From major product launches to CEO swaps, here are some extracts from our most popular news stories over the last seven days.
Verint has unveiled a CCaaS platform, which the vendor suggests will “transform” the contact center landscape.
Launching the platform at its hallmark Engage event, Verint also introduced a new concept: Open CCaaS, which inspired the CCaaS solution.
To understand this concept, consider the challenges companies often face with CCaaS platforms.
Most aspire to offer a single application that contact centers can use to effectively manage all their customer conversations.
Yet, according to Verint, most lack the openness to succeed.
For instance, a global business may use different vendors for various voice, digital, and social applications across various locations – which are impossible to bring into a central environment.
That is where Verint aims to stand out from the crowd. As Dan Bodner, Chairman and CEO, states:
In today’s fast-paced technology environment, brands adopt platforms that are open in all dimensions to future-proof their contact centers.
However, Verint did not only design a platform to harmonize various CCaaS solutions. The open theme spreads across the many technologies that touch the contact center.
Conversational AI is one such technology, which Bodner was keen to underline. He stated:
They need a platform that is designed to augment their human workforce with an effective team of specialized AI bots to deliver tangible business outcomes.
The platform also allows businesses to plug in various other data sources, including third-party CRM and HCM technologies – for instance – to augment the user experience. (Read on…).
Salesforce has teased a new product suite – “AI Cloud” – to bolster its position in the crowded customer experience AI market.
The announcement is the vendor’s latest move to augment its portfolio with “enterprise-ready AI” – with the emphasis very much on generative AI.
Indeed, it combines the generative AI activities Salesforce launched in April.
These include: Service GPT, Sales GPT, Marketing GPT, Commerce GPT, Apex GPT, Flow GPT, Slack GPT, and Tableau GPT.
Currently, many of these solutions are half-baked, with Tableau GPT not available in pilot until November 2023, for example.
Yet, that has not stopped many big-name businesses from already using elements of the suite, including AAA-The Auto Club Group, Gucci, Inspirato, and RBC Wealth Management.
In addition, those that leverage the AI Cloud may benefit from an Einstein GPT Trust Layer, which is front and center of the announcement.
According to Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, this provides a benchmark for trusted enterprise AI. He said:
AI Cloud, built on the number one CRM, is the fastest and easiest way for our customers to unleash the incredible power of AI, with trust at the center driven by our new Einstein GPT Trust Layer.
That layer aims to bridge the trust gap many associate with generative AI, as concerns swirling data governance, privacy, and potential risks run rife.
In doing so, the Trust Layer will prevent large language models (LLMs) from retaining sensitive data.
Another core feature of the AI Cloud platform is its “prompt templates and builders”. These allow users to influence the “quality and relevance” of AI-generated content.
To do so, the solution will leverage “harmonized data to ground generated outputs in every company’s unique context,” according to a Salesforce press release.
Finally, Salesforce has committed to an open ecosystem, despite the plethora of GPT-powered products with the suite. (Read on…).
Momentive has appointed Eric Johnson as its new CEO, following nine months as CMO.
Johnson took that position shortly after the company’s acquisition by a consortium for $1.5BN.
The agreed sum was a considerable drop from Zendesk’s offer of $4.1 billion in October 2021, which was later withdrawn due to strong opposition from Zendesk stockholders.
Nevertheless, Johnson hopes for a bounce back, and – as his first order of business – the CEO will revive its former SurveyMonkey brand name.
Indeed, the company once operated under the SurveyMonkey banner but seemingly made the switch to reflect the other products within its portfolio.
Yet, the name never quite caught fire, and – as such – Johnson has undone the move of outgoing CEO Zander Lurie, who steps down after seven years of serving in the role.
Eric Johnson, CEO at Momentive, said: “As a longtime fan and user of SurveyMonkey, I am honored to step in as CEO.
“With nearly one million paying users, a talented team, and an unwavering commitment to serving our customers, we have the building blocks for a bright future.
Returning to the SurveyMonkey brand will unify our products under a single iconic name that has been synonymous with helping customers gather insights and engagement data for decades.
Johnson added: “I’d like to thank Zander for his many years of service to the company as a board member and CEO.
“Under his leadership, we transformed from a survey provider to an insights company with a strong global footprint and significant market opportunity. We all wish Zander the best.” (Read on…).
IKEA is expanding its services by teaching its contact center agents to act as interior design advisors.
It has also introduced an AI bot called ‘Billie’ to help answer everyday customer queries.
Reuters revealed the behind-the-scenes goings on at the multinational home furnishing provider, which is looking to bring its home improvement services to the UK and the United States.
Starting in 2021, IKEA has now trained 8,500 call center workers as interior design advisors, according to Ingka Group, the largest of 12 IKEA franchises.
AI bot Billie, whose name was inspired by IKEA’s ‘Billy’ range of bookcases, was also launched in 2021 and has reportedly answered 47 percent of customer queries since its introduction.
Ulrika Biesert, Global People and Culture Manager at Ingka Group (an IKEA franchise), told Reuters:
We’re committed to strengthening co-workers’ employability in Ingka, through lifelong learning and development and reskilling, and to accelerate the creation of new jobs.
Biesert was also asked if ‘Billie’ was likely to cause job redundancies at the company, to which she replied: “That’s not what we’re seeing right now.”
Moreover, Ingka Group revealed that its sales by phone or video of products and services via Ingka’s remote interior design channel drew 1.3 billion euros of revenue in 2022, which represents 3.3 percent of its total revenue.
It is now aiming to increase that share to ten percent by 2028 as part of a drive to grow its Generation Z customer base.
Ingka also owns the IKEA website, whose online sales of products totaled roughly 9.9 billion euros, which is 25 percent of Ingka’s total sales for the financial year ending August 31st, 2022.
IKEA has earmarked two billion euros for its expansion within the United States. (Read on…).