Zoom has launched a contact center-as-a-service product that focuses on providing video calling to the growing number of companies seeking a more visual interaction with customers.
Zoom's Contact Center, available this week in the United States and Canada, also offers voice calls with SMS messaging and web chat in beta. Because Zoom hasn't finished the latter two, companies that need the capabilities today will likely look elsewhere or consider Contact Center to supplement what they have, said Beth Schultz, an analyst at research firm Metrigy.
"Video isn't enough," she said. "[Zoom] is going to have to move quickly on some of those features [Contact Center] doesn't have yet."
Nevertheless, video is one of the top three contact center technologies that companies plan to implement this year, according to Metrigy. A February survey of 1,846 businesses found that 75% have adopted video or will do so by 2023.
Organizations using Zoom to build a rapport with customers and help them solve problems include financial services, healthcare institutions and companies that provide coaching services, said Heidi Elmore, head of Zoom's UC as a service business.
"What we're trying to accomplish with Zoom Contact Center is to take the same app that people know and love and add contact center agent and supervisor capabilities to it," Elmore said.
Contact Center's capabilities include a drag-and-drop designer for an automated telephony system that directs calls to the agent with the correct skill set. The software also has supervisor tools, allowing managers to monitor agent productivity.
Zoom plans to update Contact Center with integrations for workforce management, electronic health records and customer relationship management software. Contact Center has a Salesforce integration in beta at launch, with plans to support Zendesk, ServiceNow and Dynamics 365 within six months.
Contact Center, which costs $69 per customer service agent, launches Zoom into a market that research firm Fortune Business Insights expects will grow to $56 billion by 2027. However, Zoom faces many competitors, including Genesys, Nice's CXOne and Five9.
Last year, Zoom tried acquiring Five9 for $14.7 billion. However, that purchase fell under national security scrutiny of Zoom's product development operations in China. Five9's shareholders ultimately canceled the deal because they reportedly believed the offer was too low.
"It feels like [Zoom] offering their own Contact Center was a second-best initiative [to an acquisition]," said Dan Miller, an analyst at Opus Research.
Zoom intends to offer its CCaaS product while keeping existing partnerships with contact center providers Genesys, Five9, Talkdesk and Twilio.
Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily News, Walpole Times, Sharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.