In covering Verint for several years I have watched it go from selling call recording systems to adding workforce optimization software, analytics, and support for multiple channels of interaction with customers. Its latest product, Customer Engagement Optimization, increases support for customer engagement and managing the customer experience. Verint has achieved this expansion through a combination of acquisitions and in-house development. Its acquisition of Kana enabled it to go from supporting workforce optimization with some analytics to supporting multiple channels of customer engagement, workforce optimization and advanced analytics. I have written several times that this approach has its advantages – acquisitions shorten the time it takes to add new capabilities and extend the scope of the products – and disadvantages – it creates challenges in producing fully integrated products and developing a common user interface so the products are easier to use. During a recent briefing I saw that the company continues its efforts to advance in all these areas.
Its shift in focus is illustrated by three themes it has adopted for the new releases: smarter engagement, enhanced employee productivity and real-time guidance. Each of these is realized through enhancements to the core product set, more integration and enhanced user interfaces, all of which make it is easier for users to carry out tasks without having to switch between applications. To achieve this is no easy task; beneath the covers the Verint suite of products includes a technology framework, a business services platform, analytics that work on both structured and unstructured data, back- and front-office workforce optimization, and support for assisted service and self-service.
The concept of smart engagement is supported by four key developments. Recording is now more reliable and enables capture of interactions from multiple channels. The speech analytics is more accurate, provides deeper contextual understanding of content and automates the discovery of themes based on content across multiple recordings. Engagement analytics draws data from multiple data sources to support the visualization and analysis of customer journeys. Finally, the more modern user interface has widgets that help users customize the contents and appearance of their desktop for their individual needs. It also offers point-and-click capabilities to access supporting data, such as clicking to hear a recording attached to a quality monitoring record.
Four advances also support the second theme, employee productivity. The supervisor and employee quality monitoring applications have been combined to build up employee self-evaluation and automate creation of coaching sessions using data from scorecards. The point-and-click user interface facilitates access to other data and applications within the suite. Performance management enhancements enable users to define milestones and thus track improvements to key metrics over time, including alerts to indicate missed targets. Reports now can draw data from multiple applications to provide a fuller picture of each employee’s productivity.
The third focus, real-time guidance, has both new capabilities and enhancements to existing ones. Identity authentication uses voice biometrics to improve user authorization. A new voiceprint database of customers and others suspected of fraud can flag caller for investigation. The user guidance capabilities have been enhanced to assist agents in deciding what they should do or say next; this has potential to improve the customer experience. All together these enhancements give Verint’s products a more modern feel, greater integration between applications and ease of use to increase efficiency. The advances take the suite from mainly supporting the employee side of customer engagement to impacting the actual customer experience.
Two of our recent benchmark research projects, next-generation customer engagement and next-generation customer analytics, show how important enhancements like these can be to organizations. Both confirm that organizations are now supporting multiple channels of interaction with their customers, on average seven. This requirement is causing a number of issues; the most common are lack of integration of systems (for 49% of organizations), channels managed as silos (47%) and inconsistent responses across business units (33%). Using an integrated suite of products can address these and related issues. The research also shows that organizations are increasingly looking at advanced analytics to help them improve the customer experience and customer journeys. Those that have deployed such systems have seen a number of benefits, chief of which is improved customer experiences (for 55%). The impact of using such systems also can be wider reaching as organizations better align all business units carrying out customer-related tasks (51%) and improve productivity (49%). Verint Customer Engagement Optimization is underpinned by enhanced analytics that help organizations gain similar benefits. Verint has come a long way in its journey from being focused on quality monitoring and workforce management to supporting multichannel customer engagement. I recommend that organizations seeking to improve their multichannel customer experience assess how it can support those efforts.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director