A Little Five9 Contact Center Nostalgia
Call me nostalgic, but I have fond memories of 2010. I was responsible for launching a Contact Center and marketing campaigns for Vonage, Geico, Disney, ADT, and hundreds of others back then. I lived and breathed contact center, and I dare admit that a significant portion of my responsibility was outbound dialing. (Yes there are legitimate reasons to perform outbound dialing *grins*). It was during this period of my career that I became somewhat of an expert on many outbound dialing solutions — some technologies that are no longer around today and some that have emerged as pre-eminent cloud products. I was reflecting upon some of the products we used back then: Interactive Intelligence, VocalCom, Altitude, Connexsus, ViciDial, and Five9 Contact Center (Call Center back then), to name a few of them. This was the time when “Cloud” had not yet come of age, but companies were eagerly toiling to get their solutions to work consistently.
Our best agents always worked on the pilot projects of testing the next best dialer. We were trying to determine which solution would enable us to gain even a few basis points of efficiency or could help us to extract an additional sale here or another appointment there. Leveraging the skills of our veteran agents took much of the variability out of the process so that we could know which product was working best in comparison to our benchmarking standards. I remember that once we introduced Five9 into the Center, it immediately was welcomed by the senior agents and it had solid dialing functionality. The sales pros loved it. I don’t believe the Five9 dialer ever left the call centers after being put into production, as long as we had campaigns to dial. The reporting was a little lackluster back then. The product was reasonably stable but not entirely so. What a difference nearly ten years makes.
An Interview With Five9 CTO On Their Contact Center Strategy
Six months ago, I was fortunate to have a 30-minute sit-down meeting with the CTO and Head of AI at Five9, Jonathan Rosenberg. Jonathan’s background is truly humbling. He was co-inventor of SIP and related technologies (ICE, STUN, SIMPLE, SDP) and a Technology Leader at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for starters. What I was most impressed with, though, were his answers to my litany of contact center questions. Let’s face it, contact center wasn’t exactly his background, but he acknowledged that point and his responses were impressive despite that fact. We talked at length about the direction of the Five9 solution. We talked about the unique Salesforce integrations they were launching to help differentiate from their competitors. We discussed their strong Microsoft Teams roadmap. He opined on the position of being Unified Communications independent. Today they are strategically partnered with companies such as Zoom for UC. Jonathan provided insight into their perspectives of being Workforce Engagement Management agnostic. With every response by Jonathan, my confidence in Five9’s future grew. We discussed Artificial Intelligence and how, when appropriately employed, it should empower the agent to be more effective, increasing agent satisfaction and directly correlating with a positive impact on customer satisfaction. Customer Experience is squarely in the Five9 Contact Center Genius crosshairs I thought. As a result of this meeting, the technologist in me was relieved and comforted. The contact center industry analyst in me was thrilled. The consultant in me gained deep insights.
Five9 Partnership With Microsoft
Just last month a Microsoft partnership was announced. This relationship will enable deep collaboration between the two organizations regarding Microsoft Teams integration, as well as other technology. I can’t overemphasize how huge an impact this will have in the marketplace. I posted an article last month from Yahoo Finance where they stated that Five9 stock was up 29% over the previous 30 days — a time frame in which the S&P 500 fell more than 2%. I’m not surprised.
Five9 CX Summit
A LOT has changed in the contact center industry in the last ten years. Some of the providers I mentioned initially were acquired, no longer exist, or aren’t profitable. Five9, however, has blossomed from its solid pedigree into a stable, cloud-first and enterprise-capable industry darling. The company has come of age, and some of the new leadership has inspired a heightened awareness around Customer Experience (CX). Customer Experience is now the Prima Ballerina in the contact center ballet and has lovingly taken center stage. At the Five9 CX Summit, I’ll be speaking on a panel titled “Transform Customer Experience into Customer Loyalty & Love.” As I look forward to the Five9 CX Summit I’m about to attend, I find myself looking back and analyzing where and when Five9 and I first “shared the love.” Ten years later, I’m feeling a little nostalgic.