There has been much activity in the enterprise IP Communications market, particularly around the integration of new technologies into new enterprise organizations. Specifically, many enterprises have found they can leverage solutions that have traditionally been limited to call centers throughout their organizations – especially on a hosted basis. The question is, are those strategies built to develop long-term customer relationships, or for short-term wins? As we near ITEXPO West
in Los Angeles, I took some time to ask Volt Delta’s SVP and General Manager of Enterprise Services and Solutions, Terry Saeger, how these and other trends are playing out for companies like Volt Delta. His thoughts follow:
EL: What is the biggest challenge facing the communications industry today?
TS: Retaining existing customers is the greatest challenge facing the communications industry today. Studies have shown that it takes up to five times the effort and investment to attract a new customer than to retain and grow revenue from existing clientele. Current economic conditions are prompting many customers to listen to offers with short term benefits, ignoring customer care efforts designed to build long-term loyalty. Those in the communication industry must deal with the conflict of investing to retain and grow a larger percentage of their customer base by providing additional value vs. competing on short term promotions as a defensive measure.
EL: How are you approaching that challenge?
TS: The line between customer satisfaction and enthusiastic loyalty is not always evident. Organizations may feel their customers are satisfied, but will they continue to purchase and hopefully recommend their vendor to others? VoltDelta (News
) is providing a unique set of contact center solutions to help identify how customers feel about their relationship via automated surveys, as well as delivering Contact Center on Demand solutions to more quickly and efficiently resolve calls to agents located virtually anywhere. All of these solutions are provided on-demand, thus avoiding capital expenditures while “right sizing” for any call volume.
EL: How will the Broadband Stimulus plan impact the communications market in the U.S.?
TS: The stimulus plan is meant to provide broadband access to “unserved’ and “underserved’ rural areas within the country. The greatest impact will likely be felt by regional and rural carriers and vendors that target these areas. These suppliers must work to efficiently support an increasingly dispersed population of customers.
EL: What will be the most significant development or trend in the communications space in the next 12 months?
TS: The adoption of hosted services, even for the largest organizations in the communications space is one of the most significant trends. Customer care and IT organizations are realizing that on-demand value extends far beyond how you expense costs. An ability to provide a secure and flexible “virtual” resource means contact centers can be deployed and managed more effectively, including the addition of home agents. Hosting also applies to providing self-service to callers with exceptionally engaging voice recognition resources deployed in a redundant environment.
EL: What will we see from your company in the next 12 months?
TS: A notable shift for our organization is that you will “see” our company more often in the customer care and enterprise space. We are taking our unique global OnDemand platform, which annually processes over 2.4 billion calls and over 2 billion SMS messages, to organizations such as contact center outsourcers, financial institutions and healthcare providers. Our mix of voice self-service and agent solutions including packaged speech applications and multi-channel agent resources will be available from a number of organizations in the next 12 months to enhance customer care and build loyalty.
EL: If approved, how will Avaya’s bid for Nortel’s (News - Alert) (News - Alert) enterprise assets impact market dynamics?
TS: This is likely another sign that the contact center market is maturing. Vendors must strive to articulate value for their customers by providing confidence though proof points such as number of years providing solutions, robustness of hosting resources, and innovative capabilities in self-service applications and contact center resources.
EL: What’s the most exciting thing ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert) attendees will find at your booth?
TS: Demonstrations will include how carriers could enable their customers to self-provision new phones or handset features. An automated survey application will make it easy for customer care professional to more quickly and efficient gauge loyalty of their customer base without incurring agent costs.
EL: Who will win the World Series?
TS: I believe that the Red Sox have the pitching depth required, from starters to relievers to win the World Series this year. Formidable middle of the batting strength with patience at the plate combined with speed on the base paths from Jacoby Ellsbury means opposing teams will likely be forced to go their bullpens earlier than they would like, helping the Sox to extend leads late in games.
Follow ITEXPO on Twitter: twitter.com/itexpo
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask