We held a terrific webinar last week (over 200 attendees!) titled “Top 5 Call Center Trends of 2013”. During the part about “Intelligent Call-back” (one of the top trends), we received several questions about how Fonolo compares to Virtual Hold. I asked Shai to elaborate on some of his answers during the webinar.
Q: How does Fonolo compare with Virtual Hold?
Shai: Both Fonolo and Virtual Hold provide the functionality of replacing hold time with a call-back which is what we call, generically, “virtual queuing”. The concept has been around for decades, but is now gaining renewed interest because of rising consumer expectations.
Virtual Hold is a real pioneer in the space, with deployments all over the world. They’ve been doing it [virtual queing] longer than anyone else. Fonolo’s main innovation is offering virtual queuing as a cloud-based service. This innovation brings with it quicker deployment and lower cost. Virtual Hold’s solution requires on-premise deployment, which allows deeper integration, but with the trade-off of higher cost and complexity.
Fonolo is also very strong with multi-channel call-back. When we first launched our product, we focused exclusively on click-to-call and visual IVR for the web and mobile so we have deep experience and a very polished offering on that front. We added “In Call Rescue” last year, for customers that dial-in directly, so now we cover all the bases. [Ed: Tune in to our next webinar where 1st United Services Credit Union will be our guest and will talk about how they deployed Fonolo across all three channels: web, mobile and voice.]
Q: How does Fonolo’s pricing work?
A: It’s an annual subscription fee, which is standard for SaaS-type businesses. One thing we felt strongly about, from day one, was having open and transparent pricing, which is virtually unheard-of in the call center space.
For premise-based solutions like Virtual Hold’s Conversation Bridge, or Avaya’s Callback Assist or Cisco’s Courtesy Callback, you pay an up-front fee for equipment and installation and then annual maintenance fees. With Fonolo, there is just the annual license fee. In theory, the on-premise model could lead to better ROI over the course of several years, but we haven’t seen such a case yet. (The appeal of replacing CapEx with OpEx has driven cloud solutions into almost every aspect of enterprise IT.)
We have datasheets that include cost comparisons with VHT and Avaya. Just contact Chris McLean (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Director of Sales, and he will happily share them.
Q: What if security concerns preclude sending voice traffic outside our network?
A: Fonolo offers a cloud-plus-appliance approach that covers situations where you want to keep voice traffic on-premise. In addition to satisfying security issues, this approach also makes sense, if you want to handle the outbound calls through your own telco infrastructure.