Genesys is the latest vendor to branch out beyond the traditional contact center and customer service space, moving to add value across much more of the customer journey (like marketing and sales) and, in many ways, pushing into territory more traditionally owned by CRM players.
Last week, Genesys announced its acquisitions of Pointillist and Exceed.ai and by doing so inherited tools for customer journey and data unification and analytics, plus conversational AI chops in sales and marketing. Genesys is not alone with this move. NICE announced its CXi framework for end-to-end customer experiences, and Twilio recently announced its Engage marketing platform. At the same time, CRM players like Salesforce are providing data unification and analytics for conversations to attack this same opportunity.
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More than a decade ago, Genesys attempted to expand its market beyond the contact center to the CMO organization, but that never really gained traction. And it’s not just Genesys — several vendors in the contact center space have tried expanding beyond customer service with little to no success due to a lack of support for the requisite full feature set needed to appeal to marketing tech decision-makers.
So, What’s Different Today?
- The contact center will no longer be just about customer service. Digital-first brings the stages of the prepurchase, purchase, and post-purchase closer together, and this has accelerated due to the pandemic. Buying motions are shifting. If a customer asks a web chat agent about a product before purchasing, is that customer service or is that marketing? According to Forrester’s The CX Professional’s Guide To Working With Contact Center Technologies And Leaders, “Contact center teams help customers during all stages of the customer lifecycle.”
- The contact center will be better recognized as the treasure trove of data it really is. Most enterprises have kept their contact centers separate from the rest of their customer experiences. This is a significant mistake, as AI and other innovative technologies open up access to a rich set of customer interaction data that has sat idle for the past decade. Contact centers are the home of direct, unvarnished customer feedback that is rarely mined by any organization: “Contact center teams hear firsthand how customers perceive their interactions with your brand. Every interaction — whether a call, text, chat, or email — is tracked, recorded, and archived.” Every day, customers tell contact center agents exactly what they think about their company. And now, every customer conversation, via voice or digital channel, can be recorded, transcribed, and analyzed with AI. The insight available in these conversations is incalculable.
- New levels of personalization for ads, for sales, and for support will come. Customer interaction data, while available today for the most part, goes untapped per our Q2 2020 State Of VoC And CX Measurement Programs Survey: Eighty-nine percent of voice-of-the-customer (VoC) or customer experience (CX) measurement programs capture feedback from email surveys, while just 30% leverage contact center recordings. The intelligent use of customer data is the difference between an ad for a product you just bought and an ad for the next logical thing you need. This data makes it possible for companies to anticipate a customer call and proactively send notifications before the customer can even think to call.
Branching into marketing moves Genesys into a new space that is parallel to CRM but with a different spin that can provide companies with a new level of insight into their customers. This will open up new opportunities to provide smarter and more personalized ads, sales, and service offerings.
Genesys is at the beginning of its journey (as is NICE and Twilio) in building out these offerings into mature products, but its vision is a strong one that can add value for enterprises. However, there’s a long road ahead for the vendor, as it will take time to round out a comprehensive portfolio of adjunct solutions that will enable Genesys to successfully straddle multiple parts of the customer lifecycle. It does seem, though, that it is on the right path, as the vendor is “creating and stimulating different conversations,” according to Tony Bates, CEO of Genesys.