Today, I attended their forum here in Toronto for CallCentreAnywhere. This is their hosted IP contact center solution, and it looks to be the first of its kind from a major carrier up here.
I certainly liked what I saw, and they've done a good job of applying the versatility of IP to the real problems facing contact centers today. To get the point across, they featured presentations by Henry Dortmans of Angus Dortmans Associates, and David Chalk of Chalk Media. Both have a deep understanding of call centers and where IP can really play a role in their futures.
One of the real issues that is easy to overlook is the fact that many businesses, especially retailers, are having a hard time getting to know their customers these days. There are simply too many alternatives for shoppers if they don't like what they see, and loyalty is just so hard to build up. This has become very problematic in Canada, as big box stores from the U.S. have pretty much killed off all of our our homegrown retailers. It's pretty sad, actually, and in a lot of ways, Toronto's retail landscape doesn't look much different than Toledo's. I digress.
The main idea here is that call centers become critical for retailers as they may be the best - and only - way they can build real relationships with customers. IP brings a lot to the table for making this real, and Telus has come to market with a very practical solution. The hosted model is flexible, which is great on many levels. It means that businesses of all sizes - big or small - can take advantage of this and make contact centers a really strategic resource - instead of a simple cost center. This model is also great since it's so easy to scale up or down, so you can flow with your natural business cycles, such as seasonal volumes or special promotions.
Another key message I liked was the importance of emphasizing applications instead of infrastructure. To gain broad market traction, a hosted solution needs to be marketed on the merits of what it does, and not how it does it. Most businesses don't understand or care that much about the technology - they need to see how it will address problems and give them an edge they didn't have before.
For me, the only thing missing in the presentations was a better sense as to the range of businesses that could benefit from CallCentreAnywhere. I think the Telus folks were largely preaching to the converted - businesses that already have call centers. That's a given, but with all the cool capabilities and ease of use, I'd just as much like to see them broaden the landscape. Tell us more about how this would be a great solution for businesses that don't have call centers. Just like VoIP is a great reason to start using broadband, CallCentreAnywhere is a great reason to start using call centers.