Have you ever purchased a domain from GoDaddy?
Have you ever purchased business cards from VistaPrints?
Now sell a Phone Number (DID) the same way. Grab the DID and 15 screens of add-ons later, you hit the shopping cart. What add-ons? SMS, email, voicemail, ACD, IVR, video chat, conferencing, et al.
Through this process you help a business owner build a communications system off your platform that will work for her.
Upon examination, Twilio has the functions to do this. They acquired SendGrid to offer email and email marketing. They can do DIDs, toll-free, SMS, IVR (see their book on building an IVR) and now contact center. Twilio just doesn’t make it easy.
Personally I don’t think UCaaS was a mass market service offering. Too many buyers, especially CIOs, like mission critical – or at least customer facing – systems to be in-house (on-premise).
After 15 years and about 15% market penetration, the mass market solution is dial-tone replacement with build your own phone system.
Seth Godin says “that marketing today is about solving your customers’ problems. “We can’t do that with cost savings and product replacement.”
Seth also says, “Making average stuff for average people all the while hoping you can charge more than a commodity price” won’t work. ” It hasn’t. We need to make something magical, like the way you felt when you first used Skype or FaceTime.
“The mass market is no longer important – the edges are what’s most important.” – Seth Godin (from his book, This is Marketing)
In the CRM space, there are thousands of competitors. Plenty of CRMs have gone vertical. There are CRM systems built just for real estate agents, just for e-commerce companies, just for concrete companies. UCaaS could learn from that. UCaaS needs to stop thinking it is as mainstream as POTS – unless it wants to be POTS!
Consider that most folks default to their cell phones for all comms – SMS, WhatsApp, talk, even video calls (FaceTime). Where does that leave a business app? Will it be as stable, secure and smooth as WhatsApp or FaceTime? That’s the Butter.
Why CPaaS now? With Avaya and the other legacy PBX vendors giving up, that leaves cloud comms (pushed as UCaaS). The Baby Bells have given up on copper. POTS lines are between $60 and $110 per month!) The unfortunate thing is that many businesses are just looking for dial-tone replacement with one or two functions. Seats are as low as $15 regularly. This isn’t fun for anyone.
We need to be looking at it like Vonage now is: how do you communicate with your employees, vendors, customers? Do you want to send/receive text or social media? Do you want a chatbot or live agent? What software do you need to integrate with – CRM, practice management, G Suite, etc. How do you want incoming calls to be handled? Do you want a caller to have a rich communication experience whereby the system recognizes the number and asks: “Do you want to speak with Peter again?”
These functions are all available. The buyer isn’t aware of all that is available. All they know is that $20 per seat per month is more than they are paying now – and they don’t own anything!
These are the reasons that CPaaS is the way to go – if done correctly.
Build Your Own Phone System coming soon.