Why cheap contact centre solutions are a bad bargain for SMEs in growth mode

Planning on upgrading your contact centre and wondering if you need to spend a sizeable sum on a solution from an established vendor when cut-price, open-source alternatives are available for a fraction of the price?

In today’s challenging economic times, no business owner wants to pay over the odds for products and services if there are alternatives available which genuinely represent better value.

So, just what is it you’re getting when you spend upwards of $100 a month per seat for a quality cloud-based contact centre solution – and can you afford not to spend it?

A stable platform

What price an outage? It’s a question many businesses owners who’ve gone for a rock bottom software deal find themselves asking occasionally, frequently, even, in some instances, every day.

The answer, very often, is “more than you’d think”. In any contact centre, wages, not licence fees, account for the lion’s share of the running costs. An hour off-line is an hour in which your agents can’t do the job you’re paying them to do. Meanwhile, customers, prospects and suppliers are met with an error message or a request to call back later – something they may or may not be bothered to do.

If you’re able to identify and fix the problem quickly, the impact of an outage may be limited, but not so if it keeps happening regularly and for no discernible reason.

Instead, you’ll lose earnings and productivity each time it crashes, while your team and your customers lose confidence in the system – and your business.

This is less likely to be an issue if you work with a vendor that updates and supports its product continually. Doing so is not cheap and it’s a big part of what you’re paying for when you invest in a quality solution which has a downtime goal of less than 30 minutes a year.

Top-flight software engineers with the expertise to develop a stable platform and to detect and remediate problems rapidly can command premium pay packets. When your system crashes (again) you may find yourself wishing you’d spent the extra that it costs to have them on the team.

Secure customer data

In an era in which data breaches have become regular headline fodder, Australian customers have become increasingly conscious that their personal data is a saleable commodity – and they don’t want it falling into the wrong hands. They want assurance that the companies they do business with are storing it securely, preferably right here at home.

That’s not a given if you’re saving big bucks on your contact centre licence fees. Rather, your system is likely to be hosted offshore, in a low-cost destination where data protection regulations are significantly less stringent than those which Australian businesses must abide by. That’s hardly reassuring for customers whose contact details and credit card information is in your keeping.

There’s also the question of whether or not that off-shore facility has failover provisions in place which will see your contact centre automatically transferred to a duplicate facility, in the event of a local outage.

Investing in a robust platform to help grow your business

The COVID-19 crisis has reminded many Australian companies of the critical role contact centres plays in ensuring business continuity during times of uncertainty and disruption. Well run, they can be an enormous asset for businesses that want to project a positive image to partners and customers. If your business falls into this category, a below-market solution of questionable reliability is likely to prove a bad bargain. Conversely, a contact centre which is safe, secure and always “on” can be a solid foundation for future growth.

Daniel Harding, Director of Australian Operations, MaxContact 

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