Guest Column | June 12, 2014

In Praise Of The "Boutique" Contact Center Partner Strategy

By Rick McFarland, CEO, Voice4Net

Contact Center Partner Strategy

By Rick McFarland, Chief Executive Officer, Voice4Net

An analyst recently asked me about the benefits of working with an independent technology provider — compared to a huge vendor partner — in the contact center space. It may seem counter intuitive to some, but when contemplating whether it’s better to work with a larger-scale “mega-provider,” your answer should be no. And there’s a terrific reason.

That reason is the customer. Your customer.

This should be the biggest motivation, but there are various reasons why a dealer will benefit more from partnership with an independent, boutique firm, as opposed to a large-tier provider.

  • Selectivity. An independent provider has the flexibility to immerse itself in a defined number of projects per year — the key descriptive in that sentence being immersed.  If your technology partner selects its clients wisely, it will be able to give priority to your customers’ needs. Priority should not lie in the volume of business that the provider undertakes.  If it does, then be prepared to become just another project for that vendor, instead of a valued partner.  Choose vendors who are aligned with your own objective: the realization of a tailored, effective contact center solution dictated by specific business needs. You should view the independent provider as the “Rodeo Drive” of contact center solutions by delivering superior, individualized service, but without the elitist pricing.  A lean and agile technology partner can, in fact, offer more cost-effective pricing, while producing a quality solution that will remain relevant for years to come.  
  • Focus. An independent provider worth its salt will engage in a customer deployment to learn — up close and personally — exactly how the legacy systems and existing policies of that end-user function. If you and your partner remain co-aligned and focused, you can discover things during a project that even the business owner didn’t realize. You can then work together to implement improvements that the end user didn’t know he needed, resulting in custom integration that accomplishes his goals faster, more intuitively, and through a more unified architecture. 
  • Customization. As a dealer, long-term success hinges upon your ability to alleviate customer pain points and enhance their profitability. It’s the difference being a custom home builder versus a tract home builder, spitting out the same solution for every prospect. Today’s business environment clearly is not one size fits all.

An independent provider is better positioned to help you build-to-suit. This is the way to go if you’re looking to deliver systems that are as unique as every company you call upon. Your customers shouldn’t have to adjust their practices to accommodate the technology you are selling. It’s the other way around. Maybe that’s why custom and customer are nearly identical words. 

So rather than wonder why certain providers choose to remain at a manageable size, count your blessings. Take advantage of the benefits of an agile organization, one that will embrace your customers’ requirements — and help you cement your business relationships.