RingCentral To Buy Connect First To Bolster Cloud Contact Center Chops


Unified-Communications as-a-Service specialist RingCentral Monday said that it is purchasing cloud-based contact center provider Connect First as the company continues to focus on customer engagement.

The combination will bring together RingCentral's inbound contact center technology with Connect First's technology for outbound and blended customer interactions. This will let businesses better manage call center productivity and responsiveness of agents, while end customers use their preferred form of digital communications channels.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The two companies said they believe the acquisition will close during the first financial quarter of 2019.

[Related:CRN Exclusive: RingCentral Adds MicroCorp To Program Roster In Bid To Capitalize On Channel Momentum]

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"Customer service organizations need to seamlessly blend outbound calling activity with customer callbacks and communications over digital channels,” Jim Dvorkin, senior vice president of customer engagement for Belmont, Calif.-based RingCentral, said in a statement. “The acquisition of Connect First complements our current Customer Engagement portfolio and will provide transformative and differentiated customer experiences. We’re excited to welcome the Connect First team to RingCentral,” he said.

"Customer engagement is a top priority for businesses, and there is immense opportunity for channel partners to think beyond the traditional contact center solutions model,” Zane Long, senior vice president of global channel sales at RingCentral, told CRN in an email. “As we continue to bolster our Customer Engagement portfolio, channel partners can look to RingCentral as the complete cloud solution for today's modern digital workforce, both in enhancing communications and collaboration, as well as improving the customer experience and agent productivity in new ways."

The Connect First cloud platform is built on a micro-services architecture that runs on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Connect First’s functionalities are available through web-based APIs, which can be easily integrated with third-party applications, the Boulder, Colo.-based company said.

“This acquisition validates our technology leadership, and we’re confident that by joining forces with RingCentral we will broaden our market reach and scale to deploy our platform to enterprises worldwide," Geoff Mina, Connect First's founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Connect First has some high-profile midmarket and enterprise customers using its platform, including the ASPCA, Carnival Cruise Line, Party City, PBS and the United Way, as well as several large service providers, including Charter Cable, Comcast and SiriusXM.

RingCentral has been doubling down on the customer experience. In October, the UCaaS provider bought Dimelo, a cloud-based digital customer engagement platform, to bake in more communication channels into its contact center products, including social media, live chat, email and community forums.