SalesTechStar Interview with Dan Mitzner, CMO at Zenarate

Dan Mitzner, CMO at Zenarate discusses the AI revolution and how it’s impacting contact center operations in this short Q&A with SalesTechStar:


Hi Dan, welcome to this SalesTechStar chat. Tell us about yourself and more about your role at Zenarate…

My name is Dan Mitzner, and I joined Zenarate this past year as the CMO. I’ve spent the past 15+ years in B2B SaaS companies, like Oracle and SendGrid, leading various functions within marketing, including product marketing, events, branding, etc.  I’m passionate about bringing solutions to market that deliver a utilitarian value to businesses while also delivering value to those businesses’ daily users. Zenarate is a great example of this in that the companies we partner with derive great business value from deploying our AI Coach platform while their users, the contact center agents, also directly benefit from their daily platform use.

Can you share your views on the evolving AI space and how it’s especially leading to disruption for contact centers? 

I’ve seen many new AI tech concepts trying to find a foothold in the market and most existing B2B SaaS attempting to work AI into their existing solutions. No question, it feels like the current “gold rush,” and everyone’s trying to find their vein of gold.

Like many tech trends in recent history, there are those who will find great utility in their application of AI and those who apply it for the sake of the trend. In contact centers specifically, there are numerous, highly utilitarian ways that AI can disrupt how businesses approach their customer-facing experiences via voice and chatbots, CSAT and other KPI analyses, and, most importantly, agent development. At the end of the day, most customer experiences will still be delivered through humans, and the best use of AI will be to make those humans better at their jobs.

How can today’s contact center leaders use AI coaching platforms more effectively to drive better processes and, in the end, create experiences for end users/customers?

AI development platforms, such as Zenarate’s AI Coach, are a powerful new way to efficiently and effectively handle the full development cycle for contact center agents. Like flight simulators used to train pilots, simulation training for contact center agents helps them practice life-like scenarios before engaging with customers. From hiring to training to ongoing coaching and improvement, contact center leaders now have the ability to:

  • Improve Hiring – Run potential hires through a simulated call that the candidate would see in the field as part of the hiring process
  • Drive Quality and Consistency – Guarantee their newly onboarded agents are trained in their company’s unique call skills, requirements, and best practices
  • Speed up Onboarding – Dramatically shortens the training time to proficiency while developing agent soft skills like active listening and empathy
  • Improve the Agent Experience – Provide their agents with the confidence of having handled every call scenario before ever talking to a live customer
  • Grow Agents – Identify skill gaps for live and tenured agents for continuous improvement

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What are some of the biggest skills that are lacking in modern contact centers today and how can AI enable or fill these gaps?

Two things come to mind. First and foremost are empathy skills. Every contact center understands that the key to positive customer experiences and CSAT comes from customers who feel that the agents helping them understand their situation, empathize with it, and can help them solve their problems. The last 20 years or so saw the wave of chatbots and non-human systems for handling customer issues, and now, studies show that those customers prefer connecting with live agents and trust those agents to solve their issues. That stems from the need for empathy and human connection.

The second area they need to prioritize is problem-solving skills. Customer calls are only getting more complex, often branching from one issue to another, and contact center agents need to be able not only to solve commonly known issues but also diagnose and offer solutions to more complex call scenarios.

The important thing to note is that these are agent skills, not just memorized responses. Traditional training and even more basic AI simulation tools still focus on training agents to memorize scripts and keywords. The real impact for contact centers comes from developing these critical skills that agents can apply regardless of call type or scenario in their own words to create an authentic customer experience.

Can you talk about some of Zenarate’s most innovative AI features and how it enables better internal coaching?

Zenarate’s AI Coach is the leading AI Simulation Development platform on the market for Contact Centers for a number of critical reasons. Here are a few examples:

First is our all-in-one platform approach to agent development. Our platform is designed to connect new agent training, live agent assessment, and ongoing coaching for a unified and consistent approach to agent development.

Second is what lies under the hood, so to speak. Our platform is designed to train agents on the desired call skills, not just train them to memorize keywords and scripts. Using Natural Language Understanding and Natural Language Processing allows us to move beyond basic transcription and keyword-based simulation training and offer agents life-like simulated role play that truly develops the skills they need to succeed.

Our thoughtfully designed agent journey delivers the best experience for agent training and coaching with our three-step learning journey:

1) Learners observe a Best Practice Example, which allows them to see and hear a pre-recorded role play that illustrates custom call skills throughout the conversation & screen navigation.

2) Guided simulations where learners practice call skills in realistic role plays, which prompts them directionally (unscripted) on what to say to the customer and what corresponding step to perform on their screen throughout the conversation.

3) Learners practice call skills Unguided Roleplay, which allows them to showcase the skills they learned navigating through the customer conversation and corresponding screens independently without any guidance. Zenarate AI Coach will step in to provide in-the-moment coaching where the learner falls short of expectations until they master every skill and perform the simulation with no coaching moments.

Finally, the AI Coach Reporting capabilities are unmatched in their flexibility and data-rich reporting, arming leaders with comprehensive dashboards and insights that can be customized to their needs.

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A few thoughts on the future of AI before we wrap up…

I believe this current trend with AI will continue to flourish, and we’ll continue to see a wave of innovations and new products across all industries. Obviously, there’s a fair amount of trepidation about what some bad actors may attempt to do with it, but overall, I am confident that we’ll surface applications that deliver great value to their human users, and those will be the ones that rise to the top.

Zenarate AI Coach helps leading brands develop confident top-performing agents through AI Simulation Training. Zenarate’s AI Coach is used worldwide every day in over a dozen countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Philippines, India, and Europe in 15 languages. Zenarate customers include leading companies in financial services, healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, technology, retail, and travel industries.

Dan Mitzner is CMO at Zenarate

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