With the conference name of Xperience19, it’s clear that the key focus of this year’s Genesys’ annual customer conference was customer experience. During Xperience 19, Genesys hosted a group of analysts to give us an update on its products and services with a view to its roadmap. We were also treated to private demos, as well as meetings with execs (including new CEO Tony Bates) and several customers.
The two major themes were clearly Artificial intelligence (AI) and the move to the cloud.
AI was the darling of the event, with lots of sessions around how to best use AI to improve the customer experience. During the opening session, Bates told the audience that the next wave of communications is to deliver personalized experiences for customers. He noted, “Consumers want a different experience, which means we need to provide more personalized services,” adding, “Personalization has changed expectations and customers want more. We have a bigger vision – delivering a solution that customers want that is intuitive and smart.” Highlighting one of the themes of the event, Bates stated that AI technology can improve the agent experience and customer experience. Bates also discussed Genesys’ focus on the cloud, stating, “Cloud is an unstoppable movement and we’re all in.”
Keeping pace with our quickly-evolving industry, Genesys has made some changes and additions to its product strategy. For example, Genesys AI replaces Kate, formerly Genesys’ face of AI, which is now a virtual assistant (a slight demotion?). Genesys AI is now the overarching AI foundation. As noted in a recent press release, “Genesys makes it easier for businesses to flawlessly connect and manage native and third-party AI across voice or digital channels. With its simple centralized orchestration, Genesys AI enables customers to map complex business logic, perform various back-end system integrations and swap AI providers.” Genesys AI can more broadly support third-party AI solutions such as Amazon Lex, Google Cloud Contact Center AI, Nuance and IBM Watson.
To provide an update on Genesys’ AI strategy, I spoke with CMO Merijn te Booij. Te Booij discussed Kate, blended AI, Genesys Predictive Routing, Performance DNA, other ways Genesys is using AI, and how companies should get started with AI.
The other hot topic was the cloud, and we heard some pretty strong statements as Genesys doubles down on its cloud efforts. According to Peter Graf, Chief Product Officer, “We believe every one of our customers will be a Genesys Cloud customer one way or the other. Customers will transition to cloud services or will supplement what they already have with some Genesys cloud services.”
While many Genesys on-prem customers will not move their core contact center functionality to the cloud, they will need to embrace the cloud if and when they want to utilize Genesys AI capabilities, for example.
The star of Genesys’ cloud strategy is the Genesys Cloud platform. The Genesys Cloud is an omnichannel, AI-powered technology stack for platform and operational agility, based on a modern SaaS platform built for resiliency and security, while providing a holistic solution. Graf discussed the Genesys Cloud by explaining “It’s the way you would build software if you started a startup today,” as it provides the flexibility and speed needed for customer experience transformation.
I met with Dan Rood, Genesys VP Product Marketing, to discuss Genesys’ cloud strategy, including the Genesys Cloud and what it encompasses, as well as updates to PureEngage Cloud which has been rebuilt in the cloud, and PureConnect and PureCloud. He expanded on how premises-based customers can take advantage of AI innovations in the cloud, and how these customers can move to the cloud when they’re ready.
Voices of the Customers
What resonated the most with me wasn’t the presentations by Genesys but by its customers. Kicking off the main event was Oracle and PureCloud customer Uber, discussing how they use Genesys technology to provide better customer experiences. Uber’s Taj Singh told the audience that Uber is doubling down on data and data scientist investment and is “activating data to do more automation to reduce downstream costs while still focusing on customer experience.” He also talked about how Uber is taking baby steps toward "Conversational UX," including chatbots and voicebots, as well as robotic process automation (RPA), and is looking at this holistically, with an eye to business metrics.
Oracle’s Lorena Chiu discussed how Oracle is looking at using bots from a process standpoint and providing better employee experience, noting, “There will have to be human interaction when using bots, and by the time the customer gets to an agent they’re frustrated. Genesys figures into our bot strategy because you always have to talk to a human."
During the event I met with Dwayne Calder and David Bradshaw of ATB Financial to discuss their use of Genesys and the impact of Genesys PureEngage Cloud on the customer experience. During a Q&A with the analysts, when asked “why Genesys?” Calder and Bradshaw noted “We don’t want a vendor – we want a partner. Genesys is a partner.” What was interesting is that as a financial institution that is heavily regulated, ATB Financial had no qualms about moving to the cloud and that they believe they are better able to manage security issues that may have been concerns in the past. The company is heavily involved in exploring the use of AI to make it easier for customers to do banking with ATB, and are using AI for transactional processing, knowledge management, and more. The company is currently piloting predictive routing, telling the analysts “The art of the possible with predictive routing is endless.”
Expanding to Sales and Marketing
Expanding beyond customer service, Genesys has set its sights on marketing and sales as opportunities to utilize its technologies. During Xperience19, Genesys announced a partnership with Selligent, a marketing automation cloud provider, focusing on digital engagement from marketers to consumers. Combining forces with Genesys, Selligent “Can enable businesses from a myriad of industries to leverage real-time marketing insights to deliver personalized, connected experiences across all consumer touchpoints.” During the event I spoke with Selligent’s Kevin Evans, VP Corporate Strategy and Development. In this video, Evans discusses how the two companies are working together to bring the marketing and service silos together and the benefits it will provide to customers and agents. He also discusses how Selligent uses AI to leverage insights for customer engagement.
It’s clear that Genesys sees an AI-enabled cloud future and is working to help customers – whether currently on-prem or in the cloud – move to this next phase. As the company brings together customer and employee journeys leveraging AI and digital channels, it is helping organizations better differentiate themselves and attain their business outcome goals. It is still very early days for AI, and there are many issues that need to be worked out (see my No Jitter article “How to Create a Positive Chatbot Experience”), but AI is clearly the future of the contact center, customer service, and the customer and agent experience. Genesys is betting heavy on AI and the cloud, providing a path forward for its customers regardless of whether they’re currently on-prem or in the cloud.