Verizon plans to take support for business clients to new heights beginning in January, when it deploys contact center cloud platform services from inContact. inContact's virtual contact center services will provide Verizon's business customers with a variety of customer communications options and faster response times.
The move comes after Verizon evaluated communication preferences of customers in different demographic segments and found that not all of them prefer the same communication channels. "Older folks still go to the phone and are more willing to sit on hold," says Lori Anne Pollock, group manager of Verizon Contact Center Services Product Management. "A lot of middle-aged folks are happy with online, and the younger generations only want to operate in immediate modes, like text and chat."
The hosted inContact solution offers standard features, like inbound and outbound telephony, scheduled callback, Web callback, Web chat, fax, and email capabilities, but can also recognize incoming callers and refer specific ones to the most appropriate agents. When agents receive a customer call, they can use the inContact agent desktop to resolve customer inquiries.
"We knew we had to make a refresh, but we're not a software company, so we needed to pick a partner that had the expertise," Pollock says, adding that the company considered 14 vendors before going with inContact. "We knew we wanted to get to market fast, and that's where inContact's expertise was."
It can be a challenge "to move from traditional infrastructure to multiplatform content centers," says Mariann McDonagh, chief marketing officer at inContact. "But that's the beauty of the cloud—the ability to outsource infrastructure to make it more stable, with robust integration capabilities into existing CRM."
Industry analyst Elizabeth Herrell of Constellation Research says cloud technology will bring Verizon a "fully integrated suite of common applications."
Compared to on-premises solutions, "it will be more scalable and not as expensive," Herrell says. "For a company looking to get up and running quickly, it's a practical solution."