Build vs. Buy – What’s Right for your Contact Centre?

Guest Blog by Jordan Edmunds, Business Development Manager, Zing

Contact Centre

Published: August 19, 2020

Guest Blogger

When debating the difference between buying a contact centre solution off the shelf or building your own bespoke, the analogy often used is houses: is it better to buy one, or build your own?

Like most analogies, this one is best understood by a look at its extremes.

On one end of the scale you have Grand Designs, with all the architectural flourishes and leaky budgets that typify every project. The flipside would be something like a neat three-bed home on a suburban plot – the kind where the developers pay the stamp duty for you, so you don’t complain when you realise the garage is too narrow to fit your car in.

Clearly, both options have their upsides and downsides. Ultimately the decision comes down to priorities, preferences, and, of course, budget.

Where the comparison fails is that it doesn’t respond to three key changes that have occurred in the contact centre and business communications marketplace in recent years:

  1. Consumers want to be contacted anytime, anywhere, on any device
  2. There is an increased responsibility on contact centre agents to meet the shifting expectations of both the consumer and organisation
  3. Organisations are turning to consolidating their reporting to keep up with the tools and platforms in place

The need to keep up with these changes, and maintain a high customer service level, strengthens the argument in favour of building a custom solution from scratch. But that, unavoidably, comes at a higher cost – both in terms of cash and resources.

It’s worth noting that the ‘buy’ option often doesn’t work out that much cheaper either, as the costs start to stack up as you add more users to the license, but that’s a topic for another day.

In this circumstance, the ideal solution that emerges is one that combines elements of both the build and buy approaches.

Buy – then build

Jordan Edmunds
Jordan Edmunds

Today, it’s possible to purchase a contact centre framework off the shelf that you then customise depending on the specific needs of your business.

To extend the housing analogy, the model is similar to HUF HAUS – the German prefab home company established in 1912.

With HUF HAUS, prospective homeowners lay out their vision (and everything they want to see in their future house) with the help of an architect. Once the plans are drawn up, the various bits of the building are constructed offsite and then finally pieced together on the plot that’s been set aside.

In the world of contact centres, the equivalent process is known as CPaaS – which stands for “Communications Platform as a Service”. This involves working with expert partners to co-create customised solutions that fit your specific budgets and timeframes.

There are tools out there which allows you to get the best of both worlds, as you buy the framework – essentially a toolkit – and then customise on top of it to suit your specific needs.

This approach is particularly relevant in the context of the market shifts I outlined above, especially in the omnichannel world, where the communications mix and needs of the contact centre vary.

Partnerships built on trust

Deliberations between buy and build will be more urgent than ever now, thanks to COVID-19. With a deep recession already looming, lots of businesses will be assessing their cost bases – as well as thinking about the new ways of working that the pandemic has ushered in.

The image of a traditional switchboard-style contact centre, with row upon row of desks and PC stations somehow doesn’t quite chime with the post-COVID reality that we’re entering.

And while all of the advice here does apply directly to contact centres, the same setup will be relevant to businesses looking to manage their telephony in a remote working environment.

What won’t change is the importance of working with partners you can trust, and who understand your business priorities.

The HUF HAUS approach only works if the customer and architect are fully aligned.

The same goes for establishing a contact centre: there will always be teething issues with any new setup, so you need to be sure your agreement includes prototyping and testing support.

You need to feel that your CPaaS partner is as invested as you are in the process, which means the development team you work with should be on hand to offer all the support needed to ensure smooth implementation.

With this in place, the possibilities are genuinely limitless.

If your contact centre is the only place you communicate directly with your customers, it should reflect the values of your business. It makes sense that you should be able to mould it to do that effectively.


Guest Blog by Jordan Edmunds, Business Development Manager, Zing
Your customer experience is everything. And we’re here to help deliver on the promise that technology can create an extraordinary customer experience. We are the expert consultants for Twilio’s cloud communication platform and how to get the most value from it. Our team of Zingers work fast and are relentless in a mission to make contact centres work better in every business. Whether you have a specific thorny contact centre problem you need solving quickly or are on a digital transformation journey, we can help you.

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