Q&A with BroadSoft

Following BroadSoft’s acquisition of contact centre leader Transera, we spoke to Arnab Mishra, vice president of BroadSoft Contact Center, to find out what prompted the move.

What does BroadSoft do?

As the leading global provider of unified communications and collaboration services worldwide, BroadSoft has over 13 million installed licences in over 80 countries and according to Frost and Sullivan accounted for 41% UCaaS global market share in 2015.

As a company, we aim to simplify the way organisations communicate and collaborate by managing the information overload experienced by the plethora of emails, messaging and other apps commonly used. Our unique and flexible UC-One platform is a complete solution that delivers all the cloud unified communication and collaboration features companies want to boost satisfaction and worker productivity, and reduce costs.

BroadSoft’s core cloud communications platform enables the delivery of a range of enterprise and consumer calling, messaging and collaboration communication services, including private branch exchanges, video calling, cloud contact centre applications, text messaging, team collaboration and converged mobile and fixed-line services.

What prompted BroadSoft to acquire Transera?

BroadSoft primarily bought Transera to improve its cloud contact centre capabilities and offer a more complete set of solutions to users.

BroadSoft was already on the lookout for a contact centre solution and Transera’s competencies and market leading position were impressive. BroadSoft was particularly interested in Transera’s predictive analytics, which allow companies to improve first-call resolution and sales conversions, achieve greater revenues, and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

The launch of BroadCloud Contact Center introduces a broad set of contact centre features to new and existing customers.

How has your business changed since the acquisition earlier this year?

The biggest difference is the much broader go-to-market platform that we can leverage as part of BroadSoft. In the first 180 days, the reception to our offering has been very strong across our portfolio of products. Customers are benefiting from a more complete BroadSoft solution that includes contact centre capabilities.

How do you think the contact centre market has changed in the last year?

The contact centre market is in state of transition based on shifts in end user demands:

– Movement from premise technologies to the cloud
Only about 8% of contact centre seats are in the cloud today (taken from MZA’s Contact Centre report, October and December 2015), but that number is growing rapidly: some estimate by over 25% per year This will give contact centres far more flexibility when it comes to managing the technology supporting their operations.

– Adoption of new contact channels
Contact centres increasingly deliver customer service through social media and messaging channels, particularly in Europe where messaging applications have developed a significantly strong user base.

– Rising use of analytics
In a world where customers have increasing amounts of information at their fingertips, it is more important than ever to aggregate and unify data on customer interactions. This generates insight on customer journeys and how best to serve customers via human-assisted and automated channels.

What predictions for the future do you have when it comes to the evolution of contact centre technology?

It is always hard to make predictions in an industry experiencing multiple simultaneous transitions. The trends, driven by contact centres themselves, that will affect our industry over the longer-term include:

– The acceleration from multi-channel to omni-channel
This movement is characterised by three key phenomenon:
1) Increasing customer service-related messaging from mobile apps and social networks
2) The need to track touchpoints across channels to gain visibility into customer journeys as customers increasingly hop from one channel to another
3) The drive to deploy analytics providing end-to-end visibility and real-time decision-making based on customer and agent data during customer interactions

– The integration of contact centre (CC) and unified communications (UC)
Contact centres historically existed as silos within an enterprise. With new cloud technologies and the fact that both CC and UC are fundamentally software offers, we believe the time is right to break down these silos with unified application suites, enabling workflow collaboration amongst contact centre agents and allowing the rest of the company to deliver first contact resolution and better customer experiences.

– The use of bots for automated service
Facebook has moved into this area and we believe technologies are maturing towards making bots a reality. Initial iterations will resemble web-FAQs in terms of content, but over time, the use of machine learning and analytics will allow for automated personalised interactions. The ability to escalate from automated bot to human-assisted service will be critical for higher complexity interactions.

What are the biggest challenges facing the sector as it stands?

In my opinion, the three biggest challenges contact centres face today are:

1) Contact centres need to start measuring themselves on business outcomes and not just on efficiency metrics. They currently focus on efficiency metrics that calculate the utilisation of contact centre resources, but the reality is that contact centres exist to deliver on specific business objectives, be it sales, customer retention, or customer service.
2) With the wealth of information available online, customers are better informed and, in turn, expect a much higher level of service from better informed agents. The bar continues to rise and contact centres must invest in systems and processes that allow them to meet these demands.
3) In the days before social media, a customer with a poor service experience would likely complain to a group of friends. Today, that same customer has a virtual megaphone via social media where they can amplify their unhappiness. Recently, several negative posts have gone viral, causing significant damage to enterprises’ brands.

What tips would you give to a contact centre IT manager?

The single piece of advice I would give to contact centre managers is to focus on the core purpose of operations and not get distracted by non-essential items. A contact centre should service customers, whether in the form of sales, retentions or support.

Contact centres that focus on customer experience and enable agents to deliver the highest levels of satisfaction tend to have greater brand loyalty and recognition. Many get stuck, however, focusing on managing and caring for underlying systems and infrastructure necessary to run their operations.

Moving to the cloud and automating workflows using analytics are two great ways to enable a contact centre manager to refocus on what is important – the customer experience.