BT and Avaya Tuesday launched a new ‘pay-as-you-go’ service for contact center operations allowing businesses to avoid costly capital investments.
BT Avaya OnNet means organizations can optimize their contact center resources, responding immediately to peaks and troughs in customer demand.
The hosted service also means capacity and geographic location can be flexed in a cost-efficient manner, with the necessary technology accessible as demand shifts.
BT Global Services president of IP networking, Tom Craig, said the hosted service will be of particular benefit to financial services, retailers and utility companies, who experience significant seasonal demand. “Outsourcers, as well, need to be flexible depending on the volume of contracts being managed at any one time. Organizations will be able to provide more resources at specific times, without the need for up-front capital expenditure,” Craig said.
“Historically, this has been a considerable problem for businesses struggling to find a balance between having the right amount of contact center resources and keeping the business cost-effective.
“You can bring in additional workers on contract when demand rises – but sourcing additional equipment is another matter entirely.”
As contact center strategies evolve from a model based on capital expenditure to one based on operational expenditure, Craig said flexibility is crucial.
OnNet will play a key role in the ‘virtual’ future of contact center strategies where employees anywhere in the business can be tasked to help manage customer contact.
Avaya EMEA marketing VP, Morag Lucey, said it doesn’t matter whether staff work within the contact center, the branch or, at home, consistent levels of operation and service will be possible.
“This offering moves us one significant step further away from the view of contact centers being big buildings in isolated locations and towards one of networked, ‘virtual’ contact centers across smaller sites or even at home,” Lucey said.
“Combined with the rise of presence-based technology, intelligent routing is also possible ensuring the person with the right expertise and language capabilities answers the call.
“This enables organizations to think more laterally about how they manage their customer service and helps them enhance it.”
The new solution is targeted at customers who have multiple sites or a distributed estate. The customer will typically have more than 750 seats across their operation and may have sites in different countries or regions.
Only last month, United Customer Management Solutions (UCMS) launched a new service that provides a network of skilled, home based agents.
Dubbed UCMSremote, the company said it is an alternative to offshoring with first users of the service already live in Melbourne.
Plans are in place to roll out the model nationally over the next 12 months.
Staff retention has always been a serious problem for the call center industry, especially with Australia’s aging workforce. Home-based agents is one solution and is ideal for older workers.
Catriona Wallace, president of callcentres.net, said the industry has to think of more creative ways to recruit new people.
“Tapping into an older workforce might be more appealing because they are not like the generation Y workforce who tend to be more prone to attrition,” she said.