RingCentral has introduced ‘Customer Service Essentials’, a bundle containing its flagship MVP platform (Messaging, Video, and Phone) and ‘Live Reports’ which provides real-time call center performance data. The offer arrives at a crucial juncture for contact centers. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, contact centers have become more central to managing the customer experience. Contact centers: have expanded from brick-and-mortar to virtual environments; support channels beyond traditional voice such as chat, SMS, email, video, and social media; have coupled multi-channel support with customers’ growing appetite for remote engagement; and have become more efficient at resolving customer issues through heavy use of AI.

There has been an increasing propensity among enterprises to combine contact center and unified communications in a single solution to reflect the move towards improved and more meaningful customer experience. Technology linking agents with subject matter experts (SMEs) has made every employee potentially customer-impacting. In this scenario, agents and SMEs exchange information in a shared space to resolve customer issues. In addition to providing a richer customer experience, pairing unified communications and contact center capabilities can capture intricate details of business operations through sophisticated reporting as well as technology such as AI.

Customer Service Essentials is the latest step in the expansion of RingCentral’s portfolio that has solidified its position in the cloud-based collaboration market. The portfolio has grown beyond the ‘Glip’ chat service to include messaging, video meetings, and phone under the flagship MVP offer as well as team collaboration and contact center capabilities. A separate – but equally significant – component has been generating co-branded offers through the inking of partnerships with vendors ALE, Atos, Avaya, and Mitel, as well as service providers such as AT&T, Telus, and Verizon.

RingCentral has a huge target market

However, Customer Service Essentials is more than just the freshest jewel in RingCentral’s crown. Its greatest significance lies in the size of its target market, the growing importance of contact centers, and a trend among vendors to offer joint contact center and unified communications offers.

The SOHO and SMB markets which Customer Service Essentials is intended for represent a significant opportunity according to statistics recently reported by GlobalData. In total, those markets represent a growing proportion of businesses worldwide. Small businesses in particular are estimated to exceed 30 million in the US and 400 million globally and, according to the World Bank, account for 90% of all businesses and more than 50% of employment. The appeal to RingCentral is plain to see.

Customer Service Essentials provides an avenue for smaller businesses to dip their toe in the contact center waters, and that’s a good thing. However, the offer is not without drawbacks. At its core, the Customer Service Essentials is merely a pricing bundle. In addition, with only a sliver of contact center capability, the offer does not submerge nearly as deeply as those from other vendors such as Cisco, Avaya, and 8×8 (or other offers from RingCentral for that matter) that combine unified communications and contact center capabilities. However, given the size of the target market it is well worth RingCentral’s time and effort to see if Customer Service Essentials will entice customers to dive in headfirst.

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By GlobalData