Interactive launches on-demand call centre

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Interactive launches on-demand call centre

Interactive Intelligence has launched its communications as a service (CaaS) platform in Australia, three years after its debut in the US.

The vendor had made no changes to its software for the CaaS model other than introducing per-user, per-month billing. The software was hosted by Interactive in a third-party data centre rather than in a reseller or customer's data centre.

"That architecture doesn't change, the technology doesn't change," said Interactive Intelligence's solutions marketing manager, Jason Alley.

CaaS was appealing because it could run alongside already-purchased equipment and avoided the need to replace working gear.

It was the first time the vendor had offered its software on a per user, per month basis in Australia. Interactive planned to launch the CaaS service in Japan before the end of the year.

US ticketing company, New Era Tickets, attended the launch and said the CaaS program had handled over 75,000 calls in an hour made by fans buying tickets for a Taylor Swift concert.

New Era Tickets had saved 20 percent in costs after switching from Avaya, said New Era Tickets' director for call centre operations, Thatcher Young. The on-demand service had reduced the time for connecting inbound calls by five to 15 seconds.

Young said the Interactive deal was cheaper for several reasons. The software allowed real-time monitoring of queues and on-the-fly updating of the IVR. The ticketer could use the automated system to help customers discover which dates had been sold out as the last tickets were being sold.

"We've been able to give the self-help option and see people select it. We are using less agents" as a result, Thatcher said. The ticketer had reduced the number of licences and phone lines which contributed to savings.

"We have become better at answering phone calls. We have become better at responding to customers' needs because we don't have to worry about whether it works," Thatcher said.

Interactive partner Tecala, a managed services provider, was positive about the product.  

"A couple of years ago there was a lot of resistance to putting equipment in the cloud. That model is mature," said Pieter Degunst, director of sales and marketing, Tecala.

Degunst said that there was no difference in the margins or the sales cycle to selling Interactive's on-premise software.

 "The engagement and sale positioning is the same," Degunst said.

Customers were more likely to choose the SaaS model though, said Alley. "There is less risk with hosted because no capital spent on CPE. Cost is the main driver for conversations about CaaS."

The service operates with 99.999 percent availability.

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