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Nextiva Aims to Inspire, Educate

Cloud phone provider Nextiva is known for putting people first, as evidenced at the partner and customer event it hosted late last year.
 
Rather than focusing exclusively on products and services, the conference, NextCon, is about helping attendees go beyond that and — I know this is going to sound strange — learn how to do more in life, help the community, and develop skills they can employ in growing their careers.
 
For example, one of the keynote speakers, Kyle Maynard, inspired the audience with his message about building a life driven by purpose and meaning, with the belief that no obstacle is too great and nothing can keep us from accomplishing our goals. Maynard, a congenital quadruple amputee, broke many world records for his athletic performance, and even had the fortitude to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He told the audience about his trek up Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and how focusing on the three feet in front of him, rather than the entire trek, helped him harness his energy and reach the summit. Based on his mantra of “no excuses,” Maynard challenged the audience to “go and consider what you want, on your path and your journey, that’s going to make the journey worthwhile.”
 
Other inspirational ideas came from:
 
  • Marc Randolph, Netflix co-founder, who shared how to build a positive company culture from scratch
  • Marketing guru Rand Fishkin, who discussed how to make the most of social media and influencers
  • Sales leader Jim Keenan, A Sales Guy Inc.’s CEO/president and chief antagonist, who talked about the importance of problem — not product — focused selling
 
All of these sessions energized the audience and provided useful tactical and practical takeaways.
 
Product Updates — Focusing on the Customer
 
Of course, Nextiva wants its products to help customers go above and beyond with their communications, too. Toward that end, NextCon featured many announcements and product updates, from the flagship NextOS to Nextiva’s core voice offerings to SD-WAN support and expanded dashboards.
 
For Nextiva’s core voice and UCaaS offerings, product updates include:
 
  • Active Directory integration with Microsoft Azure
  • Call encryption, using Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP), for Nextiva devices and the Nextiva desktop app
  • Support for SD-WAN solutions from VeloCloud, Cisco Meraki, and 128 Technology, enabling voice traffic protection to all Nextiva points of presence
  • Advanced IVR with conversational AI technology from Nextiva partner Inference Solutions
  • Nextiva Unity graphical dashboard for Nextiva Call Center, providing users with real-time visibility for queue activity and conditions across their call centers
 
Customer Engagement with NextOS
 
Customer engagement is a big focus, as evidenced by the NextOS platform, aimed at helping businesses understand customers and the complete customer journey, track and share customer interaction information, and understand and analyze all customer channels of communication.
As CEO Tomas Gorny told the audience: “You will go out of business unless you know, understand, and remember your customers,” adding, “more than 50% of customers will leave you because of bad customer experiences. Almost 70% of customers are willing to pay more if you deliver a better customer experience.”
 
At NextCon, Nextiva launched an entirely new version of the NextOS platform intended to help businesses know, remember, and understand all of their customers. The look and feel for the new NextOS platform embeds customer context and insight directly into the user’s view.
 
The new version of NextOS is aimed at:
 
  • Allowing users to focus solely on the conversation they are having with the customer
  • Providing the most useful, relevant customer information and context directly in the workspace, so the user can deliver faster, more personal, higher-quality service
  • Making NextOS simpler and more fun to use
Enhancements include:
 
  • Call Pop — When an incoming call arrives, users see contact and key account information, including account value, account customer experience score, last interaction sentiment, and last survey score, enabling them to personalize the way they address and resolve the customer requests.
  • Inbox — Users can see cases and leads in their Inbox similar to an email thread, allowing them to quickly preview and scroll through whatever is assigned to them, with the full context of the customer and the interaction.
  • Interactions Feed Enhancements — All inbound and outbound interactions are captured in one place and are available on all screens to enhance the conversation with the customer.
  • A Card-Based View for Opportunities — Allows users to manage opportunities visually, moving them from one stage to the next, using drag and drop.
  • Surveys in the Interactions Feed — Users can now see when a survey is sent and completed.
  • Customer Journey Widgets — New Sentiment and Customer Feedback Trend widgets embed contextual analytics within the agent’s workflow.
 
In addition, Nextiva announced Cospace, a team collaboration tool that will be part of the NextOS platform, offering team messaging, video conferencing with screen sharing, tasks, and file management. This is a capability that Nextiva has been needing for a while, and I’m glad that it's being released, as team collaboration has taken on increased importance.
 
Closing Thoughts
 
I’ve been following Nextiva for many years and have participated in several NextCons. What’s most impressive isn’t the roster of speakers or product announcements, but rather the sense of community at these events. As CMO Yaniv Masjedi noted, “We built Nextiva on the principle of caring. Caring for our employees. Caring for our customers. Caring for our community.”
 
While there was certainly a lot of product information, most of the sessions were aimed at helping partners improve their sales and consulting skills, learn to overcome obstacles, enhance corporate culture, and more. End-user customers walked away with insights as to how to transform their businesses and deliver better customer experiences using NextOS. One tweet said it best: "The general vibe of #NextCon19 was one of enthusiasm for the future." I’m looking forward to what comes next (pun intended).