Contact Center Solutions Provider Contactual Launches Authorized Reseller Program

Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

Contact Center Solutions Provider Contactual Launches Authorized Reseller Program

Contactual has launched a new reseller program to help it attract new domestic and international partners who in turn will be able to quickly and easily distribute its innovative hosted contact center solutions to their customers all over the world.

The company has already formed tight partnerships with leading IVR and CRM providers (including NetSuite and Salesforce) for product integration, joint marketing and contact center product licensing; as well as with service providers (including NEC Business Solutions, Australia, and Qwest) to develop joint-marketing and product solutions that create value-added solution enhancements for existing XSP products, as well as new revenue streams for XSP businesses. It has also forged important partnerships with major companies in Japan and Australia which are hosting its comprehensive on-demand contact center solution and selling it on their own.

Now, Contactual has launched a new Authorized Reseller Program to further expand its global reach.

One of the first companies to join Contactual’s new reseller program is BayanTrade, a leading knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) company in the APAC region. According to BayanTrade’s president and CEO, Dante Briones, joining the new program has enabled the company to “deliver the benefits of high impact, customer interaction management solutions to our customers and clients.”

In a recent interview with TMCnet, Mansour Salame, CEO of Contactual, said BayanTrade is one of about 10 companies which have already signed up for the new partner program.

“There’s a bunch of other ones that we’ve signed up so far – and we’re closing three more by the end of June,” Salame said. “So we’re signing up about two to three distributors a month – and lot of them are international companies. It’s a really good play for us because we can leverage our infrastructure internationally, without having people to worry about – you know the old model of ‘hey, how many licenses and hardware do I need from you to resell in the Philippines?’”

“The thing with BayanTrade is, they’re leveraging the Internet, they’re leveraging our servers here, and they’re leveraging our software, so it’s a very efficient model – much more efficient than the traditional on-premise call center technology model,” Salame added. “If we were on on-premise technology company, at the stage we’re at, we probably would not be playing in the Philippines – we couldn’t afford it – whereas now [with the hosted model] we can sign up anyone, with very little thought, and get that reach.”

As Salame explained, Contactual’s reseller program is unique in that it is much less restrictive, in terms of who can join, plus it enables resellers to start selling the software immediately, so they can start gaining from the benefits of partner status without having top put up a lot of cash up-front.

“If you look at Avaya, or any of these other call center companies, you see a very limited engagement where Avaya would be providing the technology to the partner, and the partner would be going into the market making the investments and level 2 support while at the same time supporting the product,” Salame said. “This is a much different model.”

David Sohm, president & COO of Contactual, said what really distinguishes the reseller program from others is the fact that there are “fewer hurdles to jump” in order to join. In other words, the program is much more “partner friendly.”

“One of the key things is, the ‘buy-in’ is quite easy to join the program,” Sohm said during the interview. “There isn’t a slew of partner fees and you don’t have to fly here and spend a week in our training center, or anything along those lines.”

Sohm said the reseller program is very flexible in that it allows partners to start out with a simplr model whereine they simply supply sales leads – all the way up to them distributing the software on a “white label” or privately-branded basis.

“We have a variety of levels in the program - so a partner can start out by just referring leads to us, based on knowledge of what we do, and then grow in the program as their knowledge of our application grows,” Sohm said. “So they can step all the way up to a private branded service, which we could do for them, if they like. That means a partner can start at whatever level is convenient – or whatever commitment level they want to make. Later, they can take on the responsibility of representing the product and closing the orders – and we’ll handle the on-going back-end support and implementation. And if their professional services group or support group wants to step up into that – they can do that as well.”

“I know that with some other company programs out there, they’ll tell you ‘we’ll take title to the thing before it passes on - we’ll handle the implementation - and we’ll handle the first, second and third level technical calls,’ and boy the investment for getting started in that type of program can be quite a lot,” he added.

Sohm said the new partner program is very flexible and can be tailored for different types of partners.

“For example, for a telephony carrier or a hosted IP-PBX carrier we can provide a SIP trunking connection between their PBX switch and our switches - so we can really tightly integrate the telephony flow as well, if we’re moving to somebody who is in that category of partner,” he said. “But if it somebody who is a systems integrator, or a reseller of long distance, that has the customer relationship - and the customer has a need for a contact center - it is very, very simple to get started on the Contactual-branded service.”

Sohm added that Contactual has multiple partners that are in the private label category right now – including some of its partners in Japan and Australia.

“These partners are hosting our application themselves,” he said. “They’re taking our technology, building out their own hosting centers and operating them by themselves. So they’re really at the high end of our partner program.”

He said in total the company has about 25-30 partners, ranging from ones “which take our technology and operate the environment themselves - to the ones that are in the reseller category – to the ones which we would call outsourcers (companies which provide outsourced call center and help desk/order desk services). That’s a great part of our partner program because they can scale up and scale down very quickly based on the requirements of their customers.”

Contactual’s OnDemand Contact Center is an all-IP solution featuring interactive voice response (IVR), skills-based routing, call monitoring, historical reporting and multimedia capabilities, among other features. The solution offers quick and easy integration with the leading on-demand CRM software packages – including and NetSuite. Additionally, it comes integrated with Footprints, an award-winning help desk automation solution from Unipress Software.

OnDemand Contact Center’s “multi-media queue” is fully customizable and therefore enables you to quickly route customers to the most appropriately skilled agents, reducing the number of times the customers are transferred. The software also sports a customizable reporting function, as well as call monitoring and SLA management. Thus it enables you to consistently meet the service levels you desire for your customers.

Because it is a hosted solution, Contactual’s OnDemand Contact Center let’s you get up and running in as little as six hours. There is no required hardware or software, nor will you need a technical team to set up the system and then help you run your call center. Facilitating the quick and easy set-up process is Contactual’s hands-on “JumpStart” training program.

Another huge advantage of this hosted solution is that you only pay for the seats you need – based on the amount of time per seat. In this sense, the service works much like a utility. Furthermore, the service is highly scalable and therefore can grow with your company. This flexible model lets you start small and grow as fast as you are able. Best of all, no capital expenditure is required, thus you can simply trial the applications with very little risk.

Another key selling point for this hosted solution is that it enables you to “virtualize” your call center through the Web. That means not only does it let you manage multiple contact centers which are spread out in different locations from one central point of control, it also lets you deploy at-home agents, which is one of the hottest new trends on contact center right now. Reagrdless of where your agents are located, they will be able to have all contacts – phone, email and Web chat – routed to them quickly and efficiently.

On the security side, Contactual uses professional data center facilities, encryption protocols, and world-class security procedures to provide the highest security levels possible. In fact, the company claims its security measures actually protect data better than most on-premise solutions. Naturally, Contactual offers full, round-the-clock support for its solutions. In addition, the company offers a money back guarantee, should it fail to meet its Service Level Agreements.

“Through the Contactual Authorized Reseller Program, we are committed to sharing our technology and know-how with our partners to deliver our award winning product to the market,” Salame said. “We believe that combining the respective strengths of Contactual and our partners such as BayanTrade, will give our end users the freedom of acquiring the Contactual OnDemand Contact Center through their preferred channels.”

Contactual made news on TMCnet earlier this month when it announced its latest product offering, Contactual Desktop Sharing. The new product offers remote support for clients and places agents in a position of power to address, fix and share information, among other possibilities, remotely. As such, Desktop Sharing further improves the interaction between agents and customers. With this new software, agents can not only improve the customer experience, but also increase sales and technical support.

Contactual is a winner of the Frost & Sullivan 2005 Global Excellence in Technology Award, TMC Labs’ Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine 2005 Innovation Award, and a berth in the 2006 Red Herring 100 North America list of the top 100 privately held technology firms.

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1 Comment

Though partner programs are not notorious for providing as many benefits as previously for solution providers because of changes in the IT industry (and a focus going away from certifications and products and towards total business solutions separate from specific products), they can still offer some good support services and networking tools. Many partner programs from major and less major companies also seem to be changing to provide easier access to resources and also better suit the needs of those involved with not only huge businesses but also some small- and medium-sized businesses.

I offer tools for consultants in the form of my Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course with templates and other resources to help them get more out of their businesses. Thanks for offering this information about a partner program that is helping solution providers stay better in touch with the industry.

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