Call Centre Game Changer
Posted on 29/08/2013
Resellers that specialise in the Call and Contact Centre market face increased competition as applications gain a universal appeal. Paul, Burn, Head of Category Sales at Nimans, says every major system manufacturer is now ‘in the game’.
“Each of the brands now focus on this area. Whereas in the past there might have been a couple of manufacturers renowned for their expertise,” he explained. “Every vendor has a Call Centre offering especially in the SME space. They all have OEM or bespoke applications so every vendor is now in the game. If there’s an opportunity for say a 40 seat call centre in theory every brand would have a solution. They are all chasing a piece of the pie and this spreads business around a lot more. So from a reseller’s perspective they’ve all got an equal chance of capturing that business. On the other hand there’s more competition for them now.
“Call Centre solutions are part of every dealer’s portfolio which means they don’t need anything too specific in terms of training and the vendors they work with.”
Paul says you can probably split the 30-150 user space into two categories, maybe 75 and above. “At the lower end of the market a lot of organisations will be in the informal market. At this level, how sophisticated the products have to be depends on how formal the call centre working is they want to achieve.
“Are they getting to the stage where they want to be logging agents in and out or are they classing call and contact centre working as the reporting that gets done from the back end? Working within a contact centre or even thinking you do promotes a mentality that requires products specifically for that. If they want to be able to analyse what they do then that dictates the products and applications they need. From a sophistication point of view, applications don’t have to be that complicated for most organisations. It depends how analytical that want to be. Most systems will give them the ability to do the routing or logging in. It just depends what is actually required.”
The ability for companies to base staff from home, allowing them to work more flexibly, at different times of the day or even night, hasn’t fully taken off, according to Paul.
“I’m not finding as much as that going on as the technology suggested there might be, when the technology came out. IP handsets and VPN’s are all there. But the ability to control and trust staff is still a major obstacle for many owners. The technology exists to make it happen.”
Paul feels third party software solutions are having a limited impact on the market – as many are already inbuilt under OEM agreements.
“An awful lot of PBX in-skin software is third party that’s an OEM version. You could argue it has a massive impact, although under the radar. There aren’t many vendors that have developed their own specific solutions. Truly bolt-on services aren’t required as much and in addition there’s a nervousness from some dealers to maybe use too much that is out of their comfort and support zone. If they are putting in an OEM call centre solution then they know they can go to their supplier and ask for help. If they go fully third party and a problem arises there’s a question mark over who takes responsibility for that.”
Paul also pointed out: “I think there’s a definite role for cloud based services but to be honest I’m not totally sure what it is yet. Do I think everything will all end up in the Cloud, no, but is there a role, absolutely, especially for businesses that want the flexibility to flex up and down the numbers of agents they are using in a cost effective way.”
Paul concluded: “We are seeing a greater attachment rate of applications in general and most have some sort of Call Centre element as they reporting analytical information. But there are no massive trends that jump out at me.”