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Zoom’s New Contact Center Offering: Your Calls Are Important to Us
At Zoomtopia 2021, Zoom launched its Video Engagement Center. It was intended to be complementary to CCaaS solutions, including Five9, which Zoom was in the process of acquiring. That acquisition did not occur, but Zoom’s vision and intention to be in the contact center did not diminish.
It was safe to assume something was coming from Zoom. Last year it was willing to spend about $16 billion to get into CCaaS. The question this year has been would Zoom make another acquisition attempt or opt to build its own. Because CCaaS is so complex many observers have been expecting another acquisition attempt. However, Zoom isn’t particularly big on acquisitions. It has only made a few acquisitions in its history, and they have been technology tuck-ins, not platforms.
On the other hand, Zoom is exceptionally talented at building applications — quickly. This has been evident several times, but Zoom Phone is an example of its fast development and responsiveness. Zoom Phone was launched in 2019, and rapidly expanded its features, geographic availability, and customer base. A big part of its success was its single, integrated application. A feature of its new contact center as well. And now, the company has launched its own standalone omnichannel, Zoom Contact Center, becoming one of the few enterprise communications providers that can offer voice, meetings, messaging, and CCaaS.
Zoom Contact Center has a single desktop client capable of contact center, general telephony, audio and video meetings, and messaging/chat. The service is being launched in the U.S. and Canada, with geographic expansion planned possibly to all 46 of the countries where Zoom Phone is currently available.
We are already seeing many organizations show a preference for getting their unified communications and contact center services from a single provider. The single client and a unified administrative portal make that even more compelling. Remote agents, for example, can leverage subject matter experts via Zoom Chat, with no additional software.
In addition to its single client, Zoom Contact Center also distinguishes itself with its native video capabilities. Contact centers have been reluctant to embrace video, but this is one of those areas that seems destined to change. Historically, the contact center was all about voice, but years of omnichannel expansion have permanently changed the contact center, and voice has even become optional.
When stores and offices closed during the pandemic, contact center use cases shifted and expanded. There’s been plenty written about how organizations needed to adapt during the pandemic including new channels and enabling distributed (agent-at-home) operations. Those expectations remain, and video (and screenshare) technologies are poised to be a disruptive channel in the contact center.
Video can allow businesses to differentiate. Many people consider it more professional or “high-touch.” Video may not be that important for checking a bank account balance but can be natural for more complex use cases including support for fraud claims. Video inherently implies support for screen sharing and remote camera (see-what-I-see).
Zoom is strongly associated with video, so it’s no surprise that it would build its CCaaS with native video capabilities. The feature may or may not resonate with traditional CCaaS prospects, but it could unlock a broader market of non-traditional contact center use cases.
So much has changed over the past few years. A lot more people are more comfortable using video, and most now have both video-enabled devices and appropriate bandwidth to use it. Also, agents no longer need to be in a contact center (or at their home). Zoom built Zoom Contact Center for distributed use cases that could include offices, stores, and in the field locations.
The CCaaS sector offers higher revenue per user and a higher degree of loyalty. Zoom may be new to CCaaS, but comes with a strong brand, a global platform, a huge installed base, and the wherewithal to rapidly develop and innovate.
Zoom already had APIs available to allow developers to embed Zoom video into other applications. Now they can embed chat and video into customer-facing applications and websites.
Zoom Contact Center runs about $70 per agent per month and is also available on a usage-based model. The service can be purchased separately or bundled with other Zoom services. Zoom Phone is not required. Zoom also intends to continue working with its CCaaS partners, which include Genesys Cloud, Five9, Nice CXone, Talkdesk, and Twilio.
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and Analyst at TalkingPointz.