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Five9 Executive Interview

Dan Burkland, President, Five9


How are new technologies helping to define customer expectations?

There is an increase in data analytics usage across all areas of business—customer service included. When contact center agents are empowered with analytics tools such as viewing a customer’s past purchase history, they are able to offer much more personalized, predictive service. Consumers are exposed to data throughout the day, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to them when a customer service representative acknowledges details from a previous interaction or the journey that lead them to the agent. Analytics are widely regarded as useful when it comes to efficiency and customer satisfaction. Our inaugural Five9 Customer Service Index found that more than three-fourths of consumer respondents (77 percent) said they are comfortable with a company using their past purchase history and recent behaviors and preferences if it results in a high level of customer service.

How does customer satisfaction tie to revenue growth?

When an individual has a positive customer experience with a business, benefits extend further than the single person’s sale. Our index revealed that 80 percent of consumers are influenced by their friends and peers on where to shop. Furthermore, 91 percent of respondents indicated that a reputation of great customer service is a factor that helps them decide whether they will do business with a company. More than three-fourths (78 percent) said they will not do business with a company if it gives them poor customer service the first time. That translates to lost revenue for a company if they do not stress the importance of providing positive experiences—even if a customer has purchased from a company numerous times before. Each customer touchpoint should be viewed by the customer service agent as an opportunity to make a positive, lasting impression. 

While business decision makers agree that customer satisfaction is a key measure for growth; many customers argue that service is getting worse. What do you attribute this to?

In cases where new customer service technologies are adopted by organizations, but not implemented correctly with the proper training methods, poor service can come as a result. At Five9 we emphasize professional services in order to provide customers with all of the tools they need to build a successful customer relations team. Our approach to implementation is to first define a solution based on business goals and success criteria, to configure that solution, to train staff, to validate that the solution meets business requirements, and to then deploy the solution throughout the organization. After deployment, we continuously fine-tune the solution to deliver optimal results.

Employee satisfaction is a current trend. How is the importance of employee satisfaction viewed by organizations that responded to the survey?

While employee engagement is a trend, the index results show that employee satisfaction is not viewed at the same level of importance to a business model as customer loyalty or customer satisfaction are. In the financial services vertical in particular, 79 percent of respondents said customer satisfaction is “very important,” while only 41 percent said employee satisfaction is. At Five9 we truly believe that if a customer service agent is empowered with the tools they need to be successful, and is enjoying what they do, that translates to ultimately a better customer service. That’s why investing in cloud-based tools that are easy to use and intuitive for the service representative benefit the business not only at the point of customer-agent interaction, but when it comes to the bottom line later on. 

According to CXOs, what are the most important factors when considering new technology?

When considering new technologies to purchase and implement, 80 percent of CXOs surveyed in our index—particularly those who work at large enterprises 1,000+ employees—rated ease of integration into existing business processes as very important. For these large companies, training was also reported as an important consideration. Regardless of size of company, 100 percent of CXOs said that customer service is important to their organization. Obviously, there are many factors to consider when enhancing a business’ customer service approach with innovative technology, but by making customer satisfaction a priority, it can become a revenue enabler for an enterprise.