CCaaS as a core specialism

Getting your partner strategy right in the CCaaS space will unlock a market opportunity that is ever-stimulated by innovation and growth potential, according to Content Guru co-founder and CEO Martin Taylor.

Embracing CCaaS as a core specialism will pay big dividends for ICT resellers so long as they form the right strategic alliances and have an appetite to identify and act on contact centre opportunities. And those who grasp this nettle will find a key differentiator in a comms market that is increasingly showing signs of commoditisation. Yet in a survey of reseller channel business leaders undertaken by Comms Dealer, just 2.5 per cent defined their main occupation as a contact centre provider.

“Contact centre providers represent a specialised, high value niche in the much larger reselling space, so to see that only 2.5 per cent of MSP business leaders define contact centre as their main occupation is unsurprising,” stated Taylor. “Most see other aspects of managed IT services, such as UC or cloud enterprise software, as better aligned with their core business focus, and perhaps easier product segments to address.”

Taylor reiterated that embracing CCaaS as a core specialism is a sound strategic move for resellers and MSPs looking to differentiate in a crowded me-too marketplace. “However, selling contact centre solutions into the sticky, high value accounts to which MSPs aspire requires specialised knowledge and training, as well as the ongoing support of a CCaaS vendor or set of vendors,” he added.

Taylor also noted that most resellers have not kept pace with the rapidly evolving CCaaS market, with many trying to sell outdated, inefficient solutions against the shiny new offerings from leading CCaaS vendors. “That said, these vendors are technology businesses rather than marketing or relationship specialists, meaning that they are all amenable to working with partners, so by implication their door is open,” he added. “They prefer to concentrate on new product development and cloud operations and leave others to do the job of selling.”

Most CCaaS vendors are more than willing to share knowledge with partners and, crucially in the early stages of a relationship, do most of the work in evaluating potential customers

While CCaaS vendors currently transact a considerable amount of their business directly, in most cases their plan for scaling is predicated on leveraging the channel. Therefore, while the contact centre space is currently underserved by resellers and MSPs, the opportunities are there and growing for channel partners willing to take the plunge and become CCaaS subject matter experts, pointed out Taylor.

While validating new market opportunities around CCaaS may be a challenge for resource strapped channel companies, Taylor says the challenge is far from insurmountable. “Most CCaaS vendors are more than willing to share their knowledge with partners and, crucially in the early stages of a relationship, to do most of the work in evaluating potential customers, and scoping and bidding on CCaaS solutions,” he explained. “CCaaS vendors have amassed decades of specialised knowledge about the needs of customers, and how to successfully transition from legacy on-premise contact centres to cloud solutions. All they ask is that the reseller or MSP points them in the direction of possible opportunities.

“Over time, as deals are won and field experience is gained, the reseller will become steadily more adept and autonomous. But CCaaS resellers will need to continue working closely with their vendor on an ongoing basis in order to stay abreast of evolving technology offerings and keep pace with customers’ increasing demands.”

Furthermore, noted Taylor, CCaaS does not exist in a bubble and the reseller can add value beyond the vendor’s solution by providing adjacent services, such as workforce optimisation or analytics, and through integrating the customer’s new front office communications system with their back office UC, CRM and other IT infrastructure. “Being a trusted partner makes the best resellers and MSPs the first port of call when expansion or change are in the offing,” he added.

Customer experience
This all feeds into the customer experience which is increasingly pivotal to end user businesses seeking to meet escalating consumer demands for personalised interactions across multiple channels of engagement. “In turn, this fuels demand for scalable, reliable CCaaS solutions that work in harmony with existing corporate IT infrastructure,” commented Taylor.

He says the biggest growth area in the contact centre space for the next few years will be in applying AI to customer contact handling. “Leveraging AI and intelligent automation technologies correctly will deliver the nirvana of more efficient contact handling – potentially 30-35 per cent more efficient than non-AI-enabled contact centres – at the same time as providing a better customer experience, with shorter handling times and secure hyper-personalisation,” added Taylor.

Inspiring R&D
He noted that Content Guru aims for 80 per cent of its product development to be ‘customer inspired’, with the remaining 20 per cent flowing from its R&D programme which works up to four years ahead of what the company brings to market. “We hold regular product and customer advisory groups to inform our development roadmap,” said Taylor. “Most of the trends we see in the wider market, such as integrated workforce management and customer data platforms within CCaaS, were being discussed by customers months, or usually years before solutions became mainstream.”

Taylor emphasised the point that the cloud delivery model itself was first suggested to Content Guru by customers three full years before Gartner even coined the term ‘cloud’, enabling the company to start work on the necessary and complex multi-tenanting architecture well ahead of it being needed in the market. “Fostering meaningful relationships with customers, often through partners, allows us to stay attentive to upcoming trends and guide product development,” added Taylor.

It is clear to all that AI development is set to change the future of CCaaS, enabling a wider range of enquiry types to be handled in the contact centre, and allowing customers to receive the empathy of a human-facing interaction alongside the speed and productivity gains afforded by AI before, during and after every interaction.

“AI-driven analytics will also provide more in-depth insights, including automated customer satisfaction (CSAT) scoring, quality auditing and resource forecasting,” observed Taylor. “For those interactions that don’t require a human, AI-driven automation allows for more intelligent self-service options which free up human agents for more complex inquiries.”

Despite this clear vision for AI in the contact centre space, predicting the future of CCaaS is becoming harder than ever, believes Taylor. “The emergence of disruptive technologies, such as ChatGPT, brings enormous implications as to how customer contact is going to be delivered in the years ahead,” he stated. “We see the contact centre space as ‘ground zero’ for the implementation of AI in mainstream business. The arrival of such an exciting inflection point creates opportunities for end user businesses to build competitive advantage through operational efficiency and better service, at the same time dooming to failure those organisations that fail to invest in CCaaS and intelligent automation.

“All of this makes 2024 a prime time for resellers and MSPs to build on their status as trusted advisors and guide their customers towards AI-enabled CCaaS.”

Taylor’s top tip...
Enhancing the customer experience in the ways that are most relevant to clients should be at the heart of everything you do. Every solution should aim to improve customer satisfaction, address specific customer needs and offer hyper-personalised and super-efficient interactions across every contact channel.


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