Merchants, best known in the UK for its offshore outsourced contact centre services, has launched a radically new and different service to the UK customer management industry.  ‘Contact Centre as a Service’, will give organisations direct access to best-in-class contact centre technology on an ‘on demand’ basis, avoiding the need for large scale capital investment.

Merchants believes ‘Contact Centre as a Service’ will appeal most to organisations that are either looking to establish green field contact centre operations or, more likely, to achieve a significant step change in operational and service capability.

“Organisations attempting to deliver increasingly sophisticated customer services, frequently across multiple channels, are frustrated by the high capital investment cost required to upgrade or replace legacy technologies, says Merchants UK Business Development Director, Kevin Teasdale.  “Contact Centre as a Service relieves the economic pressure, allowing them to access the technologies they need on a pay-as-you-go basis.”

The new service represents an innovative approach from Merchants; one which leverages the technology heritage of its parent, Dimension Data, Merchants’ own 30-years experience in designing, building and operating contact centres and a new strategic partnership with Avaya, whose Aura platform sits at the heart of the Contact Centre as a Service offering.  It also recognises a general trend, reported in the 2011 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, away from direct technology ownership to the adoption of hosted technologies.  The report found that, although 7 out of 10 contact centres owned their technology, the number of technologies sourced on a hosted basis had grown by 85% over the previous year.

 “Organisations are hungry for the economic flexibility that hosting gives,” says Kevin.  “In a ground breaking deal with South Africa’s largest independent and privately owned insurance group, Hollard, Merchants has provided technology and a state-of the art contact centre facility in Johannesburg.  The centre is manned and operated by Hollard’s own management and staff.  Merchants expects to announce its first UK-based Contact Centre as a Service client shortly.

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