Four months after failing on a multibillion-dollar bid to acquire a call center platform, video conferencing company Zoom now has its own contact center solution that is optimized for video interaction with customers, combined with unified communications (UC) capabilities to support its employees working as customer service agents.
Zoom Contact Center, the company’s new offering, goes beyond the traditional contact center emphasis on the voice channel, Zoom said in a company blog that announced the new product. Instead, the solution is optimized for video interaction with customers based on the idea that visual engagement enhances CX, enabling supportive and empathetic conversations that consolidate customer interactions. The contact center solution already has more than 100 agent, supervisor, and contact center administrator features at launch, the company noted, with preparations underway for the solution to include additional features like webchat and mobile text messaging, currently under beta testing.
Future investments will center on building more communication channels for the solution and on integrating functionality related to customer relationship management (CRM), workforce management, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), all aimed at maximizing agent productivity.
The launch of the Zoom Contact Center comes after the surprise collapse in October last year of Zoom’s $14.7 billion bid to acquire Five9, the communications platform provider headquartered in San Ramon, California. The acquisition, if successful, would have provided Zoom with greater access to business clients in the global cloud contact center market, projected to be worth tens of billions of dollars in a few years’ time. The all-stock tender fell apart at the 11th hour, rejected by Five9 shareholders who said the deal significantly undervalued Five9 stock at the same time that Zoom’s own stock value had fallen because of slowing growth.
Also contributing to the transaction’s disintegration was a US Department of Justice (DOJ) review on how the acquisition might impact America’s national security interests, given that a portion of Zoom’s research and development (R&D) personnel was located in China. After the acquisition attempt failed, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said the company would return with its own contact center solution sometime in early 2022.
The solution’s new UC capabilities will enable agents to work from any location and to collaborate more easily with one another, as contact center communications are brought into a central hub. An integrated contact center experience increases employee collaboration and productivity, while helping organizations remove the barriers that cause teams to work in silos, Zoom remarked. With its ability to incorporate voice calling, video conferencing, instant messaging (IM), and other enterprise communication tools into a single, streamlined interface, UC technology provides users with easy and immediate access to the tools from any physical location and digital device.
Blair Pleasant, co-founder of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, and system integrators in the UC business, said Zoom understands the importance of bringing UC and a multichannel contact center into the same experience.
“Zoom is known for great video, which is important for high-touch customer scenarios and internal use cases like IT help desk, employee helpline, and revenue-generating activities,” Pleasant said. “But the fact that Zoom Contact Center supports routing, additional channels, and the agent functionality organizations need, means that Zoom Contact Center could become the modern contact center solution of choice.”
Zoom said the new solution is now ready for use in the US and Canada, with availability to other countries slated for later this year.