Comm100, which has been in business since 2009, just formalized its first partner program in September, and has onboarded four new partners, with many more in the pipeline. They are looking to build the channel business to 20 per cent within the next 1-2 years.
Vancouver B.C.-based Comm100, has made an engagement platform for non-voice channels since 2009, and now focuses on the midmarket. They introduced their first partner program in September, and are developing a channel strategy to build up that business. They just announced four new partners, including one that will white label their offering.
Comm100 makes an engagement platform that provides a broad range of non-voice channels, including chat, social media management, knowledge base, and a ticketing solution that lets you manage email.
“We go to market with a few feats of strength,” said Jeff Epstein, VP of product marketing and communications at Comm100. “We have been around since 2009, so we have a mature and robust capability set in the platform, that is deeper, richer and more stable than others in the space. We have always invested heavily in security requirements, and are PCI, HIPAA, GDPR and ISO 27001 certified. Several of our competitors are not either HIPAA compliant or PCI compliant, so they can’t handle health care or payment processing information. We can ask for personally identifiable information in a chat window, and once the chat is closed that data and window disappears forever, and is never stored.”
Epstein also cited Comm100’s High Availability technology as another differentiator.
“Live chat has to be up all the time,” he said. “Our MaximumOn ensures your live chat will never go down, that if the server fails, another will back it up.”
When Comm100 launched in 2009, they had a freemium model and got a lot of small business customers as a result. Things have changed since then.
“The product got more robust, and we went upmarket, and now have six-figure deals,” Epstein said. “Our feature set now puts us in the midmarket. We think that’s an overlooked segment because Artificial Intelligence and chatbots appeal more to the enterprise. We believe that we have a way to make it attractive to the midmarket – by being accessible from a cost perspective and being easy to manage. Our model has a lower barrier to entry because it scales with volume, so if you are a low volume user of chat bots, you don’t pay as much.”
They have a presence in Canada, although it is segmented somewhat.
“Being a SaaS company makes it easy to do business south of the border, but in certain verticals, such as provincial and local government, we have a strong Canadian presence,” Epstein said.
Comm100’s channel formally entered the scene in September, with the launch of the company’s first partner program.
“It was there before, but was unofficial and opportunistic,” Epstein said. “In England, the London Metropolitan Police Force was brought to us by a consultant. What prompted our channel launch was that back in May of this year, we pulled the curtain back on OEM and white label capabilities. OEMs can now drop us into any other cloud-based contact centre solution. With the white labeling, partners can rebrand us as their own. These capabilities were launched in May and that’s when we started to put together the partner program.”
In the short term, the goal is to build up a select number of partners with whom Comm100 works closely, but they do intend to ultimately expand to a more significant number of partners.
“The short-term goals are building a sustaining strategy globally, and getting our name out in the market more,” said Ty Rottare, Director of Global Channels and Ecosystems at Comm100. “The goal long term is to expand. We want to leverage partners to be able to handle integrations.”
The program has three tracks, for resellers, referrals, and white label/OEM partners, with the referral partners being essentially a subset of the resellers, but who lack bandwidth, and who are happy to make the introduction and pick up a commission for that.
“Our goal for reseller partners is to make them fully self-sufficient, so they can find leads and integrate us into their existing technology fold,” Rottare said. “With the white label partners, we want to make sure we support them, but don’t want so many that we lose too much market visibility. This is all still new and we are still in that discovery stage of determining the ideal partner program. Will our best partners be from areas like agencies, marketing or Web development? We are still learning that, and determining which kinds of partners have the best engagement levels and the most success.”
Comm100 just announced the onboarding of four new partners, one of which is a white-label partner. That brings their total number of partners to six.
The white-label partner is YourChatTeam, also based in Vancouver, which provides outsourced lead generation teams for live website chat, and will white-label Comm100’s platform to provider 24/7 international support under the name of Chakap. The other three new partners are all U.S.-based. Interprose, based in the other Vancouver – in Washington – makes debt recovery software and will add the Comm100 platform to streamline digital conversations with customers and agents in order to keep collections simple. Prospect CT-based Worx is a digital marketing agency specializing in branding, which has partnered with Comm100 around their digital projects. Buffalo-based Castel, provides voice analytics for call center solutions through advanced text analysis of chat transcripts.
“Looking ahead, 2019 will deepen our capabilities in other digital channels outside live chat, such as ticketing, SMS, knowledge base, and social media,” Epstein said. “We think that the big promise of AI in the contact centre is to make the agent more productive – not replace the agent – and we will be spending a lot of energy rolling out agent-facing AI technology.”
“On the channel side, we will launch our partner portal,” Rottare said. “We are just making sure all the collateral is there. We are looking to convert new partners at the rate of 3-4 a quarter. We are in discussions with between 25 and 30 now – from mid-size agencies to large companies. We look at our channel business being 20 per cent of our revenues in the next 12 -24 months.”