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Hosted or “software as a service” technology is an ideal solution for contact centres who need to cut costs without limiting their capacity or compromising quality, says Jed Hewson of hosted solution provider 1Stream.

“When recession looms everyone looks for ways to cut costs – and the IT press is full of vendors arguing why their product is so essential it shouldn’t be among those cut,” says Hewson. “But the brutal reality is that cuts have to come from somewhere. We typically see CIOs and IT managers having to slash their project lists by half or three-quarters.”

The technology of hosted services has come along at just the right time, argues Hewson. “We’re at one of those rare moments when you can cut your costs in absolute terms and improve your systems at the same time.”

Hosted contact centre solutions are typically priced per seat per month, he says, offering flexible capacity as well as predictable costs. “When you’re trying to assemble or maintain the technical base of a contact centre on your own, there are unexpected costs around every corner,” he says. “One piece of equipment won’t work with another so there are extra development costs, or you need to buy extra licences or upgrade between versions of key software.”

“A hosted solution delivers everything as a single package at a fixed price, so there are no surprises,” says Hewson. “That means lower financial risk – and the costs of maintenance are the service provider’s problem.”

Keeping contact centre platforms up to date is especially critical, he says, as the contact centre increasingly becomes the main customer touch point. “There are many organisations nowadays that are impossible for customers to speak to except through their contact centres,” he says. “If it’s your key customer interface, you need to manage people, time, performance and quality especially carefully. Hosting allows you to do all that while also paying less for your capacity.”

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