Is Talkdesk the CCaaS Unicorn?

Talkdesk are widely talked about, but what’s behind their success?

Is Talkdesk the CCaaS Unicorn?

Talkdesk a contact centre company has gained rather of lot of media attention towards the end of 2018 and at the start of 2019. And it’s not only the media that is interested in the Contact Centre as-a-Service (CCaaS) startup. Talkdesk has now received a further $100m of new funding from Viking Global Investors and existing investor DFJ. Now valued at over $1bn, questions are being asked in the telecoms community as to whether Talkdesk is a CCaaS unicorn.

How did we get here?

Talkdesk has risen to the top of the CCaaS charts by signing enterprises like IBM and DropBox. Whilst DropBox is a nice badge to showcase in your case studies, IBM holds significant value for a market that is currently phasing in levels of artificial intelligence and machine learning into its own industry. IBM, themselves, are known for their expertise in this field. By selecting Talkdesk as their CCaaS provider of choice is certainly something for Talkdesk to shout about.

Coupled with the brands Talkdesk has captured, they are the only CCaaS provider to offer a 100% uptime SLA. And that’s staggering. What’s more, the platform is backed up by a global network that is designed to minimise latency and support optimal call distribution for crystal-clear conversations. Talkdesk even boasts industry leading MOS scores.

100% uptime means the platform has never gone down – not even for a second. During a keynote at Opentalk 2018, Talkdesk CEO and Founder, Tiago Paiva, issued a challenge to the market by offering Talkdesk customers a 100% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA).

So, let us recap for a moment. Here we have a CCaaS platform provider valued at $1bn, offering a 100% SLA and currently powers customer interactions at IBM. If that’s not a CCaaS unicorn, I don’t know what is.

Attention to artificial intelligence

With the contact centre market becoming more mature, with cloud and omni-channel the new norm, standing out often means self-service, artificial intelligence and making non-human interaction as human as possible – or even better than human interaction.

How many times have you been on a web chat to a human and been infuriated because it took so long for them to respond? Chatbots powered by machines and artificial intelligence don’t need to type.

Introducing a chatbot and some artificial intelligence is easy. Any CCaaS provider can do this – and any business can purchase a chatbot. However, Talkdesk recognise the future of the contact centre can only be powered by chatbots if they are perfected. Often, it’s a one time only deal when you introduced a chatbot into a business. If it doesn’t work the first time, agents will lose trust and customers will lose patience.

As a result of this, Talkdesk has committed to doubling its current investment in artificial intelligence.

What are they hiding?

This unicorn story all seems too good to be true. Once you pick apart a CCaaS solution, you usually find a weakness or a sore point that nobody likes to address. When evaluating the Talkdesk solution, it’s broken down into some key components:

  • Voice
  • Outbound Dialler
  • Intelligent Routing
  • Agent Productivity
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Omni-channel – SMS, live chat, email, social messaging and more
  • Workforce Management
  • Voice Analytics
  • Quality Management

These are all backed up by integrations, APIs and SDKs to do more than you can out of the box.

So, it’s all there. There’s no massive feature missing in the omni-channel portfolio. And with significant investment going into artificial intelligence, what is missing today probably isn’t ready for business consumption.

I couldn’t find a caveat to the 100% uptime SLA across the platform. It’s not like 100% only applies to inbound calls from within a 10 mile radius. It’s for the entire platform.

What’s next?

The CCaaS industry is an evolving one. It’s hard to place where we are on the timeline because the future is uncertain. We’ve come a long way from calling in and waiting on hold for half an hour to speak to the wrong person. But, who’s to say we won’t look back and laugh at where we are now in three years’ time? So, the natural question when looking at CCaaS – or any as-a-Service technology – is what’s next?

At the end of February, Talkdesk announced their Winter 19 release. Enterprise Contact Center Winter 19 release will feature four key elements – all designed with customer engagement and employee engagement in mind.

  1. User interface: Talkdesk is constantly streamlining its user experience. If something can be changed to improve productivity, it gets rolled out. This update sees the Talkdesk omni-channel feature toolbar embedded in Callbar, the company’s free-floating agent interface. This makes sure the context of interaction remains with customers as they move from channel to channel
  2. Personalised customer journeys: New capabilities include optimised workflows, multilingual speech-to-text functionality and editing tools for contact centre administrators
  3. Callbar device control: New universal device support protects current device investments and saves the cost of virtual desktops while allowing contact centres to choose from any device
  4. Additional security: As with any enterprise application, security must be a top concern. Enhanced SAML 2.0 support allows access to Talkdesk using any third-party authentication system that is SAML 2.0 compliant. In addition, expanded PCI tools ensure that neither Talkdesk nor the agent has access to credit card information in agent-assisted payments

Lori Stout, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Talkdesk summarised the update:

“Basically, everything we are building at Talkdesk right now is designed to personalise the customer experience and use context to drive the experience that those customers have”

With continual updates, investment in the right areas and a more than credible valuation, Talkdesk stands out in the CCaaS market. Sure, it won’t suit all businesses requirements – but not all contact centres are equal and there is and will never be a one size fits all solution.

As the CCaaS market matures, this little startup created when CEO and Founder Tiago Paiva, entered a Twilio-sponsored hackathon to win a MacBook Air laptop, is doing considerably well. You’ve won more than a MacBook Air, Tiago. You’ve bagged yourself a CCaaS unicorn!


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