In the latest in our series of articles in which technology leaders provide advice on the purchasing process, Tiago Paiva, founder and CEO of Talkdesk, shares his tips for those looking to buy a cloud contact centre platform.
MyC. What should practitioners be considering before they go out to market for a cloud contact centre platform?
TP. While specific considerations depend on the size of the company in question, overall what organisations should bear in mind is what they want to do in the future. Part of this is about scalability. So first and foremost, they need to find a platform that allows them to scale. It doesn’t matter if they’re planning on growing from 5 to 50 agents, or 50 to 1,000 agents, they want something that allows them to scale.
But then there’s also the issue of innovation. Customer service – and the tools in the customer service world – have changed so much over the last five years that organisations must think about choosing a partner that is evolving and innovating, because you don’t know what is going to happen in the next four or five years, and you don’t want to get stuck with a solution that doesn’t evolve.
This has happened already when you look at the old on-premise providers that have the same solution that they had 20 years again and in the end customers have to pour millions into them. But things have changed – customers are more demanding; customers want different channels; and there is AI coming. So you don’t want to be stuck with a platform that does not evolve with you.
MyC. What questions should a business ask themselves when requirement gathering for a cloud contact centre platform?
TP. The first question you should ask yourself is what kinds of channels do you want to support? Do you just want voice? Do you just want chat? What about email? So that’s the first one. Then the second question would be do you want everything from a single provider, knowing that no one provider will have the best of everything, or do you want to go to a provider that integrates well with the best-of-breed applications? So there are two paths that you need to choose from – one provider for everything or three/four of the best ones that would be integrated so that you can take advantage of the different providers out there.
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The third thing to consider is the deeper issues around the basic functionality. So there is basic functionality that everybody provides such as routing, reporting, IVR and so on – and I recommend asking yourself questions that go a little deeper about these. For instance: can this routing scale to where I want to be in the next three years, or can this reporting provide the functionality I require to run the company? So it’s asking yourself questions around the basic stuff that you expect to have, but ensuring you drill deeper into the functionality of each one.
MyC. When it comes to making an investment in cloud contact centre platforms, what advice do you have for practitioners in terms of making the business case and getting buy-in?
TP. The first thing you really need to do is prove to your CFO and to your team that a contact centre is not a cost centre, but a profit centre. Contact centres have been viewed as cost centres for many, many years, and every single dollar you invest in your contact centre is seen as a cost, so there is a reluctance to spend it. So you need to change the mentality internally before you even provide any sort of ROI. And then you want to build an ROI model to show the CFO that demonstrates that if you use the new functionality, the integrations with Salesforce, the AI and the automations, you can save 10, 20, 30 seconds per call, and if you multiply those calls by the number of agents you have, and by the numbers of calls they field, and the costs of the agents, you can demonstrate how you will improve productivity by, say, 20% and then you’re already paying for the software plus a lot more.
Software in the contact centre is actually probably the cheapest thing you spend money on – although it can seem like a lot when you buy it – but if you do a simple ROI case of how much time you’re saving your agents and what that time costs, then it more than pays for itself.
MyC. Are there any particular challenges in the cloud contact centre platform market that buyers need to be aware of?
TP. One thing to be aware of in this space is that every vendor says the same thing – they have this functionality, they have that functionality, they save you time, they save you money. But you should really take what is said with a pinch of salt, and ensure you compare the systems and draw your own conclusions. Just be careful with all the vendors throwing features at you and saying they provide everything because it is not about just checking the boxes, it is about having a platform that works for you.
MyC. Once practitioners are at the solution selection stage, what advice can you share to help buyers find the most appropriate vendor and platform for their needs?
TP. To choose the best fit for you I recommend the following steps. The first is to get four or five vendors and talk with them. That will help you understand the features you need, so you can shortlist a couple of vendors. And what you should also do – and this is the one step that many organisations don’t take – is talk to your customers. Honestly, that is probably the best way to get the results that you want.
As soon as you have an idea of the features you want you should talk with your customers and then read reviews to see what the customers are saying and which ones they say are the best. One thing you’re really looking out for is a vendor that will care about you – it is really important to get a vendor that helps you once you have made the purchase, because many companies invest heavily in sales teams to create revenue, but they forget about investing in post-sales teams. You want a partner that is there with you before you close the deal, after you close the deal and three or four years from now. So make sure that you pick a vendor that after you give them your money they are really there for you.
How does your contact centre compare to your competitors? Are your customers satisfied with your quality of customer service? These are vital questions to consider when you are looking to elevate the customer experience. Download this free report from our partner Talkdesk to learn the top four most common contact centre KPIs and the benchmarks to consider when you are adjusting your model. Talkdesk has compiled the best data around these benchmarks to help you better meet the needs of today’s customers.
Want to learn more? Talkdesk will also be hosting their annual UK conference on June 6th with inspiring keynote sessions from industry experts Martin Hill-Wilson, Adrian Swinscoe and their CEO Tiago Paiva. Register for your complimentary pass here!
About Neil Davey
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 15 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined Sift Media in 2007.