NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR HOLLARD
Merchants has a long standing reputation for delivering on-premise technology infrastructures for many of its clients, either as a component of a broader outsourcing deal, or in isolation. A natural first step was to migrate those operations whose infrastructures were approaching end of life, or where new functionality was in demand, to the new CCaaS platform. One of the first to make this move was Hollard, South Africa’s largest private insurance company, which had previously sourced technology to support its in-house operations from Merchants.
Merchants’ ability to offer Hollard an escape from the limitations of its outdated legacy technologies, without capital investment on its part, proved the catalyst for a transformation of the in-house sales operation for this leading insurer.
In less than three months Hollard transferred its operation from several disparate and aging centres to a single state-of-the-art contact centre building in Johannesburg. In this case, Merchants was able to provide both the technology and the building, which is now managed by Merchants on a managed service basis.
Ninety percent of Merchants’ existing client operations have now transferred onto CCaaS including Asda, Vodacom, FSB and Hollard. Merchants’ European-based joint venture partner, TSYS Managed Services (TMS), has also adopted CCaaS to support its growth in the financial services customer management and payment card processing market. In every case the ability to unlock service innovation through technology has created additional business opportunities for Merchants.
“We know that technology is a major headache for customer management operations that are struggling to keep pace with customer expectations in an adverse financial climate,” says Richard. “In the past, outsourcers like Merchants have been able to do little to help. Today, we can unlock transformational change rapidly, providing access to advanced contact centre technology on demand and on a pay-as-you-use basis.”
Merchants appreciates that CCaaS has put it in a strong position not only to maximise potential within its existing client base, but to uncover otherwise hidden business opportunities. “CCaaS has been a key factor in the majority of the new business deals that we have won in the past 18 months,” confirms Martin.
“It has also allowed us to secure key contract renewals, thanks to the ability it gives us to offer ‘more’ for ‘less’.”
Merchants’ conviction that CCaaS gives it a compelling competitive advantage stems from its knowledge that, for today’s customer management operations, an ability to bring new technology on-stream is recognised as a primary advantage. By the same token, the inability to do so represents significant business risk.
Customer management decision makers questioned in the 2012 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report say they see technological innovation, especially in the area of analytics and multi-channel service delivery, as the greatest source of potential benefit for their businesses. However, at a time when technological innovation is most desirable, companies feel least able to achieve it.
Further research carried out by Merchants in the UK confirms that almost half of the country’s organisations believe their customer management technology infrastructures will fail to keep pace with demands placed upon them by customers within the next three years. Nine percent say they are already failing.
Despite this, almost half have no technology strategy and 72% of those who feel their infrastructures are most at risk, have not been able to allocate budget to finance the investments they envisage will be needed.
“In this environment the ability to offer flexible access to advanced functionality is a trump card for any outsourced provider,” says Martin. “And, because that functionality is sourced from a fully resilient hosted platform, we – and our clients – pay only for what is needed, when it’s needed. As an outsourced service provider, we’re able to scale our business up and down at will without financial penalty.”
MANAGING THE BUSINESS
Merchants figures that what’s good for its clients is good for its own business, too. Today, the telephony and technology infrastructure that supports Merchants’ corporate functions in its offices around the world is sourced via the CCaaS platform, delivering a substantial reduction in operating cost. This is not only because licencing and support costs have disappeared, but because the whole of Merchants’ global estate now operates as a single telephony network, bypassing third party telcos. Calls between Merchants employees, in their offices or on the move, are effectively, internal calls infrastructure,” concludes Martin.
We’ve seen a 45% reduction in operating costs across our corporate telephony, “That makes Contact Centre as a Service a winner on both sides of the balance sheet!”
“We believe Contact Centre as a Service is a game-changing proposition with the potential to transform forever the way outsourcing businesses like ours deliver solutions to clients. It gives us a distinct commercial and competitive advantage as we grow our business, allowing us to provide innovative solutions based on the best technologies available.”