More than a year after entering the CCaaS race, Zoom now has a robust solution: one with a lot to offer platform users. There is video customer support, which is not usual but could be helpful given certain situations.
For instance, if a determination needs to (be made) on whether or not a product is damaged and qualifies to get sent back in for repair under warranty: escalating a 'normal' phone interaction with an agent to a video call could be handy.
Now, the solution supports sending outbound SMS messages and advanced analytics functionalities like viewing and monitoring active and completed engagements. There is even a Microsoft Dynamics 365 integration and more - giving it that label of a robust offering: as stated earlier.
Now, Zoom says it will place more intent into inserting artificial intelligence into the platform - via a recent partnership and investment with Anthropic, an AI safety and research startup. A startup; that says they are working to build what Zoom calls "reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems."
That is where the newly minted alliance with Anthropic comes into play, as Zoom will integrate with the AI startup’s AI-fueled assistant, Claude. It is to be integrated (fully) into the Zoom platform - from team chat to meetings and Zoom Phone; to whiteboarding and Zoom IQ, but it will begin with Zoom’ contact center offering.
Not Zoom's First Dive into AI for its Platform
In fact, over the past year, Zoom has launched various features for Zoom IQ - what Zoom calls its "next-gen AI smart companion."
Zoom IQ now features 'smart' meeting recordings, which allow users to quickly access any pertinent meeting information needed through "chapters," recording highlights, and action items. It also further established Zoom IQ for Sales back in 2022, a solution that leveraged conversational intelligence to capture insights from customer interactions with enhancing that overall experience.
But Zoom leadership says that is all just the beginning, writing in a statement: "We’re evolving the capabilities of Zoom IQ to become a smart companion that empowers collaboration and unlocks people’s potential by summarizing chat threads, organizing ideas, drafting content for chats, emails, and whiteboard sessions, creating meeting agendas, and more."
With the partnership, Zoom says it can better serve customers - by leveraging its proprietary AI models. All that, alongside Anthropic technology and select customer models.
"With this flexibility to incorporate multiple models, Zoom can provide the most value for the diverse needs of customers: and we can customize said models to perform better for a customer, based on their specific business needs," Zoom wrote in a statement.
Zoom furthermore plans to incorporate the AI assistant into its overall contact center portfolio, effectively enhancing offerings like the Zoom Virtual Agent, Zoom Contact Center, and Zoom Workforce Management.
According to Zoom, its goal here; is to: intelligently guide customers to the best resolution. They also note that they hope to help agents and management to surface actionable insights that "managers can use to coach their agents and improve productivity by providing a unified communications and contact center experience."
And much like folks such as Five9 have done - Zoom wrote that it said that it plans to (soon) use AI to provide "the right resources to agents," looking to (greatly) enhance said customer and agent experiences.
Further Investments and Simpler AI
The global investment arm of Zoom Ventures, which has invested in the likes of Cresta, Oneseve.AI, ThetaLake, DTEN, Genesys, Hive, Mio, and others - says it has also invested in Anthropic. The hope is to strengthen the relationship between both companies - building out Anthropic’s research and development departments to create what it deemed: "more trustworthy and responsible large-scale AI systems."
At this time: Zoom Ventures has not disclosed a dollar amount, but it did designate some $100 million to invest in global firms when it first announced the fund; back in April 2021. And the investment, at least with Anthropic appears to be a sound one. At least based on the AI model it calls “constitutional AI.” Under that model, Anthropic says its technique makes AI system behaviors simpler to comprehend and adjust; on the fly.
See why Google also recently invested in Anthripic's AI:
And Zoom is all about it, with its Chief Product Officer, Smita Hashim, writing in a recent blog post:
"Anthropic’s Constitutional AI model is primed to provide safe and responsible integrations for our next-generation innovations, beginning with the Zoom Contact Center portfolio. With Claude guiding agents toward trustworthy resolutions and powering self-service for end-users, companies can take customer relationships to another level."
Partnering with Anthropic also, at least on the surface, seems to further Zoom's previously-stated commitment to providing customers with our federated approach to AI.
If Zoom Times this Right, it Could Win Big
All this: coming at a seemingly strategic time as a 2023 Aircall report found that; while 66% of US SMBs say they plan to invest in AI in the next 12 months, 57% lack the proper infrastructure to deploy it safely. If Zoom can capitalize on that - they should have "in" with a crowd of people ripe for the picking.
That same report by Aircall found that those SMBs planning to implement said technology; do have some fears, the number one being AI moving too fast - at 59 percent, up next - AI replacing them at 47 percent and AI leading to lower pay at 47 percent as well.
Nearly sixty percent of US-based employees say they share concerns that AI’s lack of human input could impact the quality of their work.
And just over a third of US companies, or 39%, say they don’t understand the value that AI can bring to their everyday role. When you compare that to the folks across the pond in the UK - nearly half of many UK-based SMBs, or 47 percent, say as much - implying there is still work to do when conveying the value of AI.
If executed well - this could translate into massive AI adoption and sales of a CCaaS platform still pretty much in its infancy but one that rivals offerings on the market for far longer.