newvoicemedia
Cloud Computing

Martin Veitch (Global) - Interview: UK's NewVoiceMedia Wants Cloud Over Contact Centres

Contact centres are not among the more glamorous areas of workplaces or information technology. They essentially hook up sales and service staff to handle the requests, queries and other needs of buyers and they tend to have a bad reputation for locking in user organisations to expensive, closed systems that are difficult to change. Enter, as so ever, cloud computing with its attendant promises of simplified administration, usage-based pricing and flexible configurations.

NewVoiceMedia is yet another hot cloud company. It recently raised an additional $20m, taking total funding to over $26m. But the company is not another Silicon Valley startup: it’s headquartered in the UK, develops its own IP and it’s making inroads into a lot of well-known companies. It claims close on 300 customers (40 in the last quarter alone), 8000 agent seats and annual revenue growth of over 200 per cent.

Even if that rocket-vertical trajectory is likely to be based on modest revenues, the company’s customer roster is impressive, from couriers Parcelforce and DPD, blue-chips like BT and tech companies like Lumesse, Photobox and QlikTech to service providers such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and brands such as Jamie Oliver’s Jamie At Home, wine trader Berry Bros & Rudd and car dealer HR Owen.

As is so often the case today, the benefits of a cloud environment are trumping the old model of on-premise systems for buyers seeking agility and value.

“Incumbents are wedded to the old contact centre model and have to eat their own children, but growth is all in the cloud,” says NewVoiceMedia chief marketing officer Tim Pickard. “One customer was losing over 30 per cent of interactive voice response (IVR) calls and had no way of managing service level agreements because it had outsourced so much. It was taking them six weeks to change an IVR menu. It’s ridiculous but there are lots of similar stories.”

In a rapidly globalising economy, differentiating on customer service will become ever more important for organisations seeking to avoid a race to the bottom on price, he adds.

“A Berry Bros or HR Owen that offers high-value products might offer a racing day promotion or wine tasting event to anyone held in a queue. It’s about being flexible enough to jump on chances to meet and interact with customers and make them happy.”

The funding sluice will help NewVoiceMedia’s attempts to crack the critical US market and the company plans to add a datacentre there, but it says that even without proactive selling it has picked up 10 per cent of its customer base from across the Atlantic. It is also adding to its core service with a Workforce Management capability helping companies to tweak how they deploy their agents, shifting them to tasks where they are most effective.

The history of UK companies attempting to become global leaders does not present a pretty picture and there are rivals such as inContact, LiveOps and Interactive Intelligence in the same cloud contact centre space. But in a market where disruptive startups are set fair to win business from incumbents, NewVoiceMedia may be sitting pretty.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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