Verizon (News - Alert) has called on inContact to help it do a “refresh” on its hosted call center portfolio.
Through an OEM white label deal, Verizon will use inContact’s cloud-based contact center software solution to power its Virtual Contact Center services. Verizon expects to launch a U.S.-based version of the offer in mid December and an international version in late 2012.
Lori Anne Pollock, group manager of Verizon Contact Center Services Product Management, tells TMCnet that while her group has offered cloud solutions – both through partnership and homegrown technology – for many years, the new relationship with inContact will enable it to move into the next-generation hosted call center space. That means Verizon will be able to move up market, offer broader and more scalable call center solutions, and leapfrog others it usually sees in this space, she adds, noting that customers across the board are seeking cloud-based solutions to lower their total cost of ownership.
In seeking a partner on this front, Verizon interviewed at least 14 hosted call center solution providers across the globe. In the end, Pollock explains, Verizon picked inContact because the Salt Lake City-based company offers feature-rich software that is geographically redundant, hosted, international, multitenant, able to support service level agreements, and delivers the security and integration customers have come to expect from their premises-based solutions.
The new solution from Verizon “will enable customers of businesses and government agencies to choose how they want to contact and interact with the organization. For example, a customer reaching a company by phone would have the option of speaking with a live agent or requesting a call back if one is not immediately available. Customers could also use the Web for an online chat or to get answers to frequently asked questions,” according to the telco. Other features include the ability to recognize incoming callers and refer specific customers to agents with the appropriate level of expertise, which eliminates the need to transfer a customer from one agent to another and frustrating customers in the process. The offer also includes desktop tools to help educate and prepare agents to respond to and resolve customer inquiries quickly and efficiently.
Verizon’s move on this front is yet another indicator that “the cloud, especially in the call center, is absolutely ready for prime time,” says Mariann McDonagh, chief marketing offer for inContact, which is one of the largest cloud contact center providers, with about 1,000 deployments under its belt.
McDonagh adds that one of the particularly noteworthy aspects of the inContact solution is its agent optimization capabilities. Traditional call centers tend to require a lot of manager intervention, she explains, but inContact automates workforce optimization to deliver a more consistent and productive experience. For example, if a particular call center representative scores low on a customer survey, the system could ensure that individual gets only lower-priority calls; is presented with materials to improve his or her performance; receives more aggressive quality monitoring; and/or loses some perks, such as the ability to select certain shifts. In the end, she notes, all of the above is about driving customer satisfaction.