Customer Focused Growth: Jeff Cotten
New Alvaria CEO Jeff Cotten is driving the customer experience specialist toward market leadership through what he describes as an ‘old formula’.
Alvaria was formed in 2021 when two customer service and workforce management giants – Noble Systems and Aspect Software – came together with a bold ambition to become the world leader in enterprise-scale customer experience (CX) and employee engagement solutions.
The name ‘Alvaria’ was derived from the Latin for ‘hives’ as they’re considered nature’s perfect form and have thrived for millions of years.
The company’s commitment to market dominance was underlined a year later in June 2022 when industry veteran Jeff Cotten, a specialist in culture-driven, customer-focused growth in technology sectors, was lured from Tenfold to become CEO.
"Noble and Aspect were both leaders in what’s called an outbound contact center, where lots of people are either outbounding to try and sell products, or engaging in a proactive, outbound way," Cotten says.
"Aspect particularly had some real strengths in workforce management, which was really interesting and one of the first things that attracted me."
I very much believe in the old formula, which is if you build a highly engaged employee culture, then they’ll in turn take good care of your customers.
Transforming customer experience
He also saw that Alvaria was at an exciting point when, despite the impressive credentials of its constituent parts, it still felt like a new enterprise hungry for new opportunities.
"It’s an organization that’s been through a phase of its journey all about stabilization, transition and transformation. Now we’re ready to go for market leadership and growth," he says.
"My experience and expertise is in how to scale organizations. It’s something I’m very passionate about. The other thing that really attracted me is that we have an unbelievable customer and employee base – many of them with us for more than 20 or even 30 years – which just blew me away because culture’s everything for me."
Alvaria may be about transforming its clients’ approach to customer experience, but Cotten is adamant that you can’t achieve that without motivating the staff first.
"I very much believe in the old formula, which is if you build a highly engaged employee culture, then they’ll in turn take good care of your customers," he explains. "And if you get that right, then your financials will benefit and it’ll cause shareholder growth."
Part of that process is ensuring Alvaria provides the right employee experience grounded in a powerful company mission and purpose with clear and achievable goals and objectives.
"That all comes full circle because we’re an enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) company in the customer and employee experience segment, and the employee work environment is changing rapidly especially in the customer contact center," Cotten explains.
"We’re now using our own workforce management and employee experience products internally to make our employees day-to-day better, which allows us to rapidly innovate making our product better."
"One of the things we’re really excited about is that everyone’s talking about AI," Cotten says.
"We take a very pragmatic approach to it as, in the CX space, we can really differentiate and deliver true benefits by making our clients’ agents provide customer service that’s smarter, better and faster. How we empower them through AI is going to be a very big opportunity."
An important weapon in that battle is a more flexible approach to the products it can offer than its rivals.
"We’re going to approach the market as a ‘best-of-breed’ and provide customers with choice," he says. "A lot of our competitors are driving customers to a monolithic end-to-end standardized public cloud product.
"That’s all OK, and we also offer end-to-end capability, but if someone just wants our workforce engagement management (WEM) platform then that’s OK too. What we would tell them is that our WEM product is the most feature-rich enterprise grade product in the market and they should make sure they think about whether an all-in-one product can scale with their employee size."
It’ll open up tremendous partnership opportunities, which is very different from how we’ve worked in the past.
But that’s not the only way Alvaria is demonstrating its unique approach. By offering tailored solutions with configuration options and allowing customers deployment choice, be it on a customer’s premise environment, in an enterprise private cloud environment or in a SaaS public cloud environment, Alvaria can plug its customers’ knowledge and technology gaps so they’re operating in the optimum way.
"Our best-of-breed approach combined with unique enterprise grade configuration options will open up tremendous partnership opportunities, which is very different from how we’ve worked in the past," he reveals.
"We are a channel-centric, customer and employee experience software organization working with leading-edge companies across the globe, providing them our workforce engagement management offering or our expert compliant outbound dialing capability because, perhaps, they are in need of resource optimization and productivity, or are in a highly regulated space and don’t have some of those strengths."
The approach is already paying dividends, proving that Alvaria is living up to its Latin meaning and providing customers with a service that’s perfect for their needs.