Playvox Executive Interview
Alex Bullen, Chief Product Officer, Playvox
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Alex Bullen, Chief Product Officer at Playvox, discusses his
background in tech and consulting with Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner,
CrmXchange. Playvox differentiates itself by addressing complex problems in a
rapidly changing environment. They focus on driving business outcomes,
leveraging technology to solve customer experience challenges and optimizing
operations. Their workforce engagement suite prioritizes quality and workforce
management. Playvox emphasizes personalized agent engagement and empowerment
and provides. real-time insights to help customers optimize their operations
using AI and predictive analytics.
Sheri: Tell us a bit about your background.
Alex: My journey is an interesting one. I came from the tech
sector, specifically software engineering and consulting in the fintech
industry. I started a business focused on optimizing back-office processes
through technology and traditional process improvement methodologies.
We looked at the end-to-end customer journey and started
AgyleTime, a workforce management product, to address the challenges of
transitioning to cloud and incorporating digital channels in customer support.
We built AgyleTime as a cloud-native workforce management solution to
significantly lessen any deployment challenges. Initially, I oversaw products
and engineering, but later focused solely on product development.
In 2020, we sold the company to Playvox, and I joined as the
head of the workforce management product line. Since January, I’ve held the
role of Chief Product Officer. In this position,. I oversee the entire suite of
solutions and I’m able to leverage my passion for solving complex problems
using technology to drive business outcomes.
Sheri: Let's discuss what Playvox offers that sets it apart
from other vendors claiming to have AI.
Alex: AI is not new in this market and has been around for
years. Generative AI, however, has changed the conversation and set a new
benchmark, making AI technologies more accessible. At Playvox, we differentiate
ourselves by addressing the complex problems faced by our customers in a
rapidly changing environment. While many tools focus on agent assistance and
supporting various channels, we recognize the need to adapt to dynamic changes
and the shifting balance of channels. Our goal is to help customers optimize
their operations and understand the impact of different factors. We focus on
driving real business value by leveraging technology and making informed
Sheri: When you mention driving a business outcome, are you
referring to workforce and quality management?
Alex: Absolutely. Our core product set revolves around
engagement management, particularly in quality management and workforce
management. We emphasize understanding the customer's preferred channels,
optimizing business operations, and enabling our customers to deliver the best
customer service. Additionally, we
prioritize workforce engagement, considering factors like agent sentiment,
stress levels, and personalized experiences through scheduling and coaching.
Sheri: How do you achieve personalized agent sentiment
Alex: Personalization is a key aspect we strive for across
all our clients. We establish feedback loops with agents to incorporate their
insights into the planning process. Currently, we have sentiment models in
place and are in the process of expanding them. We're also exploring stress
models to identify these types of indicators in agents. While this is still a
work in progress, our aim is to change the feedback loop model and create
learning models that deeply understand what works for agents. We balance the
needs of agents with the organization's objectives, whether it's optimizing
costs or enhancing customer service levels.
Sheri: If a company engages with Playvox and has multiple
communication channels, how do you assess their needs and create a program for
Alex: For most of our customers, the initial step is gaining
visibility and insights into their current operations. Understanding their
baseline position and identifying areas of improvement are crucial. Each
organization has different goals, though efficiency and cost reduction have
been significant focuses recently. We start with historical data, often
extracted from spreadsheets, and use it for forecasting and scheduling. Real-time
visibility is another important aspect, and we apply machine learning to assist
customers in reacting and responding to changing circumstances in their
Sheri: Can your solution automate quality assurance scoring?
Alex: We offer features around automated quality assurance
(QA) that will be accessible to our customers soon.. Our solution includes
sentiment analysis and topic detection to identify interactions that require
focus. By providing 100% coverage and selecting specific areas for improvement,
we help our customers optimize their quality investment. Sentiment analysis and
topic analysis play a crucial role in understanding where to focus efforts.
Sheri: What are Playvox's strengths in workforce engagement?
Alex: Our fundamental strengths lie in quality management,
workforce management, and long-term planning solutions. These foundational
elements underpin our entire workforce engagement suite. We excel in connecting
these components and focus on agent performance and coaching. Our approach is
agent-centric, ensuring we support and develop agents to achieve the desired
Sheri: Could you elaborate on Playvox's coaching
Alex: While there's potential for customization and
intelligent coaching, we understand that change management might not be a
priority for all our customers yet. However, coaching is an area we're
continuously developing. Agent engagement is a significant challenge in the
industry, with increasing expectations for workforce development and flexibility
from the agent community. Playvox has been committed to agent engagement from
the beginning, embedding it into our quality programs and workflow. We strive
to optimize customer outcomes while considering the needs and development of
the agent workforce.
Sheri: Looking ahead, where do you see Playvox in a couple
Alex: Our goal is to create additional intelligence within
our platform, enabling customers to focus on planning and achieving their
desired outcomes. We leverage technology to support and automate processes,
assisting customers in reacting and responding - without expecting them to
possess the in-depth knowledge. Our emphasis is on driving automation into our
tools rather than the channels themselves. We've invested time in real-time AI
and channel assistance, and we're now driving the same intelligence into
capacity planning and long-term planning. Our aim is to help customers identify
where to focus and make recommendations based on deep insights.
Sheri: Any final thoughts?
Alex: We now have access to vast amounts of data, so AI and
predictive analytics plays a crucial role in our focus. The accessibility of
data and the ability to perform root cause analysis across multiple data points
are areas we're exploring. We aim to provide supervised and unsupervised
learning capabilities that assist customers in understanding complex
environments and identifying where to focus their efforts. Predictive analytics
and data accessibility empower our customers to optimize their businesses