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August 17, 2016

Call Center Software Giant Five9 Gets Smart on Customer Journey

Summer Release to bring sophisticated customer journey analytics to cloud contact center platform.

During a recent consultation, a health care client asked if businesses are having issues with limited access to new features because more and more development relates to cloud solutions call center software. I responded that we haven't yet begun to see a lack of new features for premises-based solutions, but likely would over the next year or two. Many vendors, I went on to say, are still building out cloud solutions with an initial goal of feature parity.

But with the capabilities Five9 added in the Summer Release 2016 package announced today, the era of cloud leapfrogging customer-premises applications may have just begun. Specifically, call center software giant Five9 is delivering sophisticated customer journey analytics to its multi-tenant cloud contact center platform.

Here's a highlight several of the new features.

  1. Five9 Proactive Engagement: The Holy Grail for companies wanting to track a customer's journey is the ability to gather and analyze Web activity and not just the calls/emails/chats most contact center applications more directly manage. With a new Web engagement add-on to the agent license, a company can add a JavaScript SDK snippet to its website for use in tracking customer activity on the site.

  2. The agent desktop includes a view of the activities that a customer has taken on the company website. In this case, the customer entered the website, read a blog, and then moved to a page describing the benefits of product registration. Five9 provides this view using OEM technology from Altocloud.

  3. Integration to other cloud-based applications, such as the ecommerce platform Magento, allows the company to identify Kate Young's persona, a VP-level corporate buyer with a minimum spend. Rules-based analytics identify her as a prospect worthy of proactive engagement.

  4. A real-time clock shows how much time has passed since Kate received an offer to chat. Note that as Kate continues to interact with the site, including perhaps conducting an unsuccessful search, her customer journey activity will update in real time.

Highlighting how enhanced omnichannel capabilities in the release allow for easy escalation from one channel to another, in this case from proactive chat to video.

  1. Via text, the agent sends a link the customer, Kate, can click on to establish a two-way video chat. The agent can then highlight for Kate where, for example, a registration number is located. (Shout out to Jim Hickey, Five9 VP of product strategy and innovation, whose laptop we used during the video demo.)

  2. The agent can establish video or video and voice calls via WebRTC; for this capability, Five9 has integrated OEM technology from SightCall.

  3. Also available to the agent is customer sentiment information based on natural language processing of the chat text. For this, Five9 uses technology from SoSoCoCare, a company it acquired in 2013.

During my briefing, I asked Gaurav Passi, Five9 VP of products and engineering, how many customers he anticipated would be using the new customer journey or video capabilities by year's end. He quite honestly replied that he didn't think any companies would be using them in a production environment that quickly. Rather, he said, Five9 will begin educating customers on the new functionality at user conferences it is holding next month in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and that it expects to do a number of alpha and beta trials in 2016.

Asked whether Five9 will require new talent to provide the required professional services, Passi explained that the company will work with Altocloud to implement the first five to 10 customers. Five9 teams will shadow Altocloud to learn the required skills.

When competitors talk about Five9, they sometimes attempt to downplay the company's solution, describing it as one only in use within small call centers. While this characterization hasn't been true for years, this release should help Five9 up its game even further.