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Why Your Current Contact Center Provider Isn’t Cutting it Anymore

Vendor responsiveness is a vital asset to help ensure your contact center operates at peak efficiency. It ensures that urgent issues are promptly addressed and prevents potential disruptions in the customer journey and your business. Choosing a provider that swiftly and effectively handles questions, inquiries and complaints is invaluable.

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Regrettably, when organizations select a contact center solution, they often fail to fully grasp the importance and consequences of prioritizing high-quality customer service. The assumption of adequate vendor support, particularly with term-billing models, often leaves the contact center dissatisfied, perplexed or even worse after the contract is already locked in. This oversight significantly restricts the organization’s potential for growth and damages business continuity.

Common Billing Model Misconceptions

Contrary to the widely accepted notion that a term-billing contract guarantees stability and cost-effectiveness, it can initiate a chain reaction that often disrupts the contact center’s operations, hinders regulatory compliance, reveals hidden fees and weakens its competitive position. This surprising correlation adds insult to injury, implying that receiving subpar vendor support is often self-inflicted by choosing the wrong provider and billing model.

The financial dynamics of term-billing models, particularly those involving support clauses, actually incentivize and compel providers to provide minimal aid, often directing you towards voicemail, offshore support or inadequately staffed offshore “help” desks to maintain margins and control expenses.

“TCN’s software has been a lifesaver. The platform has helped us improve our customer service by cutting down wait times and connecting customers with the best available agent. TCN has also given us greater reporting capability, allowing us to track our agents better and adjust schedules to match call volume changes. With these insights, we can get very granular with the reporting and make decisions quickly without lost revenue or increased expenses.”

– Jeremy Feldman, Director of Audience Development of EO Media Group

Term-billing models can lead to compromised vendor support, where time-sensitive queries, training and issue resolution are delayed, placing your organization at risk and impacting your contact center’s customer satisfaction, reputation and profitability.

Moreover, there’s an additional layer to consider, particularly when dealing with vendors that are publicly owned or beholden to venture capitalist funding. These entities often leverage contracts and terms as tools to monetize their customer base — transforming them into value for stakeholders. This practice, while strategic, can have significant implications for customers. It encompasses several key dimensions:

  1. Revenue generation: Contracts and terms are designed to generate revenue streams for the vendor, potentially overshadowing the customer’s needs.
  2. Long-term commitment: These models aim to secure long-term steady income sources.
  3. Upgrades and add-ons: Providers strategically introduce upgrades and add-ons, sometimes as necessities, further increasing revenue potential.
  4. Lock-in effect: Customers may find themselves locked into agreements that limit flexibility and choice.
  5. Renewal and retention: The focus on customer retention often involves intricate renewal processes and terms. Some of these happen on technicalities without any newly signed agreements.
  6. Predictable revenue: Such models ensure consistent revenue projections, serving as a safeguard for the provider’s financial outlook, not always for the customer’s.

Being locked into contractual-based billing and/or paid support inhibits adaptability and degrades the overall service experience. Inflexible terms can bind your organization with unexpected costs and limited scalability over multiple years, further compounding the problem.

“TCN’s support has been beyond responsive and helpful. They take our business personally, anticipating our needs as our business has changed and grown.”

Are You Getting the Contact Center Provider Support You’re Paying For?

Do you want someone who is focused on extracting maximum value from you or who is focused on creating the maximum value together with you, in and for your best interest?

Poor support is not merely an inconvenience, it often leads to disastrous results. Your organization may face a range of seemingly minor challenges that stem from a lack of vendor availability and responsiveness. These all too common,  seemingly minor issues can snowball with catastrophic effects that can and will usually manifest at the most inconvenient moments to disrupt business operations. 

Additionally, without consultative support, contact centers may find themselves struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of regulatory requirements while being unaware of existing technological solutions that could help them stay relevant and compliant. Not only do they risk falling behind in compliance matters, but they may also miss out on the opportunity to implement new features, advanced communication tools and innovative data analytics capabilities. This lack of guidance and insight often places the contact center at a disadvantage, hindering its ability to adapt, implement innovations and remain competitive. 

A provider’s service philosophy, directly influenced by the vendor’s billing model, can significantly affect your organization’s growth and competitiveness. When your provider doesn’t prioritize your feedback, advice and enhancement requests, it becomes difficult to shape the development of products, services and features that not only address your organization’s current and future needs but also serve as indicators of a company lacking innovation and thought leadership. This misalignment not only hampers your organization’s potential for growth but also inhibits its ability to stay at the forefront of the industry.  

“How did I get here? I even pay for extra support. Doesn’t that guarantee a specific level of service?” 

The prevailing notion of paying extra for what should be basic professional treatment in customer service is not just irksome but deeply perplexing. It challenges the very essence of quality customer service and undermines being “customer-centric.” This belief is disheartening as it suggests that you are required to incur additional fees merely to receive the standard level of professional care your organization rightfully deserves. Such a concept contradicts the fundamental principles of providing exceptional customer service, which should inherently prioritize addressing customers’ needs and ensuring their satisfaction. Instead, it creates a sense of unfairness and discontent, erodes trust and hinders establishing long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.

There is one more thing. The frustration and disillusionment from feeling let down by a vendor’s support model and billing approach can’t be underestimated. It’s more than just a momentary inconvenience; it can be an ongoing, profound daily struggle. Your provider is intertwined with your business ecosystem, and the repercussions of this disappointment ripple through your operations daily for as long as the contractual term lasts. 

“When you told me that TCN provided excellent service, I didn’t believe you, because everyone always says that. It wasn’t until we actually became a client that we realized you were really telling the truth. It has exceeded our expectations.”

– Sameer Maini, CIO of State Collections & CEO of CollaborationRoomAI

A vendor relationship can seem almost adversarial when the only personal interactions become issue escalations and when the best provider support experienced only comes just before contract renewals. Shifting blame and finger-pointing have no place in any business partnership. It most certainly should not be a daily reality.

The realization can make anyone wonder if there’s a way to find a better balance between the product you pay for and the service you receive. 

Finding a Provider and Billing Model That Puts Your Contact Center First

The quality of customer service a company offers is equally as important as the technology it provides. While advanced technology and innovative products may initially attract customers, the level of customer service and support determines overall satisfaction and loyalty to a brand.

In a competitive marketplace, products and technology offerings are often similar across companies. When customers encounter challenges, need training or have questions about a product or service, the responsiveness, knowledge and empathy of the customer service representatives make all the difference in the quality of the relationship.

Learning from past relationships, it is important to take action and seek out a service provider that is genuinely committed to providing you and your organization with outstanding support with every interaction. If you find yourself in a bad long-term contract with months or years left, it is important to know that you may still have options. The right provider may be able to help with a buyout or split between vendors to satisfy monthly minimums to forge a path forward. The right provider must be seen as a trusted advisor and partner, understanding not only your current needs but also the future landscape and industry best practices.

So, how do you know when you have found “the one”?

An ideal provider can be recognized by having the right billing model, the right people, the right technology and earned longevity.

The right billing model: consumption-based

Adopting a consumption-based or usage-based billing model is key to ensuring ultimate success in your vendor partnership. Instead of the flawed traditional approach of paying for customer service separately, embrace a consumption-based model where you only pay for what you use. This model aligns costs with the actual usage of the vendor’s products and services, providing a powerful incentive for them to deliver top-notch support.

“Implementing TCN’s platform in our contact centers was not only simple and easy, but it also created new opportunities for our organization that we did not have before. As we have added and taken advantage of the great outbound functionalities, we have seen a noticeable improvement in our customer engagement and response rates.”

– Sergui Popa, General Manager of Elicom

The key difference of having a consumption-based model is that if you encounter any hindrances that prevent you from using the vendor’s offerings, you don’t use the product and the provider doesn’t get paid. It is as simple as that. 

This straightforward principle keeps the provider on their toes, always striving to provide unparalleled products and service to exceed your needs and overcome all obstacles. As a result, you will experience stellar customer service from the onset — cultivating a loyal and satisfied relationship with the provider.

With a consumption-based pricing structure, a vendor has every reason to go above and beyond, offering the best products and support imaginable — putting you in command of a thriving partnership where your success and theirs are intertwined through a shared commitment.

Excellent customer service aside, a consumption-based model offers significant advantages for contact centers. Businesses can achieve cost efficiency and flexibility by paying only for the services used. The model’s easy scalability allows contact centers to adapt swiftly to business needs without additional costs, term commitments or contract extensions. Additionally, transparency in billing fosters trust and enhances the provider-customer relationship. These benefits make consumption-based billing an attractive option, appealing to contact centers seeking to optimize their operations and maintain high-quality service levels.

Simon-Kucher, a pricing and growth specialist firm, stated, “Arguably the biggest strength of this usage-based pricing model is that customers will recognize a stronger correlation between the price they pay and the value they get from your service. And that is a good thing for ensuring customer satisfaction and, ultimately, customer retention.”

“TCN was the very best predictive dialer choice for [our company] because of the feature-to-value ratio. They have exactly what we need at a reasonable price. The true differentiator — TCN’s staff is beyond responsive and helpful, even anticipating our needs as our business has changed and grown. Whether it is presenting enhanced TCN capabilities or supporting us on new regulatory requirements for messages – they take our business very personally.”

– Rae Lockard, SVP & COO of Access Receivables Management

The right people: crucial elements

An ideal customer support experience encompasses several crucial elements that cater to the needs of contact centers, regardless of their size, and is enhanced by being part of a consumption-based model:

  1. Availability: A support team that is readily accessible when you need assistance or guidance.
  2. Responsiveness: Quick and timely responses to your queries and concerns.
  3. Redundancy: A dedicated team of specialized members that can step in when needed, providing seamless support even in the absence of a primary contact.
  4. Expertise: A team with in-depth knowledge and skills related to your industry and the solutions they support and a track record of successfully handling similar issues and challenges.
  5. Clarity in communication: Effective and transparent communication that ensures mutual understanding.
  6. Ownership and accountability: A sense of responsibility and commitment to resolving any problems that arise.
  7. Thoroughness: A comprehensive approach to problem-solving, leaving no stone unturned.
  8. Ability to understand implicit needs: An ability to grasp not only what is explicitly stated but also what might be implied or unsaid.
  9. Escalation when needed: The ability to escalate issues to higher levels of authority when required for efficient resolution.

The right technology: vital capability 

If a product fails you, the quality of your support becomes irrelevant; however, beyond that critical point, the quality of customer service offered is just as vital for a growth-oriented partnership as the technology itself. By adopting the right technology, you gain the capability to handle certain tasks independently, reducing your reliance on vendor support and leading to faster and more efficient resolutions. Instead of delays and issue resolution, the provider’s role and focus shifts to a proactive stance, enhancing appropriate product use and providing consultative guidance, engendering and ensuring smooth fulfillment delivery and offering comprehensive training, all of which foster outstanding customer experiences and strengthen the bond between you and the provider. This customer-centric approach, rooted in robust technology, creates a mutually beneficial relationship that drives success and growth for your contact center.

“The TCN [implementation] has been widely declared as a success. One of the most common things I’ve heard over and over again is how much our team appreciates TCN’s support. This has been echoed from agents to leads, to leadership — the product is great, but what puts TCN over the top is its stellar service. Our account manager, in particular, has been an invaluable resource for our team. From our regularly scheduled calls to being available to pick up the phone and answer an hour worth of questions from our team, TCN has gone above and beyond.”

– Amanda Olaghere, Head of Operations of Mission Lane

The right provider is demonstrated by a track record of customer loyalty, which speaks volumes about the quality of their products and services. Even without the reliance on binding contracts, their customers are highly satisfied and enthusiastic, as evidenced by longevity and glowing reviews. Beyond just meeting expectations, the right provider goes above and beyond to add value and contribute to the growth of their customers’ businesses. They actively work with their clients and your organization as thought leaders and consultants, offering valuable insights and guidance. This provider-client relationship goes beyond a simple transaction; it is a true partnership built on trust and mutual success. Such a vendor is not just a service provider but a strategic ally that helps its customers manage expenses, innovate and exceed their goals.

TCN — The Contact Center Provider That Hears You, and Has What You Need

At TCN, our commitment to exceptional customer support is more than just a statement; it’s our core principle. We don’t just claim to provide outstanding customer service – we are genuinely incentivized to deliver excellence — plain and simple.

As a privately funded and profitable entity, we focus on creating maximum value for you. We are not tied to VC funding, so our decisions align with your business needs and growth opportunities.

Since our inception in 1999, our simple and transparent pay-as-you-go billing model has been the driving force behind our growth. This model aligns our interests with yours, ensuring that we’re invested in your success as much as you are. Our commitment is to clear away any obstacles that might come your way.

Our user-friendly interface is designed to empower your team, minimizing the need for specialized knowledge and boosting operational efficiency. At TCN, customer service isn’t an afterthought; it has been ingrained in the very architecture of our software since day one.

When you partner with TCN, you’re not just signing up for services; you’re gaining a dedicated team that’s with you every step of the way. Our support doesn’t end with the sales process – it carries through your entire journey. 

From the very beginning, our “configure instead of code” approach, along with our pay-as-you-go billing model, has empowered us to provide unrestricted free support. With your dedicated support team at your service, customization becomes effortless without the hassle of intricate software development or any unnecessary delays. Thanks to automatic updates and including new enhancements for all TCN clients at no additional cost, your operational setup is streamlined. This means that tasks that previously took days can now be accomplished within hours, and what used to span weeks can now be completed in mere days.

We take our responsibility and your business seriously. Our devoted team, with an average tenure of over 12 years, possesses the expertise to provide the support you want. And while we’re always just a phone call away, our embedded Learning Center offers self-guided resources to complement the personalized assistance we offer.

“We have seen a significant cost reduction since we began utilizing TCN. Platform 3.0 has given us the ability to fully analyze the data associated with inbound and outbound calls and scale up and down at no capital cost.”

– James Marsionis, General Manager of DJ Distributors

Our track record of rapid deployment and thorough implementation stands as proof that face-to-face assistance can get the job done, especially during crucial implementation phases. That’s why we proudly offer complimentary on-site visits. Our in-person support, tailored guidance, comprehensive training and ongoing, insightful consultative assistance embody our commitment to being more than a conventional service provider. 

We hold your feedback and insights in the highest regard – for over 24 years, it has shaped and influenced the evolution of our services. Our goal is to keep your contact center at the forefront of industry advancements, and your input is instrumental in achieving this.

With a remarkable track record of serving over 1500 contact center clients, managing billions of calls/texts/emails and supporting thousands of representatives, our growth has been attributed to our dedicated team members that work each day to provide unparalleled client care — building trust and value that is never tied to additional fees or support packages. 

We invite you to delve into our array of testimonials and case studies, where the success stories of those who’ve partnered with TCN are highlighted. These accounts from fellow contact center peers clearly emphasize that leveraging the right billing model, the right people and the right technology makes all the difference. 

TCN is the ideal solution for contact centers searching for “the one.” Let TCN be your strategic partner in achieving your growth and success. Experience the TCN difference today and embrace the future of contact center excellence.

We look forward to serving you and earning your business, each and every day.

“I only have positive things to say about my experience with TCN. They’ve been fabulous to work with. If I need help, my account manager responds within minutes. They always seem to be on the cutting edge– they are always learning and changing. Because of this, they are able to provide the best technology for St. Luke’s and help us decide what will work best for us.”

– Cindy Samuels, Senior Manager Patient Revenue Services of St. Luke’s University Health Network

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I deploy a two-vendor strategy if I am locked into a contract?

Implementing a two-vendor strategy, also known as a multi-vendor strategy, involves utilizing services or products from two different vendors instead of relying solely on one.

Deploying a two-vendor strategy while being locked into a contract with your current CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) vendor can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. This approach has many benefits including:

  1. Risk mitigations and diversification of potential issues
  2. Enhanced vendor performance can help either drive better customer service or quality of product
  3. Negotiation leverage when terms or contracts become unfavorable
  4. Redundancy in case of outages, natural disasters or geopolitical events
  5. Faster customer service resolutions
  6. Reduced vendor lock-in

While a two-vendor strategy offers various advantages, it’s crucial to manage vendor relationships effectively and monitor their performance to maximize the benefits of this approach. Regular assessments and clear vendor communication are key to a successful multi-vendor strategy.

How do I know I need to evaluate my vendors?

Evaluating vendors is crucial to managing provider relationships and ensuring that your business receives the best value and performance from its partners.

If you have consistent outages, lack of support or overall service that has gone down, this may be one of the main reasons to evaluate your contact center provider. Innovation gaps and strategic alignment can play an equal role in evaluation. Regularly monitoring these aspects and conducting periodic vendor evaluations can help your business maintain redundancy that benefits your business.

What should I look for when choosing a contact center software provider?

When selecting a contact center software provider, it’s crucial to prioritize tools and features you know will help your contact center succeed. Make sure to look into scalability, ensuring the system can grow with your business. Look for comprehensive features like call routing and CRM integrations, and prioritize user-friendly interfaces for efficient operations for agents. Integration capabilities with existing tools and support for multiple communication channels are key.

Reliability, security and compliance with regulations should be confirmed, and customization options considered for evolving business needs. Evaluate the level of customer support and training provided, and understand the pricing model to align with your budget. Finally, check customer reviews to assess the provider’s reputation for user satisfaction and overall performance.

Are you getting the best bang for your buck with your current contact center software provider?

When assessing the value of your current contact center software provider, consider factors such as features, scalability, ease of use, customer support and cost. Evaluate your specific requirements and compare different providers to ensure you’re getting the best value for your needs. It’s essential to regularly review your options and make informed decisions to optimize your investment in contact center technology.

Certain service providers offer fixed monthly rates, ensuring consistency in billing. Alternatively, there are providers that adopt a usage-based payment model, wherein the monthly rate may vary. However, this approach guarantees optimal cost-effectiveness, ensuring that you only pay for the services utilized without unnecessary expenditures.

Does my current provider have all of the features my contact center needs to succeed?

Every provider works differently to help your contact center succeed but to fully determine if your current provider has all the features your contact center needs, you should consider the following:

  1. Call handling features: Check if your provider offers features like call routing, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), call recording and call monitoring.
  2. Scalability: Ensure that the provider can scale its services according to the size and growth of your contact center.
  3. Integration: Verify if the provider’s system integrates well with your existing software and tools, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.
  4. Reporting and analytics: Look for features that provide insights into contact center performance, such as reporting tools and analytics.
  5. Multi-channel support (Omnichannel): If your contact center handles various communication channels like phone, email, chat, etc., check if the provider supports these channels.
  6. Reliability and uptime: Assess the provider’s reliability and uptime to ensure minimal disruptions to your contact center operations.
  7. Cost and contract terms: Consider the cost of the services and the flexibility of contract terms to ensure they align with your budget and business needs.

Gain access to the tools your contact center needs.