Observations from G-Force 2015

I spent last week attending G-Force 2015, a conference bringing together Genesys customers, partners, and industry analysts like myself. The event offered numerous updates regarding the company’s market messaging, new and upcoming capabilities, and customer success stories.

Before sharing my observations, I’d like to first disclose that my travel expenses for the event were covered by Genesys. Nevertheless, this in no way influenced my overall observations and takeaways.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at some of my takeaways:

1. An Omni-Channel Engagement Center

Paul Segre, the CEO of Genesys, opened the event by highlighting the company’s positioning as a platform powering omni-channel customer interactions (see this related blog post on the definition of “omni-channel”). He noted the continuing impact of customer empowerment on businesses and made the case that companies must make omni-channel a part of their DNA in order to survive and thrive.

One of the important takeaways related to the company’s omni-channel messaging – discussed both during the main event as well as during analyst updates – centered around the broad approach that Genesys is taking in this area. To successfully manage omni-channel customer interactions, as noted in another Aberdeen report, companies need to ensure that all stakeholders in the business – including marketing, customer service, and sales – deliver consistent and personalized messages across all channels.

Using a single platform to accomplish this goal requires one with the ability to deliver marketing campaigns, enable the sales force, and support customer service interactions. Genesys seems to recognize how it’s current capabilities around contact center and proactive communications fit into the broader scope of such omni-channel interactions as well as where gaps exist.

Thus, to make it easier for users to further extend the capabilities of the Genesys Customer Experience Platform, they established the Genesys AppFoundry (similar to Salesforce AppExchange). This provides Genesys users the ability to select a variety of applications that integrate with the Genesys customer experience platform. The current selection of applications includes those devoted to knowledge management, self-service, and e-commerce.

Within this context, I also took note of the company’s focus on becoming a system of engagement, rather than a system of record, in order to drive omni-channel customer interactions. “System of record” is a term often used to describe enterprise systems storing customer data (e.g. CRM and ERP), whereas a “system of engagement” puts this data into action. The focus on engagement shows that Genesys is not looking to replace current systems of record, but rather to integrate with an eye towards more customer interaction.

2. The Move to Adding New In-House WFO Capabilities

The event also featured updates on workforce optimization (WFO) capabilities in the platform. Genesys partnered with different vendors in the past to provide customers with call recording and quality management (QM) features. The company has, over the past several months, worked on building its own in-house capabilities in these areas, and now provides them as part of its cloud and on-premise solutions.

Both call recording and quality management are used for various purposes, including quality assurance and internal performance reporting. The move to provide these capabilities organically means that the company is focused on broadening the WFO offerings contact centers rely on to manage omni-channel interactions.

3. The Agent Desktop & Employee Engagement

In addition to these call recording and quality management (QM) capabilities, the agent desktop was also a focus of discussion during the event.

Findings in Aberdeen’s Agent Desktop Optimization study highlight the importance of the agent desktop as a central hub for managing omni-channel customer interactions. While contact centers focus on building omni-channel process capabilities, the fact that agents often lack the ability to actually manage client interactions from a single screen via the desktop means that companies incur significant unnecessary costs due to a loss in productivity. What’s more, the absence of such capabilities increases average handle time, which frustrates customers and risks churn.

On this point, the event featured several conversations regarding the importance of increasing employee engagement through both processes and technologies. (Read Aberdeen’s related report on this subject to learn more about the benefits of employee engagement and how to make it a part of your contact center activities.)

One area that I think would add additional strength to the company’s message in relation to this topic is desktop analytics. Our research shows that contact centers use desktop analytics for myriad purposes, including monitoring agent productivity and process workflows. The findings gleaned from this process help identify the average number of applications agents use during a typical customer interaction while also surfacing any training or coaching needs for agents to make better use of the agent desktop.

The platform currently doesn’t offer such an in-house desktop analytics capability. Adding this into the mix would help users bolster efforts to manage omni-channel interactions through the agent desktop as well as improve agent productivity and performance.

4. Analytics

Moving beyond the desktop, the ability to derive actionable insights from existing data and to turn those insights into desired business outcomes requires that companies drill down into the story behind their data. They do this through analytical tools such as business intelligence, predictive analytics, journey analytics, and so on. Indeed, Aberdeen’s latest customer analytics study shows that contact centers that build analytics into their activities enjoy far superior results in improving customer satisfaction and boosting financial results when compared to their peers.

Numerous Genesys executives highlighted the company’s focus on weaving in analytics as a key part of the platform’s capabilities for both cloud and on-premise deployments.

(To learn more about best practices in incorporating analytics within contact center activities, please read Aberdeen’s contact center analytics study.)

5. Preview of the Future

As is quickly becoming the norm at industry events, G-Force also included a demonstration of a use case for the Internet of Things (IoT) in customer service. Merijn te Booij, EVP of Product and Solution Strategy provided the demo and shared his vision on how connected devices will change the future of customer service. Briefly, the conversation noted that Genesys is closely tracking the IoT trend and the evolution of artificial intelligence to identify and plan for future capabilities aimed at driving proactive and personalized customer interactions.

If you found this interesting or have thoughts of your own about G-Force 2015, get in touch with me on Twitter: @omerminkara

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