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Five9 Outlines Voice Technologies Roadmap at CX Summit 2021
Five9’s CX Summit for 2021 hosted a wide variety of events and interactive sessions that explored best practices for using Five9 as well as an outline of Five9’s roadmap for the coming year. Of special focus was Five9’s projected investments in voice technologies for the contact center.
Of course, the Summit arrived on the back of Zoom’s announcement of intent to acquire Five9, building on the companies’ close strategic partnership. In the opening keynote, Five9 CEO Rowan Trollope spoke to the benefits of Five9 being acquired by Zoom: namely, the creation of a complete omnichannel engagement platform, combining Zoom’s highly popular voice and video solution with Five9’s best-in-class CCaaS features. The acquisition (if it goes ahead) would create an industry-shaking product, solidifying trends in the market that are seeing vendors bring together communication, collaboration, contact center, and customer experience solutions within a single platform. As the acquisition is yet to be finalized, a safe harbor surrounded any further conversation on Zoom’s takeover.
Beyond Zoom, the key message Trollope stressed for Five9’s future was the company’s investments in voice technologies. The emphasis on providing multichannel options for customers in the contact center marketspace, Trollope argued, has left voice behind – an industry mistake, given voice is still the predominant channel customers prefer to receive service on. To this end, Five9 highlighted three key investments:
- Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs)
- Conversational AI
- VoiceStream (officially released on September 15)
The future of voice platform digitization, therefore, ties closely with advances in AI-driven automation, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Five9’s data showed that 71% of contact centers thought that intelligent self-service automation helped them remain agile, with 76% agreeing that automating customer support tasks would benefit their workforce.
VoiceStream, especially, brings voice and automation together for a variety of high-value use cases. VoiceStream uses RESTful APIs to integrate and stream agent/caller audio in real time to other applications. This enables real-time speech analytics (such as sentiment analysis), authentication via speech biometrics, and agent assistance. Launch partners for VoiceStream include Cogito, CallMiner, Voci, ValidSoft, and XSell.
The elephant in the room for Five9’s CX Summit was, of course, the Zoom acquisition. With intrigue even higher now that Five9’s shareholders are being encouraged to reject the acquisition by advisory firm ISS, the inability to delve deeper due to safe harbor rulings means that we await Five9’s eventual decision at the end of September. (It is worth noting that no further information was provided at the mid-September Zoomtopia conference, either.)
Otherwise, Five9 has an exciting year ahead with its focus on voice technologies and remains a popular CCaaS solution, according to SoftwareReviews’ data. Five9 is right to recognize that voice is not diminishing as customers’ preferred channel for service; given that, it is sensible to focus on optimizing this channel, rather than risk opportunity costs with equalizing resources across multiple channels. Affording options for omnichannel experiences is important to customer satisfaction, but enhancing voice as the most popular channel (through VoiceStream or otherwise) will provide value across a variety of use cases.
Source: SoftwareReviews' Five9 Product Scorecard. Accessed September 20, 2021.
As always, organizations should monitor which channels their target audiences find most popular; investing in a particular channel (e.g. a chatbot or video) without a requirements gathering investigation will result in low ROI if your target audience has little desire to interact through that channel. Building customer personas and segmenting by demographic will help define which channels are right for your organization. Explore Info-Tech’s Build a Strong Technology Foundation for Customer Experience Management to start creating a library of customer personas to influence your customer experience strategy.
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