Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Netcall benefits from increased use of online channels

(By Philip Carnelley, 16 Sep 09, 13:00) Solid results were reported today by call centre software provider Netcall. Revenue for FY09 was up 9%, to £3.9m, and PBT up 48% to £755k. Although Netcall is small, its customers are big – they include Citibank, Barclays, HMRC, McAfee and Oracle. Netcall’s business revolves around its QueueBuster product. Where an organization’s business is conducted through online channels, contact centres become the main point of interaction with customers; they need to be run efficiently (not too many staff) but must provide a customer experience that does not alienate. The sales pitch is that QueueBuster addresses that: It facilitates callback, avoiding long periods on hold or searching the website for product/service information. So the shift to increasing proportions of online commerce (and online government) rather than face-to-face interactions has played into Netcall's hands.

Last year Netcall increased sales from outside its core historic customer base of financial services, non-FS business rose from 45% to 58% of business in the year. It also grew overseas sales, up 86% to £505k, around 13% of revenue. Hosted delivery – software as a service – is proving increasingly popular and is now 53% of revenues (up from 49%). Indirect sales (especially through key partners BT and Cable & Wireless) are increasingly important to Netcall: partner sales rose 21% and are now 58% of total revenue. The business is cash-generative: net cash increased 43% in the year, to over £4m. That, together with the appointment back in March of Michael Jackson (exec Chairman of Elderstreet Investments and former Chairman of Sage) as Netcall’s non-exec Chairman indicates that Netcall might be looking for suitable acquisitions to augment its organic growth path in the coming months.

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