Video conferencing giant and contact center hopeful, Zoom; recently announced plans to acquire Solvvy in a transaction expected to close in Q2 of the fiscal year 2023.
Though the transaction terms and conditions did not get disclosed, Zoom made a statement with the announcement. Velchamy Sankarlingam, President, Product & Engineering, Zoom, wrote about the move in a recent blog post, which will make Zoom a closer competitor to many that already have long-established contact center solutions.
Many of which had them long before Zoom decided it would enter the world of CCaaS with a cloud-native solution stemming from its contact center ambitions that never fully manifested in the way most assumed they would. All this; is thanks to an unsuccessful takeover attempt by Zoom of cloud contact center provider, Five9.
The move initially received a ton of hype, but stakeholders there (at Five9), were not having it and did not allow the deal to come to fruition, which would have boosted Zoom’s contact center credibility by a long shot thanks to the Five9’s cloud-native approach to the contact center.
In that same blog post: Sankarlingam noted that “We’ve agreed to acquire Solvvy, a leading conversational AI and automation platform for customer support.”
The move is (obviously) meant to bolster its efforts on the CCaaS front, which Zoom has faith that the purchase will help pull off. He further commented on the unique nature of the contact center space, a space that combines two fairly hot-button topics in the world of UC, unified communications itself and CX, otherwise known as customer experience.
“We believe Solvvy will help us achieve that goal,” Sankarlingam summarized.
According to McKinsey, customer experience is the next normal, with 80 percent of companies believing that core business models should get digitized to remain economically viable. Furthermore, according to McKinsey, another more obvious takeaway from the Pandemic – the firm notes:
“Companies that adapt to the various changing needs of customers will recover more rapidly and be better positioned than competitors.”
With this in mind: it appears that Zoom wants others in the contact center sphere to take them seriously, and here is how the pair plan to pull it off in tandem.
Contact Center Catch Up Via Strategic Buyouts
Zoom has long straddled the fine line between the contact center and CX platform, so since it merged the two with its flagship video conferencing platform – it makes a lot more sense and extends a lot more value to customers. Most studies today showcase how much customer intentions have fundamentally shifted, prompting enterprises to increase the level of service offered.
“They now need to deliver exceptional, personalized, and effortless customer experiences,” Sankarlingam added.
Enter Solvvy, a SaaS firm that builds artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based CX technology. The technology enables companies to accelerate their efforts in the contact center.
Zoom still has a lot of work to do to flesh out its CC roadmap (in hopes of creating) what it calls; “a concierge-level experience for customers worldwide.” And Solvvy is poised to bring a lot to the table, namely the use of its proprietary technology set to expand Zoom CCaaS with scalable self-service and conversational AI capabilities.
Zoom even hopes the purchase will drive operational costs and speed up the time it takes to answer queries for customers with high accuracy. And the duo should have little trouble aligning their efforts, as they both focus heavily on scalability, simplicity, and getting the answers to end customers seek in a post-Pandemic world.
With any form of AI, it is (key) to note that the technology will not replace humans: yet merely augment the tasks these folks perform. In this instance, the full scale of possibilities – yet to be unlocked by the duo is promising for the long-term success of Zoom contact center offerings.
Recent findings from Metrigy farther support the notion of AI needing human support:
It will likely be one of the essential components in driving differentiators against the likes of Zoom competitors who have been at this for far longer. The implications are massive, as highly-personalized video-based customer service is on the table once the deal gets realized next year.
There is this; and the fact that Zoom’s recently-launched Zoom CCaaS solution, which is one of the first omnichannel contact center platforms optimized for video. It also comes equipped with voice, SMS, and webchat. All this is available via a single, user-friendly experience soon to get integrated with Solvvy.
With Zoom being late to the CCaaS party, the company is fairly quickly playing what some might call catch up, although Zoom would beg to differ. In a recent interview with Heidi Elmore, Head of Product Marketing, Zoom, Elmore told me that Zoom’s contact center ambitions far pre-date that of the Five9 deal.
According to her, the Zoom Video Engagement Center was the company’s first step into the world of CC, which helped to create the underlying logic that led to what Zoom today calls Zoom CCaaS. This, of course, isn’t the first Zoom acquisition – but it is one of the first poised to help it beef up its newfound CC presence.
Zoom Wants to Pioneer on Several Fronts
Zoom Contact Center, having been born in the cloud, and built for scale makes the (move) make sense for Zoom: and should help customers paint a clearer consumer picture because of advanced conversational AI and the automation of redundant tasks like agents answering the same question from multiple customers.
Though human interaction will almost always remain sought after. In many instances, it is (not necessary) to speak with a human, which is where Zoom figures Solvvy can come into play and help reduce things like the more sizable call volumes companies face during this era of fundamental business change.
The company’s technology can answer multiple queries without (the need) for human intervention, with Solvvy noting when a customer wants to speak with a (live agent) its technology can escalate the matter to an expert who can assist.
In this regard – Zoom is at best an early adaptor, as the concept of video-based contact center interactions is an ingenious one, but Zoom is not the first to pull it off. Companies like Lifesize and Ameyo have done it for some time already. Zoom does, however, hope it will be a pioneer in more niche as well as widespread use cases for the technology.
Today, over 550 million end-users get support from Solvvy, and the company notes; that it has resolved over 50 million issues for those customers. With customers like Calm, Hello Fresh, and Under Armour, the nine-year-old San Mateo, California-based SaaS firm seems to have rightfully earned its spot on the Zoom team.
And from the looks of it – the duo should have no problem introducing a host of innovative fresh solutions that tackle various CX challenges – yet to arise or get addressed by the industry.