LiveVox CEO Louis Summe
By Jarrett Banks
Customer-service software provider LiveVox is the latest technology company to go public via SPAC, through Crescent Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: CRSA). And that’s giving the company the ability to increase investments in sales and marketing and also expand platform capabilities.
Exec Edge sat down with CEO Louis Summe to find out more about the future of customer experience.
Exec Edge: What does LiveVox do and what kind of companies do you work with?
LiveVox provides an easy-to-use cloud-based contact center platform. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, customer relationship management (CRM), and workforce optimization (WFO) to deliver exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to reduce compliance risk. We also help our customers adopt new digital technologies, like speech analytics and AI, to take their contact center performance to the next level. To that end, we’re helping the companies that we work with deliver experiences that match their customers’ expectations, which is increasingly shifting to digital channels. The vertical market segments that we focus on most are financial services, retail, telecom, healthcare, travel & tourism, and the customer care space.
Exec Edge: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the contact center and the customer experience overall? How has it affected your business?
COVID has had a big impact on contact center operations. Before the pandemic, like many of us, contact center agents were working onsite in large offices. Managers were in close physical proximity to their staff and monitored performance and provided feedback accordingly. Many contact center staff members, however, moved to a WFH environment in the spring of 2020.
Some contact centers were prepared for this and were able to quickly, and relatively painlessly, transition to a work from home environment because they had business continuity plans in place and were already utilizing a cloud-based platform that offered digital customer engagement and workforce optimization capabilities. Other organizations, however, were not prepared. They were using on-premise technology and the switch to remote work was much more challenging and took a good deal more time since agents and managers couldn’t be in the office and new workflows had to be developed.
When we look at those contact centers that were already in the cloud with us, the customer experience didn’t change dramatically beyond additional emphasis on the importance of digital workflows. Our customer’s customers have also been at home during the pandemic and they’ve been able to engage on their channels of choice with our customers, throughout their respective journeys, without missing a beat.
LiveVox customers taking advantage of our CRM continued to improve their CX because all customer and interaction history data is unified, offering agents an understanding of status and a cross-channel view so that when a customer moves from voice to email or SMS and back, the transition is seamless, and agents have all of the information they need at their fingertips. Moreover, our focus on providing customers with practical AI and automation use cases they can easily understand, operate, and optimize has been well received. As a result – our customers are saving time and money while providing their customers with an experience that meets their expectations in the digital age.
And, because we offer pre-integrated WFO modules, our customers have been able to easily take advantage of our quality management capabilities including eLearning and managerial feedback modules. This becomes even more critical in a WFH environment.
Exec Edge: With work from home and digitization on the rise, how will customer experience change in 2021 and beyond? What will contact centers look like?
With more contact centers moving to the cloud to both improve experience and accommodate a more remote and dispersed workforce, customer data must be more easily accessible for agents. By providing agents with quick and easy access to all of the tools and data they need to be successful, including information gathered by bots and virtual agents, you improve the agent experience and in turn, the customer experience as well. When we look at the contact center of the future, I think this pandemic has demonstrated that remote agents can be better for business than a completely on-premise workforce. With a remote workforce, agents can live where they like and work from an environment that is more conducive to their work style and work tasks. A smaller on-premise workforce also cuts down on expenses for an organization. When we look to the future of contact centers, I expect a hybrid of remote and on-premise operations.
Exec Edge: You recently entered into a SPAC merger agreement with Crescent Acquisition Corp. Why did you decide to go the SPAC route over the traditional IPO?
We’re a 20-year-old company with a proven track record of success, so we had the advantage of evaluating many options to go public. Given the market conditions that were starting to take shape in 2020, the route to becoming public via a SPAC made sense for our company. By merging with Crescent to become a public company, we immediately will be able to elevate the opportunities and resources available to us as we continue on our path to provide our clients with a simple platform that drives tangible results in their customer encounters. A SPAC merger also gives us all the benefits that come from an IPO and being traded on the NASDAQ, without requiring us to go through the time consuming, costly and uncertain traditional IPO process. Additionally, by choosing the SPAC route, we are able to work with a company with proven executives in the public markets. Crescent’s management team has extensive entrepreneurial, operational, and capital markets expertise that will benefit LiveVox as a long-term partner.
Exec Edge: What’s next for LiveVox? Will anything change once you become a public company?
Becoming a public company won’t change our mission or business. We will continue to operate as we have for over 20 years, focusing on innovating solutions and providing the best agent and customer experiences for our clients. With the new capital available to us at the close of this deal, we will be able to increase our investments in sales and marketing and also expand our platform capabilities and enhance our customer success programs. The demand for improved customer and agent experience is driving more and more organizations to our omnichannel solutions and we need to scale in order to capitalize on the market opportunity.
Exec Edge Contact:
Jarrett Banks, Editor-at-Large