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The Genesis of Customer Experience Technology

According to Lee-Kwen, who manages a team of about 250 engineers across 10 locations worldwide, York Region is one of the key sites for the company and it will be growing in the near future.

This article is part of our Dream Big(ger): York Region’s Innovators series. This series aims to create awareness and understanding of the robust innovation ecosystem in York Region, and takes a dive into the stories of local entrepreneurs and how they’re shaking up their industries.

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Home to a slew of innovative software companies, some global and others homegrown, York Region is where California-based Genesys chose to centralize its research and development division after the acquisition of a local startup.

Each year, through the cloud and a combination of digital and artificial intelligence technologies, the business with multiple outposts handles billions of customer interactions in more than 100 countries, for over 7,000 companies.

In fact, if you’ve ever contacted Microsoft, PayPal or Ticketmaster for customer support, you’ve already interacted with Genesys without even knowing it. The company leverages technology to provide customer experience agents with super-human powers.

“In terms of AI, we try to provide human agents with super capabilities to respond to customers as they’re interacting with them, in real time, in an informed and empathetic manner. This way, the agent can provide intelligent feedback quickly, and not be distracted,” says Adrian Lee-Kwen, the senior vice-president of engineering at Genesys.

“We also provide tools to coach and evaluate their performance, so that we can improve it.”

According to Lee-Kwen, who manages a team of about 250 engineers across 10 locations worldwide, York Region is one of the key sites for the company and it will be growing in the near future.

The York Region office, which was created as a result of the acquisition of a startup called VoiceGenie Technologies in 2006, currently acts as the hub for the Workforce Engagement Management unit within Genesys Cloud CX.

Genesys’s R&D team is looking to expand globally, with about one-third of that head count coming to the York Region office.

“The R&D team is actually growing, and they are looking to expand by about 15 per cent globally, with one-third of that head count in Markham, which is in contrast to a lot of other software companies that aren’t expanding during these times,” Lee-Kwen says.

“The fact that we’re choosing to locate one-third of this expansion here is actually very positive for Markham.”

The company received a $580 million investment by Salesforce, ServiceNow and Zoom in December 2021, and was recently rated by The Software Report as the fourth top software company in the world.

It also recently made the top 50 Best Workplaces in Canada list, along with two other companies in Markham — Hyundai and Astellas Pharma Canada, Inc. Genesys placed 28th on the national list.

Interestingly, the automotive industry is one of Genesys’s key partners in York Region.

“We do hackathons with a lot of the car companies in Markham that are doing R&D locally,” says Lee-Kwen. “They work with us on proof of concepts during these hackathons, so you can imagine what we’re able to come up with, with everyone collaborating.”

A design event meant to result in functioning software by the end of it, hackathons are like innovation marathons for software specialists, which makes York Region the ideal place for Genesys to hold them.

The area, which has a solid ecosystem of multinational auto parts manufacturers, auto-focused technology companies and supply chain and logistics partners, is also home to Canada’s largest automotive innovation hub, the General Motors Canadian Technical Centre in Markham.

Proximity to the University of Waterloo is another major bonus for the company, which also has a large sales presence in the region, in addition to its R&D presence. “In terms of the talent in technology, one of the reasons Markham has done well for Genesys is the University of Waterloo,” Lee-Kwen says.

“There are also some key sales partners in the area, such as ConvergeOne.”

Big, small, simple or complex, there are all types of businesses that Genesys works with to improve their customer experience, as well as help address the core employment issues affecting the call centre industry post-pandemic, which include scheduling and forecasting — an inherently complex problem for most large companies — as well as reducing agent turnover.

“The key focus of our products is to increase forecast accuracy and improve schedule efficiency when staffing these contact centres in a way that is intuitive to our users. Our solution is taking into consideration seasonality, business complexity, shift rules, agents’ skillsets, preferences and expertise to meet business needs. It’s a delicate balancing act that leverages continuous advancements in artificial intelligence, operations research and data science,” says Lee-Kwen.

“Security is very important as well.”

As a key provider of customer experience software for major banking institutions, Genesys Cloud CX provides security across the board. It exceeds modern security standards with external penetration testing, attack defence automation, TLS and AES-256 encryption, on all phone, email, chat, text and social channels.

To find out more about Genesys, visit genesys.com.