Genesys CEO Paul Segre takes the acquisition track to keep pace with evolving contact center industry

Paul Segre is expanding his business through multiple purchases. (Genesys)

Paul Segre, CEO of Genesys, believes in a lot of buying—16 companies in the last six years to be exact—and he isn’t done yet.

The acquisition track taken by Genesys, which provides of software to call centers, has more than tripled revenue to nearly $1.4 billion, and Segre’s goal is to now become a $3 billion company.

Taking an aggressive approach, rather than growing organically, is necessary “to solve the types of problems we want to solve for our customers,” Segre told FierceCEO. “That takes scale and continuing to focus on the customer experience.”

Also, there is a need for Genesys to stay on its toes. “Business is good, but technology is changing really fast and customers’ expectations are changing really fast,” Segre said.

Genesys provides support for voice, chat, text and email and has 10,000 companies using its software, including Coca-Cola, which was among the 500 customers added last year.

Acquisitions the company already has under its belt are largely meant to help expand its communications capabilities and include two AI concerns. The most recent acquisition was Altocloud in February, which uses AI to assist businesses to better engage with consumers and predict their next actions.

Amid the acquisition tear, and all of the employees it brought, Segre said he realized he should “shift from managing things to becoming a leader. We were growing very fast and entering new businesses.”

To do that effectively, “You need to lead in different ways,” Segre said.

One major shift was developing a strong company culture. “I’m a big believer in high performing teams, where you need to have the best talent and people wanting to come to work and perform,” Segre said. “We shifted the culture from being command and control to being much more focused on teamwork, collaboration and innovation.”

The company’s philosophy “is that happy and engaged employees produce happy customers, as employee engagement lies at the heart of good customer experience,” said Segre. “If you want your customers to feel supported, valued, and heard, you must first ensure your front-line employees feel supported, valued, and heard.”

To enhance organizational excellence, Genesys adopted the Net Promotor System (NPS), a method and set of tools built around collaboration, culture, improvement and innovation.

“NPS offers a consistent way to track progress on customer-centric improvements and influences everything from staffing decisions to product enhancements,” Segre said.

Genesys also holds two big meetings a year for managers “to make sure we’re aligned,” Segre said.

Segre, who said he has “always been in and around telecom and software,” has been CEO of Genesys since 2012, when it was spun off from Alcatel-Lucent. For the 14 years before that, Segre held concurrent roles with Genesys and Alcatel-Lucent, including president of Genesys and president of applications for Alcatel-Lucent.

Genesys is currently owned by private equity firms Permira, Hellman & Friedman and Technology Crossover Ventures.

Fast Five with Paul Segre

When did you want to be a CEO?

Around 2005, I realized that to do the things I wanted to achieve I had to be running the show.

What is your favorite question to ask on a job interview?

I want to know what people are looking for.

What is a key trait of a leader?

Be genuine and actually lead as opposed to manage.

What keeps you up at night?

Understanding where our industry is going to be in five years and trying to be ready for it.

Where are the best places to seek new sources of revenue?

You need to grow your markets, but always be a leader.