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RingCentral contact center expands with Connect First acquisition

RingCentral's intention to acquire contact center provider Connect First follows a growing trend toward offering cloud contact centers as part of UCaaS environments.

UCaaS vendor RingCentral announced its intent to acquire contact center provider Connect First. The acquisition will add an outbound and customer engagement platform to RingCentral's contact center portfolio.

Based in Boulder, Colo., Connect First's cloud-based customer engagement platform primarily serves midsize enterprises. Its customers include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Carnival Cruise Line, PBS and United Way. Its cloud contact center uses a microservices architecture, and its capabilities are available through web-based APIs for third-party integrations.

RingCentral, based in Belmont, Calif., needed to add support for outbound customer interactions and campaign management, according to Sheila McGee-Smith, president of McGee-Smith Analytics in Amhearst, N.H. Acquiring Connect First gives the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) vendor technology that will complement its existing contact center portfolio.

Connect First's platform includes features that focus on outbound and blended customer experience, including the following:

  • preview, progressive and predictive outbound modes that maximize agent effectiveness;
  • Telephony Consumer Protection Act tools to manage compliance rules and regulations;
  • dynamic agent scripting to guide agents through customer interactions;
  • call blending to manage outbound and inbound interactions; and
  • real-time and historical reporting and analytics.

The acquisition is in keeping with RingCentral's plan to expand its customer engagement services. Last year, it acquired cloud customer engagement platform Dimelo for an undisclosed amount. Dimelo's contact center technology serves as the basis for RingCentral's Engage platform, which manages customer interactions through an AI-based routing engine.

UC and contact centers are meeting in the market

RingCentral isn't the only UC vendor focused on bringing the contact center into the cloud. As enterprises seek tighter integration between communications and contact center infrastructure, it makes more sense for providers to add contact centers to their cloud offerings.

Other vendors, such as Avaya, 8x8 Inc. and Vonage, have also adopted contact centers as a service as a way to remain competitive with contact center providers, while offering customers a unified customer engagement experience.

Upon completion of the merger, RingCentral's customer engagement portfolio will include RingCentral Contact Center for inbound communications, RingCentral Engage for customer engagement, and Connect First for outbound and blended customer contact.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

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