Call Center On Demand Featured Articles

Five9 VP Talks 2014 and Beyond

December 29, 2014

By Maurice Nagle,
TMCnet Web Editor

2014 was an exciting year in the call center. Developing the omnichannel experience to enhance the customer experience, cloud adoption and auotdialer legislation were a few themes we saw developed in the year that was; 2015 is poised to be another innovative and interesting year in the call center space. Liz Osborn, Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing at Five9 (News - Alert) walked TMC through 2014 and what may be in store for 2015.

Looking back at 2014, can you highlight some of the most important advancements or trends that emerged in the market you serve?  What were the key trends that impacted your business?  

2014 was monumental in that we started to see companies offer their customers a truly omnichannel experience. Companies recognize the need behind a seamless omnichannel experience, and in 2014 businesses began investing in the technology needed to provide a superior customer experience. By adopting this technology, and integrating with pre-existing applications such as CRM solutions, enterprises are able to offer a new level of integrated service. 

Recent legislation such as the Telephony Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has forced outbound contact center solutions to provide viable, compliant tools that enable enterprises to dial customers confidently.

Additionally, Five9 saw the continued adoption of cloud technology in the contact center industry. Companies continue to shift their on-premise legacy contact center systems to the cloud for increased flexibility, scalability and ease of use.

What were your company’s biggest achievements/ announcements in the past year?  Tell me a little about any new products that came out this year, why you released/highlighted them, why they help customers, etc. Awards, Company News, Events

In 2014, Five9 experienced a number of significant milestones, starting with an initial public offering raising $70 million on April 4, 2014. It also announced its new multichannel solution with its Summer Release 2014. This release included; native multichannel applications that support social, mobile, chat and email interactions, a unique intelligent technology layer called Five9 Connect, and new applications and enhancements that enable supervisors to more effectively manage voice as well as cross-channel performance. In the Fall Release, 2014 Five9 unveiled its new TCPA Manual Touch Mode option that gives companies the tools they need to stay compliant with TCPA.

Five9 also revealed compelling research results including; 60 percent of companies are not formally supporting social customer care because they don’t feel they have the right resources or tools in place, 97 percent of U.S. adults don’t know the difference between CRM and contact center software. Five9 also investigated TCPA compliance and consumer responses to telemarketing calls.  Nearly a third of those polled (31 percent) would part with alcohol, 21 percent would give up coffee, 20 percent would go without chocolate, and 13 percent would abstain from sex to avoid a call from a telemarketer on their mobile phone. Drastic! A mere 4 percent say they would give up Internet for a month to avoid that dreaded call.

In 2014, Five9 received six company awards; the PACE Customer Experience Excellence Award, San Francisco Business Times Fastest Growing Private Companies, Inc. Magazine List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, CRM Excellence Award, Deloitte Technology Fast 500, an honoree for Social Business and CRM Watchlist honorary mention.

We started this year in an economic recession, it seems like were now pulling out of that, what are your thoughts?

Fueled by widespread adoption of cloud technology, Five9 has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Additionally, as the recession rescinds we are seeing more and more small businesses open their doors, and seeing incredible growth. Companies of all size can benefit from a cloud contact center solution. And companies can now use company growth to drive an increase in call center size. Depending on need, Five9 customers can scale up quickly to accommodate company growth and need.

What are you planning for 2015? Anything new products, Events etc. that you are excited about and can tease us with?

Five9 will continue to expand on its multichannel product, offering new features and applications that will ultimately improve the final customer experience. Five9 also plans to attend a number of industry leading events such as; Enterprise Connect (News - Alert), IQPC Call Center Week, and Dreamforce.

Five9 will also host a three city roadshow tour in May and June, taking Five9 representatives and partners on the road to meet with current customers and discuss recent company and product updates. Attendees will hear tips, tricks and best practices for how to optimize their contact center investments.

Do you have any predictions on the market for the upcoming year? What might surprise us, what will we be seeing more of in your opinion?

Some Five9 predictions include: more intelligent channel blending capabilities, gamification will make it to the contact center, and predictive analytics and intelligent agent assistance tools, such as next best action recommendations will pave the way for increased consumer retention and sentiment

  • More intelligent channel blending capabilities (aka omnichannel or cross channel)

Today’s consumer uses more than one “channel” when engaging with companies.  For example, a consumer may send an email to a company and before it is answered they initiate an online chat with an agent and then they follow up later via a mobile app. Consumers expect companies to have an institutional memory across every communication channel and touch point. This requires intelligent technology to provide the context of the interaction, along with the customer profile, preferences and relevant history. And, it requires one integrated system with the ability to track and support email, chat, mobile transactions, self-service, and live agent conversations. In 2015 we expect software vendors to deliver more capabilities and features that support intelligent channel blending to help brands meet consumers on their various channels of choice with the context and information necessary to serve them.

  • Gamification makes it to the contact center

In 2015, expect gamification to finally make it to the agent desktop. Gamification has become increasingly popular in software development because of its app-like feel and the rising numbers of Millenials now in the workforce using business applications. This is finally bleeding over into the contact center as more Millenials become agents and require a different kind of management, as well as technology. By modeling contact center applications after recognizable consumer games such as Farmville and Candy Crush, companies are better able to onboard, train, motivate, manage and retain young agents.

  • Big data paves the way for increased customer retention and sentiment

Companies will begin to step it up in 2015 and move beyond traditional customer service. For years, proactive customer care has been discussed with enthusiasm, but few have implemented it. In the era of big data, agents are provided with copious amounts of customer information. As we enter into 2015, contact centers will start to better understand what to do with it. Big data is key in identifying behavioral patterns. Using tools like Hadoop for natural language processing engines and advance search, both live agents and self-service applications will be able to proactively offer customers answers and the information they need. Natural language processing will also allow companies to determine customers’ sentiment in order to match them up with agents who have the appropriate skills. In addition, agents will be able to access a snapshot or timeline of the customer’s journey. This will ultimately help with customer retention in 2015 as companies begin to truly put the customer experience first.

For more on all the latest technology and trends happenings, be sure to register to attend ITEXPO, the business technology event that brings together service providers, enterprises, government agencies, resellers, vendors and developers to demo, discuss and network all the latest innovations changing the marketplace. ITEXPO (News - Alert) is being held January 27-30, 2015, at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida.   Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter

Edited by Maurice Nagle