Before IntelePeer, Frank Fawzi worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories as the lead data communications architect for a $1.4B winning bid to the IRS. Later, he would found CommTech, eventually selling it to ADC, a leading provider of broadband solutions for the telecommunications industry, for $178 million.
Frank received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Management from Stevens Institute of Technology and participated in the Wharton Executive Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also selected as a QuantumShift’s Top Entrepreneurs in America for 2017 by KPMG’s Private Markets Group and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
As the President and Chief Executive Officer at IntelePeer, Frank has been a driving force behind its growth and achieving its mission to become a dominant CPaaS provider for enterprises.
M.R. Rangaswami: How do you see customer experience evolving in this post-pandemic era? What is IntelePeer doing to get prepared?
Frank Fawzi: Primarily, during COVID, consumers moved from physical to digital interactions with businesses. And, as a result, have now learned the convenience and speed of digital interactions with a business instead of having to physically be present. As a result, companies have had to significantly increase their digital operations while maintaining the same level of personalization that a physical interaction allowed for.
And because call centers and offices were empty across the county, businesses had to pivot to a work-from-home or hybrid business model and needed to quickly find ways to continue answering customer queries while keeping both staff and customers informed about crucial business updates.
During COVID, IntelePeer leaped forward to help our customers deliver that digital customer engagement through automation, virtual agents, communication AI and chatbots. These solutions were so effective they produced both a high ROI and an improvement in customer experience at scale, and today, consumers have come to expect 24/7 availability, self-service options and seller-free experiences. In addition, consumers continue to rely on automated self-serve or interacting with a virtual agent if it means spending less time on hold.
At IntelePeer, we empower our customers with Atmosphere CPaaS, which streamlines customer interactions and engagement, allowing our clients to optimize staffing and deliver a variety of communication channels for a best-in-class customer experience (CX). Plus, by incorporating CPaaS and communications workflow automation into their cloud transition, our customers can free themselves from legacy platforms to provide personalized automation for enhanced CX.
MR: Are no-code/low-code applications the future? What advantages does such a solution give to companies that might not have a dedicated development team?
Frank: While there is debate as to whether coding and software development will become obsolete in the future due to advanced machines, for now, no-code/low-code applications make the lives of businesses with limited development resources or busy developers much easier. IntelePeer’s Atmosphere Marketplace platform offers a suite of pre-built applications that allow non-technical and technically adept people to solve business communication needs within a matter of minutes.
By eliminating drawn-out and costly development cycles, our no-code/low-code offering democratizes access to the latest communications, AI and analytics technologies that helps organizations of all sizes achieve outcomes that were once reserved only for large corporations with huge budgets. With a step-by-step and plug-and-play setup, our clients can solve their communication needs cost-effectively and rapidly. And with snap-in apps, they can integrate seamlessly with their current workflows, CRM, database, billing systems, or any other system that supports APIs.
From easily tailoring voice-enabled BOTs, intelligent routing, and setting up post-call surveys to effortlessly capture customer feedback and smoothly configuring auto-response messages, these no-code and low-code applications modernize the consumer’s communication experience. Additionally, no company’s communication strategy is safe from having its numbers get mislabeled as spam or fraud by third-party regulators. Through IntelePeer’s Reputation Management solutions, businesses can remediate mismarked numbers before significant negative impact.
MR: How have virtual assistants, chatbots and other AI solutions transformed the customer experience/ journey?
Frank: Tremendously and more advances will be delivered to fully automate customer engagement and experience. The days of massive call centers with obscene hold times are numbered and will be replaced by communication workflow automation with virtual assistants, chatbots, AI and other tools.
We now see that consumers prefer to try out self-service options before speaking with a human agent – most likely, the increased accuracy of virtual assistants, chatbots, and conversational AI solutions have given people greater confidence in solving problems on their own. However, because research shows that most customers consider their experience with an organization to be just as important as its products or services, it is paramount that those AI solutions be effective useful and comprehensive.
Virtual agents and chatbots have elevated the customer journey by delivering more human interactions via sentiment and tonality analysis, language detection and translation, and speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities. With IntelePeer’s Atmosphere SmartFlows, customers can still escalate to a live agent based on the complexity of their inquiry for the most personalized CX possible. With SmartFlows, every call or communication interaction is recorded, transcribed and available to be searched and analyzed to continue looking for opportunities to improve the customer experience in the future.
Likewise, the customer journey is becoming more complicated, as people use an average of ten channels to communicate with companies today. IntelePeer’s easily configurable and ready-to-use AI solutions help our clients meet their customers on the channels they prefer, be that SMS, voice, web, email, digital or social channels. And through actionable insights on consumers’ preferences, attitudes, and purchase behaviors, businesses can provide precise recommendations and tailored experiences.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com