The 2010 CRM Service Awards: Rising Stars -- LiveOps (The Home Team)

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What kind of company actually goes to the trouble of trademarking the phrase “The Call Center has left the building”? The LiveOps kind of company, apparently. The Santa Clara, Calif.–based outsourcer has not only thought quite a bit about where customer service agents should reside, but even reimagined where contact center technology itself should live. 

Calling itself the “world’s most flexible and effective outsourcing solution,” LiveOps has has made inroads thanks to a model for work-at-home agents (WAHAs) and a virtual contact center in which more than 20,000 WAHAs are routed in real time to service customers. In other words, LiveOps is capitalizing on two emerging trends in the customer service marketplace—WAHAs and cloud-based contact centers—and was an early mover in both. 

Providing both outsourcing and workforce management (WFM) solutions puts LiveOps in a unique position—one that seems to be bearing fruit. Amid a nasty recession, LiveOps enjoyed double-digit revenue growth in 2008, and, according to several industry analysts, extended that strength in 2009 and into 2010. 

Daniel Hong, an industry analyst with Ovum, calls LiveOps’ offering compelling: The solution, he says, can leverage the platform that LiveOps already uses for its home-based agent business and can use that to sell to companies that may already have agents in place. The WAHA model may be LiveOps’ bread and butter, but the hosted platform is gaining traction, too. 

“There’s a lot of promise in hosted contact center services [because] companies…don’t have the capital to invest in new infrastructure,” Hong says. “To date, the market for hosted contact centers still remains relatively untapped, [so] there’s a lot of room for growth.” LiveOps’ suite includes interactive voice response, call routing, agent management, WFM, quality monitoring, and reporting and analytics. “This provides comprehensive visibility and control versus implementing a series of components from different vendors that require integration,” Hong says. 

Some analysts attribute part of LiveOps’ success to the company’s focus on a high-quality user interface. Following the company’s Spring ’09 release, Sheila McGee-Smith, president of consultancy McGee-Smith Analytics, called the interface “modern, updated, and inviting” compared to the competition. 

For LiveOps, 2009 was a year of getting the checklist accomplished, Hong says. The company was doing the legwork necessary to ensure its name stays in the mix, working to gain enterprise traction. And it seems as if those enterprise customers have begun to take notice, with users such as Affinion Group, Colonial Penn, Salesforce.com (one of last lear’s CRM Service Rising Stars), and West Marine signing on. 

In fact, one LiveOps customer in particular gained some notoriety this past year. LifeLock, an identity-theft protection service, earned itself a CRM Service Elite Award in April 2009—thanks to a LiveOps implementation that allowed the service to ensure consistency on every call, according to Tammy Valdez, LifeLock’s vice president of member services. LiveOps, she told CRM, “allows us scalability we never would have had and saves a lot of fixed costs in favor of variable [ones].” The offering’s business intelligence benefits also paid off: “We could not only juggle far more calls,” Valdez said, “but track them and use them to refine our business.” 

No need for the company to rest on last year’s laurels, however. The future for LiveOps looks bright indeed. Hong, for example, says that he’s taken briefings on some “unique and revolutionary” initiatives that LiveOps has planned for 2010. “If [it’s] able to execute—and the market timing is right—[LiveOps] should make a huge splash in the market,” he says. 

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