BT has teamed up with communications supplier Avaya to offer a flexible call-centre service for larger customers.
The companies are targeting the finance and outsourcing sectors, and hope to corner the on-demand market in the UK, Europe and elsewhere by offering a pay-as-you-go service for corporate help desks.
According to Andrew Small, head of contact centres for BT Global services, the two firms plan to offer "flexible call-centre technology so customers will only pay for what they use".
The service is aimed at the market for 750 seats and above, and could even accommodate the largest applications in the 250,000-seat bracket. BT and Avaya will provide both the call-centre equipment and the necessary staff.
BT and Avaya admit to having signed a "multi-year deal", but neither wanted to discuss the financial details or the likely price of the service. "There is no list price," said Small. "Every deal will be different because it will be drawing on different components."
But both sides believe that a hosted call-centre service could prove attractive. "With this solution you have the sophisticated technology for handling calls anywhere in the world and you can deal with them where you need to," said Small. He stressed that a key advantage with the pay-as-you-go model was that organisations would only pay for what they used and would not be forced to pay large amounts up front.
Avaya and BT believe that the pay-as-you go model will help customers work more cost-efficiently. "This can help companies to smooth out the peaks and troughs in their business," said Small. "If you look at the retail market, they have large peaks at seasonal times like Christmas. With this you can gear up your help desk and get staff in from around the company."
Another key advantage is that the call-centre staff don't have to be based in the same place, according to Small. "You can have a very flexible help desk with people working from different offices, from home and so on."