Closing the UC-CC gap

A yawning market gap with significant untapped revenue potential exists for resellers that combine unified comms and contact centre solutions, according to Intermedia’s EMEA Sales Director Philippe du Fou.

Here, he urges channel companies to embrace the latest technology in digital contact channels, all within reach of SMEs and easier to implement than ever, and lean on vendors for help to understand, scope out and provide contact centre solutions that deliver multiples of value.

Typically, over 20 per cent of Intermedia’s business has a contact centre attached to its UC solution which means that circa 80 per cent are yet to catch on – but customer demand will soon change that. “The days are numbered for partners to be just UC or only CC as customers are requesting consolidated solutions,” stated du Fou. “Partners that have added CC to the UC solution are seeing their revenue double or triple. By extending their skills to encompass contact centre partners create more strategic customer relationships making it more difficult to displace their offer. The solution is business critical rather than simple telephony that can be easily replaced with an alternative solution. Vendors can help partners develop these skills.”  

Partners that have added CC to the UC solution are seeing their revenue double or triple

This means that partners can start with no contact centre skills and get involved with the technical implementation, including project planning, establishing call flows, CRM integration and technical training etc. “As long as partner representatives can understand the basic sales questions and conduct basic customer research to understand the different communication channels being used, solution architects at vendors such as Intermedia can help guide the contact centre discovery process,” added du Fou. “The partner has an opportunity to learn on the job at every stage.”

Omnichannel opportunity
du Fou is currently seeing a ‘plethora’ of voice-only or basic UC solutions that could be elevated by an omnichannel contact centre proposition. “There is still a perception among many resellers and MSPs that contact centre is too big and complex for them,” he added. “However, cloud contact centre makes this much simpler to understand, sell and install than ever before.

“We see many voice-only CC solutions being expanded to add webchat, SMS or WhatsApp support because digital channels are needed to address different audiences. While these are common in enterprise few SMBs have leveraged new ways to communicate even though they are simple additions that add value.”

But some SMEs are making the leap from hunt groups with a sprinkle of real-time into true voice CCaaS, observed du Fou. “In many cases this is being done alongside adding digital channels,” he added. “AI chatbots are providing a better way to service customers without needing to use up valuable agent time. Customer experience and customer lifetime value are still the key metrics and any tool that can provide insights into this are important – transcription and sentiment analysis provide great insights into this. Meanwhile, automating quality evaluations alongside AI provides access to key information that would once have been lost in buckets of call recording storage never to be heard. Unified archiving across UC and CC, and across all different channels is also a growth area.”

While du Fou believes a consolidated UC and contact centre solution will help partners differentiate and take advantage of broader opportunities, he also noted that every customer’s CC requirement is different according to industry verticals and across different customer sizes, which means that most have particular requirements. “Therefore, resellers should ensure they work with a vendor that can support contact centre opportunities and offer the whole digital experience such as SMS, WhatsApp, webchat, email as well as leverage AI for services such as sentiment analysis and call transcription,” added du Fou.

He expects to see AI add more value in the near future through real-time sentiment analysis, along with intelligent agentless routing, evaluating interactions and redacting key information from transcriptions – all growth opportunities. “These technologies are more cost-effective for SMEs than ever,” he added. “Don’t hesitate to look for opportunities at the lower end. This is a growth area that’s a lot easier to sell into and a great way to learn the trade on the job.”

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