Q&A with Scott Kolman, Senior Vice President Marketing of Five9
Five9 CX Summit was held as a virtual event on September 1 and 2. Following the event, which focused on the impact of technological development in the everyday work of BPO contact center companies, we had a brief conversation with Scott Kolman, Senior Vice President Marketing at Five9. He shared his thoughts on the lessons of CX Summit, the benefits of organizing an online conference, and the company’s plans for future events.
How did you see this year’s event from the organizer's point of view?
This year was our second as a virtual event. While we still miss the opportunity for face-to-face interactions, the benefits of going virtual is that our reach and participation is much greater. In 2020 for instance, 20% of all attendees were from outside North America spanning 55 countries.
Virtual events were quite new when we held our CX Summit in 2020. This year, we modified our approach to increase engagement of participants including offering sessions of varying lengths based on the nature of the session type, and to encourage engagement through panel discussions and Q&A sessions at the end.
What kind of feedback have you received?
It is too early to have a full picture of the reaction from attendees, however what we have heard so far has been quite positive. Attendees liked the variety of session topics and approaches, including an increase in the number of third-party speakers (non-Five9) including customers, industry analysts, partners and others. We are also making sessions available on demand for those who could not attend, or who were busy in another session.
What are the benefits of hosting international online conferences?
Holding international conferences such as the Five9 CX Summit are invaluable. Benefits include:
- Customers – a chance to learn about products and solutions that they are not currently utilizing while hearing from peers who have implemented new technologies and the results they realized. This includes not only Five9 solutions but also those from our partners. In addition, these events provide a tremendous opportunity for customers to share their experiences, learnings and realized results with others.
- Partners – events such as this are excellent opportunities for partners to showcase their solutions and how they integrate with the Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center.
- Prospects – a great way to get exposed to a brand in a low-key, non-salesy environment, while hearing from actual customers about their experiences with the products and the company.
- Five9 - Overall, international conferences provide a great opportunity for us to showcase new products and innovations, highlight recent customer successes and build thought leadership and general awareness of the brand in the market.
What can we learn on such occasions?
Events such as this afford an excellent opportunity to learn both the commonalities and differences that exist in market conditions and consumer behavior. In fact, this was one of the things we highlighted as we shared the results of the Five9 Customer Service Index, 2021.
Now in its fifth year, the Five9 Customer Service Index provides data and insights to help businesses better understand what’s happening in the world of customer experience (CX) so that they can better meet their customers’ changing needs and expectations. This year the 2021 survey was expanded to include several European countries - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and last but not least, the U.K.- to help identify regional variances, and trends. In many cases, the survey results highlight key differences based on geography and age. What we found is that while there are some commonalities regardless of where a consumer is located, there are also clear differences in channel preferences as well as which factors make for a good (or bad) customer experience.
Were any discussions especially memorable for you?
There were a few that stood out.
First of all, I always enjoy the opportunity to speak directly with our customers. This year, I had the opportunity to host an international fireside chat with Zsolt Szmolinka, Chief Executive Officer at UCC, based in Hungary, and Joseph Fidanque, CEO at Iterum based in Panama. We had a great discussion on how outsourcers can leverage state-of the-art cloud technologies to help their customers deliver extraordinary customer experiences.
Second, I enjoyed the discussion and insights shared by industry analysts including Blair Pleasant, President and Principal Analyst at COMMFusion, my co-presenter on the Customer Service Index 2021 results, Dan Miller and Derek Top of Opus Research as we discussed “How to use AI to Control Your Digital Transformation”, and Robin Gareiss, CEO and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, in the session “From Analytics to Action”. Robin shared some excellent data points and stats on contact center metrics.
This year's CX Summit had an added incentive, the donations for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Can you tell us more about this initiative in a few words?
Five9 collaborated with Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and Make-A-Wish International as part of the Five9 CX Summit. For every CX Summit registration, Five9 donated $5 to the cause. This year we were able to support Make-A-Wish in granting wishes for two children with critical illnesses.
Can we expect for something similar in the near future?
Yes absolutely. In addition to the global CX Summit event that typically is held in the September timeframe each year, Five9 also holds regional events including the EMEA Summit we held this past spring as well as our LATAM Summits that will come in November.