In today’s competitive landscape, providing a great customer experience is more important than ever. With countless companies offering the same products within every single industry, there’s really only one way to make your company stand out from the competition: fantastic customer service.
Thankfully, providing the best customer service around has become much easier than it was in the past. Solutions exist today that allow companies to multitask and find the right answers to customers’ questions in a timely manner.
One company working to help businesses in this endeavor is Five9. Five9 is a cloud contact center software provider that wants to “transform contact centers into customer engagement centers of excellence.” To do this, Five9 helps contact centers of all sizes create powerful customer connections.
Luckily for those interested in learning more about how cloud contact center software can help improve the overall customer experience, Five9 will be at ITEXPO this coming February. In fact, the company’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Gavin, will be taking part in two panel discussions. The first panel, titled “Customer Service, Evolved Part I” will be held Friday, February 10, at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, Part II will take place at 10:30 a.m. that same day.
February is still a couple months away, so we decided to catch up with Kevin Gavin beforehand to discuss the customer experience and the importance of collaboration in the workplace. Our full exchange can be read below.
How have technology changes over the past 12 months helped businesses grow?
One of the ways that technology has helped businesses grow is that they now have the ability to use the latest customer interaction tools to improve customer service, which improves customer retention and helps build a positive brand. These tools help companies understand their customers’ needs and ensure a positive experience during every customer interaction. In addition, analytics provide insights that allow businesses to offer services more proactively, and ultimately leave customers more satisfied. For example, with access to purchase and support history, customer service agents have the data to determine the best way to retain customers and grow the business overall.
What does the term ‘Collaboration’ mean to your business?
In the customer service industry, one form of collaboration involves multiple teams working together to best serve the customer. If a customer has a certain problem that one particular department or individual is best able to address, the team collaborates by routing the issue to the subject matter expert in order for the customer to have the best experience possible. Five9 knows it’s important to enable our contact center customers with the right technology and tools to allow them to collaborate internally and ensure happy customers. Another form of collaboration is directly between the customer service agent and the customer. In the past, this interaction usually involved just a voice phone call, but increasingly businesses are collaborating with customers using multiple channels. For example, an interaction might start with a text chat on a website then escalate to a voice call and then it might be helpful to add video or desktop share to make the collaboration more effective.
Are you using messaging technologies to communicate with your customers? How, or why not?
Definitely. Consumers today are becoming more mobile and modern. They often do not want to wait in long hold queues to speak with a representative, so they are turning to website, in-app, and mobile text messaging services. The same goes for business customers. We provide our contact center customers an omnichannel capability that includes messaging as a key component in order to make communication as easy as possible using the channel that the consumer prefers.
How can artificial intelligence best be used in business applications?
Customer service is an area where artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a key role. Customer interactions are becoming increasingly complex, and artificial intelligence and customer journey analytics are now enhancing the customer service process to deliver better customer experiences. Machines are learning patterns and helping businesses provide more personalized and proactive service to customers. It’s also providing agents the information that they need to resolve customer issues quickly. Another area where artificial intelligence is providing value is enabling customer self-service. By leveraging a knowledge base and natural language processing, businesses are able to help customers get answers to basic questions in a simple and convenient way. But, even as AI becomes more capable in customer service, one thing will always remain true – human interactions will still be critical when dealing with complex situations because in customer service empathy is important. This makes it critical to be able to maintain context when an interaction needs to escalate from self-service to a live agent, so the agent can see the history of the interaction and not ask the customer to start from the beginning and repeat what has already been exchanged in the self-service interaction.
To what extent are you leveraging APIs to enhance business opportunities?
Five9 has always been a cloud based provider so it was one of the first to introduce a set of Cloud APIs that use web services to enable advanced software integrations. Whether it’s connecting to marketing, billing, ERP or even proprietary systems, Five9 can integrate into customers’ current processes, often without any custom coding.
To what extent are you using cloud services in your daily business processes?
Five9 is a 100 percent cloud-based contact center provider and we are also cloud-operated company, leveraging cloud SaaS solutions in our daily business processes as much as possible.
Is the cloud / MSP model a realistic one for reliable IT security?
In the contact center category, there was early resistance to moving to the cloud due to concerns about security and reliability. The reality is that a well-managed cloud solution is more secure and reliable because the cloud provider is able to invest more resources and expertise in security and reliability than most individual businesses are able to for their on-premise solutions. Now we are seeing more businesses move to the cloud because they know it is more secure and reliable than their on-premise solution.
How has your business’ product development evolved over the past year as a result of emerging technologies?
Five9 has consistently been on the leading edge of cloud product development leveraging a micro-services based web architecture that supports rapid innovation and great reliability. Recent examples of innovative product development include introducing customer journey analytics allowing our contact center customers to provide proactive and personalized customer service and also supporting a true omnichannel customer interaction model.
What is your session at ITEXPO about and who should plan on attending? Why should this be a must-attend session for the week?
I will be a panelist on Customer Service: Evolved, taking place Friday, 2/10 at 10 a.m. If you are interested in learning about how modern businesses are using their contact center to enhance their customers’ experiences, you should attend to hear insights on customer service trends, suggestions for updating customer service best practices and how businesses can take advantage of, and benefit from, the emergence of the latest advances in cloud contact center solutions.
What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO 2017?
ITEXPO is always a great venue to get exposed to new technology and also to meet with business leaders who are on the cutting edge of innovation. I am looking forward to learning about the latest advances that Five9 can leverage to help drive enhanced customer experience and I’m also looking forward to meeting customers and prospects that are interested in talking about how to improve their contact centers with true omnichannel capability to enhance the service experience they provide to their customers.
Anyone interested in hearing more of Gavin’s insights should REGISTER for ITEXPO, which is being held February 8-10 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.