Exploring the vendor landscape for contact center solutions is complicated, with a variety of metrics to consider within a service level agreement (SLA). This note helps narrow down what key requirements your organization needs from a contact center solution and which key metrics you should be clear about to measure the performance of your vendor.
1. What capabilities do you need?
Before researching vendors, think about the capabilities you want out of a contact center solution. To answer this effectively, consider what key requirements need to be met by your organization and how a contact center solution will meet those requirements.
Key capabilities offered by market leaders in the contact center space include:
2. Should you choose a solution that is on-premises or as a service?
There are benefits to maintaining an on-premises contact center. With all required software and hardware to operate a contact center located on your property, you will have no ongoing payments, all data stored in-house, and maximum control over functions. However, these centers take around 7 to 24 months to deploy, and the infrastructure cannot scale easily or adapt well to the fast-changing digital environment.
As such, if you need to deploy and scale quickly, consider Contact-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS). Updates and maintenance are outsourced, with the option of flexibility when deciding how many agents you will need.
To help with the upfront discussions about agent numbers and utilization, use the Erlang calculator to get a rough estimate. This will paint an initial picture to work with.
3. Which CCaaS payment model suits your context?
If you decide that you need fast deployment and scalability, CCaaS will likely be your best bet. You will then be faced with two payment models when researching vendors. Most vendors will offer a pay-per-agent model that allows you to pay for only the number of agents you need, with the option to increase where necessary. The price is stable and reliable. However, if you anticipate scaling and increasing agent numbers, consider whether this increase is for a short burst or a long-term plan. If the increase is for a short burst, be sure to talk to your vendor about descaling before signing the contract. Unless it’s explicitly specified in the contract, you may end up paying for this increase all the way up to contract renewal, even if you no longer needed those extra agents.
The pay-per-use model is less used in the CCaaS marketspace, but it overcomes the pay-per-agent problem: you only pay per call time. If you need to increase agents over a short burst, you can scale up and down according to demand. However, make sure your budget is prepared for these increases. If you have a sudden surge, check whether your budget can meet these increased costs; while pay-per-agent is a stable price that can be accounted for in full, pay per use will fluctuate over the year. With proper agent forecasting, pay per use can be a beneficial payment model.
4. What SLA metrics should you think about?
The International Finance Corporation provides an overview of key metrics to consider when judging the performance of a contact center vendor. These metrics are split into three benchmark categories: telephone, efficiency, and service.
5. What other important factors should be used to judge a vendor?
6. Ready to pick a vendor?
Explore SoftwareReviews’ Data Quadrant for CCaaS vendors.
Source: SoftwareReviews' Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) Data Quadrant. Accessed April 13, 2020.
Five9’s CX Summit for 2021 hosted events and interactive sessions that explored best practices for using Five9 as well as an outline of Five9’s roadmap for the coming year. Of special focus was Five9’s projected investments in voice technologies for the contact center.
John Aniano, Senior Vice President of Product in CRM applications at Zendesk, sat down with Info-Tech to discuss the current state of the contact center as a service (CCaaS) market space and Zendesk’s position in that space.
On July 7, 2021, TCN briefed Info-Tech on its continued growth, Experian partnership, and CCaaS platform TCN Operator.
On June 18, 2021, Aspect Software briefed Info-Tech on the rationale behind its merger with Noble Systems to found Alvaria. Aspect and Noble announced the merger on May 10, 2021, positioning Alvaria as a market leader in contact management and workforce engagement management (WEM), with half a billion dollars in combined revenue.
On March 24, 2021, Orange briefed Info-Tech on its UCaaS Business Services solution. Orange has positioned its solution to be flexible and adaptable to a range of client use cases. Not only does Orange’s UCaaS offering center within a broad portfolio of solutions (from omnichannel contact center to CPaaS), Orange also offers multi-deployment options, including on-premises, private, hybrid, and public/multi-cloud.
On December 1, Twilio – a cloud communications platform – briefed Info-Tech on its contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution, Flex.
On December 1, Zendesk – a global customer service software company – briefed Info-Tech on its contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution, Zendesk Talk.
On October 21, 2020, Avaya briefed its OneCloud CCaaS solution. OneCloud CCaaS provides an omnichannel experience with market-leading capabilities. If one’s organization is already embedded in the Avaya ecosystem, then OneCloud CCaaS ought to be leveraged if contact center functionality is sought.
On October 23, 2020, Verizon briefed its Contact Center Hub for SMBs. Launched October 1, Contact Center Hub is a hosted cloud service aimed at providing an easy-to-use multi-channel contact center solution for small- and mid-sized organizations. For SMBs that do not have a large customer base and only require the basics, consider shortlisting Verizon’s Contact Center Hub – especially if Verizon’s solutions are already being used in the organization.