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Nextiva Executive Interview

Jim Nystrom, Chief Revenue Officer, Nextiva

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In this engaging discussion between Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner CrmXchange, and Jim Nystrom, CRO, Nextiva, discuss the dynamic world of contact centers, AI integration, and the transformative power of Nextiva's comprehensive solutions. We explore the nuances of customer interactions, the evolution of technology, and the strategic advantages Nextiva brings to businesses of all sizes.

Sheri Greenhaus: Tell me a bit about yourself.

Jim Nystrom: Since 1987, I've been immersed in the realm of customer engagement and experience. It all began when I started as a technical support agent for a software company. Even during my college years, I was involved as a work-study student, assisting others in learning computer usage in the lab. From there, my journey led me through various roles, including training, project management, and overseeing client services departments. Essentially, my early experiences resembled what we now recognize as a 100-person contact center, catering to both customer service and support for software applications.

Throughout the years, my career trajectory encompassed inside and outbound sales, inbound customer care, and support. I transitioned from the software company to MCI Telecommunications, where I delved into telecommunications infrastructure, advanced network applications, and eventually, contact center solutions. My tenure at MCI saw me co-founding the contact center solutions group, where we specialized in providing comprehensive solutions to major clients.

However, I soon realized the limitations of traditional on-premises deployment models. The complexity, lengthy sales cycles, and outdated technology spurred my transition to cloud-based solutions. I joined Transera Communications, pioneers in cloud-based inbound customer care and routing solutions, before moving to Five9 in 2010. At Five9, I played a pivotal role in scaling the enterprise sales, witnessing remarkable growth from $12 million to approximately $400 million.

My journey continued with Cogito, where I explored machine learning and AI-based applications to enhance contact center agent performance. We focused on providing real-time coaching and guidance to agents, resulting in improved speaking behaviors and customer outcomes. Subsequently, I joined Dialpad, intrigued by its cloud-first platform offering enterprise communications, contact center solutions, and AI capabilities.

Sheri Greenhaus: Let’s discuss Nextiva.

Jim Nystrom: Nextiva excites me because it encompasses three crucial elements: facilitating customer-brand interactions, supporting frontline employees, and providing invaluable insights to companies.

Nextiva doesn't just facilitate customer-brand interactions; it empowers agents and employees with enhanced tools and resources, ultimately lightening their workload. Through features like agent assist technologies, battle cards, and readily available information, agents can serve customers more efficiently.

Moreover, Nextiva offers a game-changing feature by transcribing voice conversations into text, eliminating the need for expensive call recording and analytics platforms. This not only streamlines operations but also allows for real-time insights and interventions. Customers can interact across various channels seamlessly, ensuring a frictionless experience.

Most importantly, Nextiva enables companies to aggregate and analyze data from customer interactions, offering valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and overall experience. By leveraging this data, companies can identify areas for improvement and streamline processes, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Sheri Greenhaus: Companies will still need to keep recordings, wouldn’t they?

Jim Nystrom: The recording doesn’t go away, but the text serves as the digital channel or the textual script. Text is much more storable and less costly to store than a call recording. So, that's one cost-saving benefit. But the real benefit lies in having all interactions between customers and brands in text, allowing for infinite storage and endless searchability across all channels. It condenses everything into a single text channel, enabling more comprehensive data analysis.

Sheri Greenhaus: If I'm the customer and I've been chatting, then I called, and then I went on to X to complain about something, is all of that appended to my record? Does the agent that I’m conversing with have access to my entire journey?

Jim Nystrom: You're exactly right, and that's a differentiator for Nextiva. While other players in the marketplace leverage a customer's CRM, Nextiva offers a comprehensive solution. We integrate with leading CRMs, but we also cater to businesses that require basic contact information and interaction details. Nextiva brings the power of Fortune 100 sales and customer service organizations, delivering a unified platform accessible to businesses of all sizes globally. Being cloud-first and API-based, Nextiva simplifies integration with third-party applications, making migration from legacy systems seamless.

Sheri Greenhaus: Can Nextiva work with all applications?

Jim Nystrom: Any cloud-based CRM system can leverage these integration capabilities. Innovation is happening in cloud-based applications, and the majority of contact center capabilities are now cloud-based. Nextiva simplifies migration from legacy and first-generation cloud solutions to a more modern infrastructure.

Sheri Greenhaus: What is the profile of the ideal company that would work with Nextiva?

Jim Nystrom: We are cloud-first and global-first, leading with contact center solutions. Whether a customer needs enterprise voice or knowledge worker voice alongside the platform, Nextiva can deliver. We provide a full-featured solution for SDR or BDR teams, offering outbound sales tools with AI-powered assistance and inbound support with modern routing capabilities.

Sheri Greenhaus: When companies talk about having a contact center system, that can mean a variety of things. What does that mean to Nextiva?

Jim Nystrom: Nextiva offers a comprehensive solution for sales and support teams. Whether it's inbound service or support, outbound campaigns, or automated messaging, Nextiva provides routing, transcription, analytics, and more. We offer modern routing capabilities, including skills-based, proficiency-based, and affinity-based routing, all embedded in the platform. This ensures a seamless customer experience and empowers contact center operators with valuable insights for better communication and management.

Sheri Greenhaus: When providing agent assist, is the AI listening or does the agent need to access the system?

Jim Nystrom: A great question. It's automatically presented to the agent, and it can be done in a number of ways. It can automatically pop up another tab in their browser or be presented as a clickable link. Less experienced agents might benefit more from the assistance to become proficient more quickly. The tool is versatile, catering to both inexperienced and experienced agents for productivity and better sales outcomes.

Sheri Greenhaus: In a competitive situation, where does this information originate? Is it accessed from the best agents and how they handle calls?

Jim Nystrom: Businesses often conduct customer journey mapping, but with Nextiva's AI capabilities, the focus shifts to actionable insights. We provide insights into the top competitor names mentioned in conversations and offer support in analyzing calls or transcripts. This can be achieved through in-house efforts, leveraging Nextiva's resources, or hiring external consultants, depending on budget and resources.

Sheri Greenhaus: What is the first step when a company deploys Nextiva?

Jim Nystrom: By leveraging Nextiva professional services, we seek to understand the current state of the company and make recommendations on utilizing Nextiva's technologies. After the assessment, the customer signs off on a project plan tailored to their needs. Whether starting small or implementing multiple features, the technology is deployed upon signing the order, and implementation focuses on maximizing the investment in Nextiva.

Sheri Greenhaus: With the assessment, do you look at everything: where your calls are coming from, where do they go, where your customers come from, and what are the different channels they use?

Jim Nystrom: Nextiva offers a blended technology platform covering outbound and inbound voice, chat, web, email, and messaging apps. The assessment focuses on identifying interactions, blockages, and opportunities for improvement across various channels. With Nextiva's technology, businesses can engage with customers seamlessly, completing interactions efficiently without the need for callbacks or interruptions.

Sheri Greenhaus: Is there anything we didn't discuss that our audience should know?

Jim Nystrom: I'm thrilled about the availability of Nextiva's complete product portfolio from a single service provider. Our goal, both in the professional services and sales teams, is to take a holistic approach to our customers' needs. We delve into their operations, identifying various niche applications in use, and then leverage Nextiva to consolidate these into a unified platform. Whether it's catering to the needs of knowledge workers, sales teams, or customer service representatives, we ensure Nextiva offers comprehensive solutions. From inbound and outbound voice capabilities to web-based live chat and workforce engagement tools, we cover it all. Nextiva's versatility allows businesses of any size to pick and choose the solutions they need, making it a plug-and-play option rather than a disruptive overhaul.