September Special Edition 2020
The Silicon Review
In the digital world we live in, most of the contact centers in operation are still running on outdated technology and call center software that finds it hard to keep up with the way businesses and customers communicate. The contemporary alternative to the old legacy system on-premise contact centers using the latest communication technology is a cloud-based contact center. It offers various benefits to businesses that want to exceed and meet the demands of their customers continually. Every benefit that is offered by a cloud-based contact center will eventually find its way back to improving customer experience. Limitations of the legacy contact center systems will make it harder for companies to improve their competency. Only through an advanced solution can you keep up with the ever-changing customer expectations. There are various companies providing cloud-based contact center solutions, but one that stands out from the rest is Intelligent Contacts. Jeff Mains, CEO of Intelligent Contacts, a leading provider of enterprise contact center communication and payment software, has a successful track record of building technology companies that make unnecessarily complex business processes simpler.
Addressing the problems
Much of Jeff’s entrepreneurial inspiration has come when looking for answers to his own business’ dilemma, and realizing a solution does not exist. A little over ten years ago, this desire to solve unaddressed pain points in the accounts receivable industry led Mains to start Intelligent Contacts. Since that time, Mains has seen his startup grow into a major communication and payment solution provider for healthcare, government, and financial services. At its core, Intelligent Contacts’ technology offers cloud-based, omni-channel contact center technology and consumer-friendly digital payment platforms. Each solution is designed to be frictionless for both the business and its customers, creating a seamless and integrated experience between communication and electronic payments. As an early adopter of cloud-based infrastructures, Mains has long expressed concerns about the high capital expense, limitations, and potential danger of relying on premise-based technology. Hardware, in the form of workstations, desk phones, and miles of cables connecting employees to climate-controlled rooms full of rack-mounted servers and PBX switches, is expensive to purchase and costly to maintain. On-premise hardware is also difficult to access remotely.
Mains’ concerns about onsite hardware became a reality as the COVID-19 crisis closed office buildings in the spring of 2020, disrupting business communication as employees were forced to work from home. “I think the pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of older, legacy telephony systems in particular,” said Mains. “Almost overnight, 100s of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment sat idle at offices around the country as companies scrambled to transition to a remote workforce.” Lost among all the other headlines of the pandemic was the major disruption in business continuity as companies became disconnected from their customers. At the same time, corporate communication between management and staff was also affected, as desk phones, IVRs, and reception desks were replaced by personal cell phones. “Imagine the impact on the business when customer service calls are being forwarded to personal cell phones or third-party answering services,” said Mains.
Intelligent Contacts’ approach to the Perceived High Cost of Cloud-Based Software as a Service
If cloud-based technology reduces hardware and maintenance costs, as well as resolving the remote workforce dilemma, why are some companies still reluctant to transition to a SaaS model? The answer is two-fold. First, it is difficult for CTOs and IT departments to admit an existing legacy system is no longer cost-effective or cannot satisfy business’s changing needs. Second, pricing models for cloud computing and corporate SaaS can be complex and vary widely based on the industry or technology provider. Intelligent Contacts has frequently addressed these concerns with new clients by offering a transparent, straightforward pricing model. Instead of charging clients a “per-seat” license fee, or packing on additional costs through premium features, Intelligent Contacts offers a usage-based pricing model. Clients pay based on the minutes they use, messages they send, or transactions they process. “The biggest surprise is that a number of our clients have chosen to keep their call center decentralized using remote workers long term. While initially, they may have been resistant to the idea, they have seen productivity increase, and costs fall.” “Many SaaS providers lure companies in by offering a price point that appears like a great deal, but then ends up costing more because the costs have been shifted elsewhere,” said Mains.
Overcoming CIO/CTO Concerns about Network Latency and Downtime
A common concern for businesses switching to cloud-based software is network performance. Intelligent Contacts has alleviated these concerns by partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS). With all its solutions hosted on Amazon’s powerful data centers, clients can scale as needed without experiencing network latency. Regardless of scale or the amount of data being processed, clients have the speed, storage, and stability they need through multiple redundancy layers. In addition to experiencing uptimes of 99.9%, Intelligent Contacts clients can process and analyze data coming from over a million consumer interactions a day through real-time dashboards. “Our clients understand the importance of big data,” said Mains. “The ability to harness the power of that data to make actionable decisions instantly is what gives them a competitive advantage to succeed in their industry.”
Key differentiators and upcoming releases
As data security and artificial intelligence become more important and prevalent in business-to-consumer interactions, Intelligent Contacts has become a true pioneer in using AI, automation, and real-time performance dashboards to help some of the world’s most regulated industries–healthcare, debt recovery, and government–connect, collect, and comply. As big data continues to be a powerful tool in helping businesses become more effective and efficient, Intelligent Contacts is at the forefront of delivering innovative features and solutions that make each consumer’s interactions more engaging, meaningful, personalized, and profitable. Hosted Contact Center is an omni-channel communication platform for inbound/outbound/blended calling, voice messaging, SMS, email, and chat. Outbound features include a TCPA-compliant automated dialer with multiple dialing modes (predictive, power, progressive, and manual) and Answering Machine Detection (AMD). Inbound features include skills-based routing, payment IVR, DTMF masking, call recording, and speech analytics.
Intelligent Portal is a mobile-responsive, self-service payment portal that allows consumers to pay, create payment plans, or even virtually negotiate a discounted lump-sum settlement–all according to the specific business rules of the client. Additional features include Dynamic Account Disclosures, an automated compliance engine for the debt collection industry, a robust reporting and analytics module, built-in email and SMS messaging, virtual terminal, and API integration. Intelligent Messaging, a stand-alone messaging portal for sending person-to-person or campaign-based email or SMS/MMS messages.
Intelligent Contacts will be launching its latest Hosted Contact Center API in the Fall/Winter of 2020-21.
“When our customers choose us, they are getting all of the features they’ve been shown during the sales and onboarding process. They aren’t charged per seat, so they don’t have to worry about managing licenses or budgeting for additional users in the future.”
Our clients have the ability to work from anywhere. Contact centers used to be just that, centers. In today’s dynamic environment, the world is their office. Agents can be productive from anywhere with full transparency, monitoring, and QA from management.