From Silicon Valley Roots to Contact Center AI

From Silicon Valley Roots to Contact Center AI

The Gist

  • Silicon Valley roots. Scott Kolman’s early inspiration from tech giants.
  • AI benefits. Addressing agent challenges through generative AI.
  • Future vision. Personalized, AI-driven contact center experiences ahead.

Scott Kolman is the chief marketing officer at Cresta with responsibility for overseeing the planning, development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy and initiatives including the positioning, promotion and branding of the Cresta real-time intelligence platform for the contact center. He has an extensive background in marketing and selling SaaS and enterprise software and is a recognized professional with expertise in cloud contact center, customer experience and customer service.

Prior to Cresta, Kolman held leadership positions at Five9, Genesys, Synchronoss Technologies, SpeechCycle, Amdocs, Lucent Technologies and Octel Communications. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences including CCW, ICMI, Aragon Transform, as well as a prolific blogger.

We caught up with Kolman for a five-question Q&A on his role as CMO in our latest edition of the CMSWire CMO Circle series.

Editor’s note: This transcript is edited for clarity.

From Film to Silicon Valley: Apple’s Origins and a Creative Passion

Jennifer Torres: Hi, this is Jennifer Torres, reporter with CMSWire and this is CMO Circle and today I’m very excited to welcome Scott Kolman, Chief Marketing Officer at Cresta — welcome Scott.

Scott Kolman: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Torres: Well, we’re excited to have you. So, let’s dive right in. How did you get involved in marketing and why?

Kolman: Yeah, it’s interesting. I started out originally as a film major and then I moved into advertising, but having grown up in Silicon Valley, I think I found very quickly, a couple of things happen. First of all, I went to the same high school as Steve Wozniak — and Steve Jobs a few years later — but the inception of Apple came straight out of that school. So, I was always interested in tech. And then when I went to school, I went into advertising and came across some people working in marketing. It sounded very interesting, that combination of the creative side and technology, and many years later, here I am.

Related Article: Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy: A Leader’s Inside Look

Weaving in AI to Revolutionize Contact Centers Amidst Industry Challenges

Torres: Wow, very interesting. With Cresta at the forefront of integrating regenerative AI into contact centers, how do you communicate the benefits of such a cutting-edge technology to such a diverse audience?

Kolman: I think there are a couple of things that that really stand out on that. I think like any technology or any solution, you have to start with focusing on the key problems and challenges that face your buyer. Too many times, especially being technical marketers, people can get caught up in the bits and bytes and capabilities, but they forget that it all really stems on what are the key problems and challenges that people face and how do you how do you solve that?

So, I think that’s the first one, but there a few things that really come to the forefront. The first one is the growing complexity of the way we interact with businesses, right? That’s putting a huge cognitive load on the agents. So, it’s really important to be able to show how we can help them use technology to be able to really address their problems more quickly. Also, dealing with agent turnover. You know, in every industry the turnover has been so high and it’s finally back to pre-pandemic rates.

And so how do you bring onboard new agents? So, helping them to understand that as well. Then, I think besides focusing on the problems that they face, its customer complaints, right? There’s so much tech out there. Generative AI is the latest buzzword for many people, although we’ve been doing this for about five or six years and people get a bit jaded — is this real? – does it work? You have to really ground it in proof of what customers are doing, particularly in the industry the buyer is in, and really reinforce the reality. What are they seeing as the actual results along the way?

Overcoming AI Skepticism in Contact Centers: Education, Realism and Timely Solutions

Torres: That leads into my second question. Because introducing AI, especially generative models into traditional contact centers can be met with a lot of resistance or skepticism. You mentioned a few challenges, but what are the primary challenges in marketing Cresta’s solutions to potential clients?

Kolman: Well, one in the beginning is confusion and maybe a lack of understanding. With any new technology, we get excited as vendors. We’ve known about this for a long time, but that doesn’t mean your buyer understands. So, it really requires a lot of education along the way, help them on the journey, providing content that really is not salesy, it’s not overt, it’s really just educational and bring them up to understand what’s possible. I think that’s a big one that we spend a lot of time on, whether it’s webinars or dealing with sessions like today or pieces that really provide a little bit more background along the way.

So that’s the first one, second, don’t over promise. Focus on key issues. I think everybody really needs to understand this. You know, focus on reality. It’s better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around. So, I think that’s really a key one there. And for us, there’s specific things in generative AI that come in to play.

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