple communication channels, including VoIP calling, video conferencing, and messaging. Both services are cloud-based and require a good quality internet connection, and VoIP vendors often provide plans with unified communications features.
When is it best to combine both UCaaS & CCaaS solutions?
If you can’t decide between CCaaS vs UCaaS, combining both solutions is ideal if you want to simultaneously focus on streamlining internal communications and improving customer experience. With these technologies combined, different teams are able to work smoothly together. For example, contact center agents can collaborate directly with a subject matter expert when dealing with a complex customer query.
Understanding the differences between CCaaS vs UCaaS will help you decide which cloud service meets the needs of your business. While both share similar benefits, like lower upfront costs and omnichannel capabilities, each has unique feature sets that could improve your day-to-day operations. The main goal of UCaaS is to strengthen internal communication, while CCaaS focuses on external communication to enhance customer experience.