At Call Center Week in Las Vegas Five9 officially launched the Summer Release of its core cloud-based contact center offering. The suite of offerings reflects the very aggressive approach the Five9 product development and marketing staff has taken toward integrating internally developed capabilities with those that had already been baked into SoCoCare’s platform at the time of acquisition last October. Speed was of the essence to maintain product differentiation and continue the revenue growth trajectory established in the months prior to the companies initial public offering (IPO).
In the very competitive market for multi-channel and omnichannel contact center resources, Five9 has done an admirable job of accomplishing its goal of “smart simplicity.” A new Multichannel Agent Desktop has a number of tools to make it simple for agents to carry out conversations or interactions with individuals through spoken or typed input over the phone, mobile SMS, email, chat or all of the above. Admittedly, only a small fraction of the employees of today’s contact centers are the so-called “super-agents” with the ability to fluidly toggle from one mode or channel to another; but Five9’s executives tell us that they are seeing RFPs from contact center operators of all sizes that make “cross channel and multichannel” support a requirement.
In response to this demanding market, Five9’s has stepped up the pace of integration and innovation while making many of the most complex processes simple to deploy and simple for both agents and managers to use. Under the covers, a home-grown (well SoCoCare-developed) Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine plays a key rule in understanding multiple text channels – spanning social, e-mail, chat and customer forums. It is able to cluster business issues, identify trends and analyze sentiment of text input, distinguishing between persistent issues (such as billing or product set-up) from unanticipated issues (often trending or crescendo-ing) that would indicate a problem that requires more immediate intervention or attention.
Understanding for meaning and context are used by an integrated rules engine to govern the treatment of each conversation or interaction, including those that involve self-service. Here is where managers can define the “triggers” that govern the next action to be taken. For instance a testy tweet or post that has been festering for a few hours may automatically cause a script to be forwarded to a specific agent along with a script that marches him or her through the process of resolving the problem.
The next wrung in the resource ladder are the agent tools that support incident resolution. Rules govern the prompts on self-service and intelligent routing of messages or conversations to the “right” agent, as well as suggesting the “next-best action by an agent or the most appropriate search results. This is how the smarts of the system keep things simple for the agents. Their desktops display a number of conversations – over a number of communications channels – simultaneously and enables them to “lock” into selected ones so that other agents can’t step in until they are resolved. Supervisors can define how many chats an agent can handle simultaneously; ditto for social media posts and other forms of messaging. All in the name of simplicity.
The Summer Release represents the first phase of Five9’s announced evolution, incorporating significant steps in the user interface integration (for agents, supervisors and customers) as well as a giant leap in native multichannel support. Phase 2, which will be completed in the second half of 2014 will introduce a “Multi-channel universal queue” and “suite wide NLP and business rules.” In effect bringing voice-based communications, which has leaned heavily on the old-guard methods involving DNIS (dialed numbers) for routing and ANI (callerID) as the basis for user identification to govern call treatment and CRM look-ups. Still, this first phase is a signficant step forward.