Zoom swung for the fences last summer when its stock value was soaring, offering almost $15 billion to buy Five9 to get into customer service. Eventually the deal fell apart when the stock price plunged, but Zoom’s desire to get into customer service one way or the other didn’t diminish.
Earlier this year, the company announced a new customer service solution, which would take advantage of existing Zoom capabilities. As the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new service:
Combining contact center functionality with Zoom unified communications solutions, Zoom Contact Center can operate as a standalone customer experience solution or integrate directly into an existing website or application. Zoom customers who use Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone, and/or Zoom Chat will recognize the agent and supervisor interaction handling experience, as it is part of the same Zoom application.
By pulling together some existing functions, the company was able to offer a customer service experience inside the Zoom tool set. Today, the company announced plans to extend that by acquiring Solvvy, a nine-year-old startup that concentrates on conversational AI.
With Solvvy, the company gets more automation and intelligence and the ability to clear routine questions without having to speak to a person. Velchamy Sankarlingam, president of Product and Engineering at Zoom, certainly recognizes that this acquisition gives the company crucial functionality for competing in this space.
“Solvvy’s proprietary technology will broaden Zoom Contact Center’s offering with scalable self-service and conversational AI. Our customers will benefit from an automated, integrated, and easy-to-deploy contact center, which will help answer end-customers’ questions and solve issues faster – improving the overall customer experience and driving operational savings,” Sankarlingam wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.
Brent Leary, principal analyst and founder at CRM Essentials, who watches the customer service space, says that this may be a more practical deal than the one with Five9.
“I think this could actually be a better fit for Zoom than Five9 would have been. Conversational AI integration with Zoom’s communications platform seem like a nice combination that strengthens both sides and potentially creates better experiences for both customers and employees interacting with each other,” he told TechCrunch.
While the companies did not share a purchase price, Solvvy, which launched back in 2013, raised $16.5 million along the way, according to Crunchbase data. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this fiscal year.
Zoom stock is up over 9% in early trading this morning.