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customer engagement game changer

Is Zoom’s acquisition of Five9 a game-changer for customer engagement?


Coupled with Twilio's recent acquisition of Segment, analysts believe that we are witnessing a new era for the customer engagement market.

23rd Jul 2021
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Earlier this week, video conferencing giant, and chief business beneficiary of the pandemic, Zoom Video Communications announced the acquisition of intelligent cloud contact centre player Five9.

The deal will cost Zoom approximately $14.7 billion, but is viewed as an opportunity for the company to “accelerate its long-term growth opportunity by adding the $24 billion contact centre market”, according to its press statement. 

Elaborating on this, Eric S. Yuan, CEO and founder of Zoom, said that “Enterprises communicate with their customers primarily through the contact centre, and we believe this acquisition creates a leading customer engagement platform that will help redefine how companies of all sizes connect with their customers”.

One of the problems that they intend to solve? “Businesses spend significant resources annually on their contact centres, but still struggle to deliver a seamless experience for their customers,” noted Rowan Trollope, CEO of Five9, who will subsequently also become a president of Zoom.

Those seamless struggles could be over, however, with the fruits of the Zoom-Five9 deal destined to be an omnichannel platform. 

Five9 zoom

Coupled with Twilio’s acquisition of Segment, analysts believe that we are witnessing a new era for the customer engagement market - albeit attacking it from slightly different angles. Twilio’s approach is to tackle what it perceives to be the biggest roadblock for businesses - the fact that customer data is locked in silos. Bringing Twilio’s contact centre solution together with Segment’s customer data platform is one way to solve that problem and help businesses make customer engagement across every channel more personalised and impactful. This, Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt suggests, is the next step to realising their vision to becoming the world's leading customer engagement platform.

Zoom, meanwhile, is betting big on a blend of contact centre and unified communications. 

"Look at our video assets, look at their AI and very robust back-end, and we do see the huge opportunity ahead of us," said Yuan on a conference call. "I think that together, we can really create something very cool in the future to redefine the customer engagement platform."

Not all commentators are entirely swayed by this talk, however. 

In a deeper analysis of the deal by Thomas Wieberneit on his blog, he notes: 

“Zoom is a top dog when it comes to meeting solutions, with its additional solutions it plays pretty strong, but not decisively so, in the market of communications solutions. Five9 is a serious player in the cloud call centre software space. With these areas merging, both players have lots of parts that the respective other does not have. Think video call centres, or video assisted support and remote control. Combining this is a strong value proposition in the short- to mid-term.”

But he adds: “I do not fully buy into the story of the proposed “omnichannel engagement platform” as I do think that some crucial aspects, like the ability to identify and profile a customer and her complete context, are missing. I rather see an omnichannel engagement execution platform. Add the profiling part, as Twilio did with acquiring Segment, and we have a really compelling story, especially if Zoom Phone takes off. Having access to the call centre, consented customer profiles, and the access to the consumer customers’ devices via Zoom Phone could totally change the game.”

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