How Things Change
Twenty years ago, the outsourcing space was a very different place.
A “Switch” or ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) from providers such as Avaya, Mitel, Aspect or Nortel would cost you over a million dollars just for the basic infrastructure. Once you had that, you now had to license that baby (more money) and pay a consultant to help you program it (even more money). It’s no wonder that outsourcers went out of business regularly back then.
Today, the landscape is quite different. Open-source options such as Asterisk allow you to deploy the exact same environment at a fraction of the cost with very little recurring and licensing costs. In addition, companies such as TalkDesk and inContant effectively utilize the cloud to extend and deploy a robust, cloud-based ACD to their clients. Much less expensive, easier to deploy, less taxing on internal IT teams, the evolution to cloud based ACD has been a game changer in the customer support support space, especially for fast moving startups.
Two decades ago, companies such as Scopus, Vantive, Remedy and Clarify were the CRM providers of the day. These companies would place their software clients on the desktops of each agent. It was expensive, tedious and time consuming to deploy.
Today, the cloud is the only method of deployment for successful CRM tools. Companies such as Zendesk, Freshdesk, Salesforce, and Helpscout are leading the way in building next generation email management support tools. These are easy to deploy applications, scalable and very cost effective, especially compared to the Stone Ages of the late 90’s. Companies like LiveHelpNow and LivePerson have built amazingly scalable, cloud-driven web chat platforms which can integrate alongside other CRM tools to create a seamless multichannel support experience for your customer. New channels have additionally emerged, such as text to chat, allowing your customers to leverage the native SMS or Text mechanism built in their mobile device to communicate real time with support agents utilizing texting rather than having to boot up a laptop. Teckst is one example of these companies leading the way in leveraging new support channel capabilities.
Finally, social media has emerged as an acceptable and in many cases a required form of communication (push and pull) with end users, allowing the flexibility of both a one to one or a one to many support experience. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…these are just some of the methods in which which customers expect to communicate now.
Twenty years ago I could never have foreseen the revolution that has occurred in the outsourcing space with respect to the multitude of new emerging technologies and channels for customer communications.
Who knows what it will look like twenty years from now, but FCR will still be there as always, helping to lead the way in the outsourcing space as these new technologies and channels emerge.
Matthew Achak is the President and Co-Founder of FCR. His role within FCR involves actively managing all company wide sales, marketing, business development, social media, public relations, client facing communications, and ongoing program growth. Founded in 2005 in Roseburg, OR , FCR is the most respected and outsource provider in the industry.