Ask the Experts: What Are the Top 3 Contact Center Trends?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about contact center trends and omnichannel solutions with 8×8’s Vice President of Strategic Channel Development Chris Peters. Find out more about non-traditional contact center sales opportunities from Chris and the 8×8 team here: http://8×

Andrew: Okay. Another Ask the Experts session here, guys. We’ve asked Chris Peters who’s the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8. We’ve asked Chris to join us here in the studios in Petaluma. Chris, welcome back, man.
Chris: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Glad to be here.
Andrew: Yeah. Great to have you. We’ve been talking a lot about contact centers in this whole UCaaS certification track. It’s a space that I’m a passionate believer in, and 8×8 has a really strong story in the contact center space. I wanted to ask you real quick. This is kind of an exploding opportunity for the channel. What do you think are the top two or three trends that are really driving this forward and perhaps presenting the largest opportunity to our partner community. What are your thoughts there?
Chris: Answering that a couple different ways. First of all, the opportunity for our channel partners to sell a real value proposition to a customer that means a much better quality customer experience for their customer. It means that you’re kind of getting away from that whole, “I’ve got to run an ROI on these guys. Are you going to save me money? I’m I going to get rid of my IT staff?” No. I’m going to make my customers money by retaining customers and giving my customers a better experience. That’s what the contact center solution offers. It removes a lot of friction and improves the efficiency of groups. Not just traditional contact center groups, but other organizations: whether it’s the sales team, whether it’s the customer support team, whether it’s the helpdesk, you name it. You can gain great efficiencies through a contact center solution. The other way to answer that, of course, first and foremost: it’s omnichannel.
Customers want to reach you the way they want to reach you. I know that seems kind of obvious, but in the old days it was voice. Call up and wait. They don’t want to do that. They want to chat. They want to email. They want to text. They want to social you. A full omnichannel solution is key to success in the contact center market. Our focus—sure, we’ll go after a contact center that’s a real contact center—but more often than not, where we find the opportunity is we’re selling something in a hosted PBX platform and we can sell to nontraditional contact center solutions such as a sales team. All of the sudden a sales manager can monitor the activities. They’re not going to have calls dropped. Calls are coming in. Their guys are making outbound calls as well. He can track that efficiency. He knows whether they’re calling their girlfriend or they’re calling prospects; he knows how long they’re going to stay on that phone, how many calls are dropped. Make sure those calls get routed back to the same sales guy that the guy wanted to talk to in the first place—so nontraditional contact center opportunities. And then first and foremost, frankly, is the analytics. Getting all that data.
I’ve mentioned that in both the other two trends, but getting the information not only out of the contact center, so all of the call stats, etc., but integrating that through RESTful APIs—you can integrate with almost anything these days—so that the CRM, the ERP system: I know what they’ve ordered, what the shipment status is. I know when they last called. All that data—being able to do a full-blown analysis on that is really a key value proposition in the contact center space these days.
Andrew: Interesting. That’s fascinating. The three that I heard you say is we’ve got—let’s start from the end. You’re talking about guys who are doing integrations with CRM, the analytics that are helping drive CRM and ERP integrations into your contact center. The one that’s really fascinating to me is a trend in contact centers: marketing this to companies that don’t necessarily have “contact centers” today, but could absolutely benefit from leveraging this technology to become more competitive. That sounds like what I’m hearing you say; leveraging that technology to separate themselves. Of course, the first one, omnichannel. I’m a user of that today. That’s my preference. I want to go on Twitter and get access to somebody’s customer service experience. Those are three big trends, no doubt.
Chris: Absolutely.
Andrew: Very cool.
Chris: Again, I think it’s great for the channel because now we can sell not just a hosted PBX platform, but opportunities to upsell them into the contact center solution. What is it, four or five times the price per seat for a full-blown contact center solution, higher monthly recurring charges. It all works out well.
Andrew: Yeah. We all win. Great. Big believer. Love that you guys are investing so much in that area, Chris. We’re going to see a lot of growth together over the next many years in that space. One last stat on contact center that I heard—you might validate this—I’ve heard that of all the contact centers out there, less than 10% are cloud based; meaning over 90% are still premise-based contact centers. There’s an enormous opportunity to go out there and just make a killing right now.
Chris: It’s clear to us that there’s an inflection point in the market where there’s a reason why it hasn’t been penetrated because of any number: technology, awareness, customer’s reservations that they want to control that piece of iron in-house now. That is all changing. We’re seeing a tremendous—both in the hosted PBX side of things, frankly, as well as in the contact center—a tremendous push towards the cloud, and it represents a great opportunity and it’s a very, very under-penetrated market for sure.
Andrew: Very cool. Good deal. Guys, that’s Chris Peters. Chris is the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8. Chris, thanks for jumping in here man.
Chris: I appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
Andrew: All right. Guys, make sure you check out the learning center for 8×8. Lots of great information there that can help you get smarter about how to sell cloud with 8×8. Lots of opportunity there to make a boatload of money. Good selling.