Every Contact Center Pricing Model Stinks. Except One.

Apr 27, 2021 9:53:36 AM

It’s true.

In the 1960s, the UK-based Birmingham Press and Mail installed Private Automated Business Exchanges (PABX) in order to have rows of agents handling customer contacts, paving the way for today’s modern call centers.

Contact centers have evolved a lot in the last sixty years, yet most of the technology that powers them (and their remote agents) and the way the industry prices that technology has stayed the same. Numerous vendors still sell call center software by the license - by named user or by peak staffing loads. And most only include core functionality, not IVR/IVA/Chatbots, email, video, post-call surveys, or any other extras in those licenses. 

Named user pricing means you have to buy a license for every person that works in the contact center, whether they work part-time or full-time. Simple, yes. But, what if executives only need to log in once a week to check progress? What if you have different groups of agents at different times based on campaigns, skill sets, or other requirements? What about attrition? Named user pricing requires every user that needs to log in to the system have their own license. So even if you only have 15 of your 30 agents, 3 of your 6 supervisors, and 2 of 4 executives logging in on a given day, you pay for all 40 licenses. Ouch.

A concurrent user license pricing model is based on the number of simultaneous users accessing the software at a given time. Basically, a group of people can share one license. Think of a morning shift agent clocking out of work and the evening shift agent taking his or her place on the same license. Sounds good, right? Concurrent user licensing allows you to pay based on the number of agents actually using the software, rather than the number of agents that might use the software. The problem with this model is there are inevitably times when more people want to log in than can be accommodated by the number of available licenses. Think of unforeseen things like power outages, canceled flights, and weather events that drive unplanned contact center traffic spikes.

In most cases, buyers are forced to accept pricing models from the 1960s. And that’s just not ok. We don’t have to settle for anything else from that bygone era, so why this? It’s bad enough that the technology does not do what brands need in order to deliver the experiences their customers are demanding… it’s ‘paying a price’ for not nearly enough functionality or flexibility.

OpEx Over CapEx

For as long as call centers have existed, the expenses associated with the technology to run them have been acquired as a capital expense (CapEx). This means an enormous outlay at the front-end and a long period of depreciation. But, this just doesn't jive with the pace of innovation and leaves many organizations trapped with old solutions. 

“Most cloud-delivered services are considered operating expenses (OpEx), while UCaaS and contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) subscriptions are typically charged under a per seat per month model,” Dave Michels writes in a recent NoJitter article. “OpEx increases flexibility and replaces depreciation,” he adds. 

That’s why Edify started from scratch to build and deliver a solution with pricing that makes the most sense for the buyer -- OpEx and usage-based. Edify Huddle is built to give users exactly what they need (and nothing they don’t) with simple, transparent, usage-based pricing. A user logs in, they are charged for the day - a 24-hour cycle. For agents who don’t log in, no paid-for license sits on the proverbial shelf collecting dust.

The efficiencies of the usage-based model are apparent the moment you begin to compare it with its predecessors. From hard dollar savings to peace of mind and predictability, this is the way every organization should be consuming CCaaS and UCaaS. Michels concludes by saying, “Usage-based models are coming, so there may be a cost or real expense to ignoring it.” 

Edify is already there. 

Candace Sheitelman

Written by Candace Sheitelman

Candace Sheitelman brings more than two decades of marketing expertise to Edify, much of it focused on CX and the contact center. She's responsible for Edify's go-to-market strategy and execution. Sheitelman previously ran her own marketing communications firm and global marketing at Aspect. She earned her B.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Learn more here.