The proof of any concept or innovation lies in the doing. Here are two examples of contact centers' experience with hosting:
CLEARLINK's Clear Choice
CLEARLINK is a leading provider of content and conversion services for top consumer brands and small to medium businesses. The firm has a 250-seat contact center located in Salt Lake City, Utah, handling inbound sales and service.
CLEARLINK realized by summer 2007 that its on-premise solution lacked sufficient routing flexibility to different agents and that it needed to handle changing marketing campaigns. It also wanted business continuity/disaster recovery functionality and the ability in the future to support home-based agents that the existing installation could not provide.
CLEARLINK had considered upgrading its existing contact center hardware and software. Yet that choice would have cost $2 million-plus, both upfront and over the next five years in added features, maintenance and updates, explains Brandon Russell, director of call center operations. Newer premise-based solutions still would not have provided the desired flexibility.
In summer 2007, CLEARLINK began researching hosted suppliers and later that year selected and went live with inContact (www.incontact.com). inContact provided CLEARLINK with IVR, skills-based call routing, customer survey, eLearning, recording and workforce optimization (WFO). The reasons included flexibility and technology and the hosting firm's commitment to keep the solutions current.
CLEARLINK did have initial concerns over uptime with the hosted solution: "You can't go over and look at it to see if it working," says Russell. These were assuaged by InContact's reassurance and by the firm's own and positive experience hosting its Microsoft Exchange server.
The hosted inContact solution has been a success. With it CLEARLINK, avoided the capital outlays and it has saved over $100,000 in payroll costs from WFO, plus it eliminated downtime and associated lost revenues from premise-licensed upgrades.
The outsourced deployment permits CLEARLINK to scale agents up or down depending on demand and change IVR features and recordings in under an hour. The skills-based routing helps the firm grow its revenue. It can for example automatically route more profitable marketing channel calls to its tier 1 agents or to a specific agent that is best able to handle those calls.
"InContact's solution gives us the ability to manipulate the phone system based on our...