Verint has been a major player in the workforce optimization and voice of the customer (VoC) feedback markets for several years. As I noted in a previous analysis, its major challenges stem from the fact that its product portfolio has come about largely through a series of acquisitions, which has led to integration and user interface issues. Verint has been steadily addressing these by taking an information-driven approach and adding extensive analytics capabilities to the overall portfolio. Recently it has begun developing what it calls “business impact solutions,” the first of which I have written about. These offerings combine a number of individual products into predefined, prepackaged bundles that address some of the common business issues companies face, including personalized guidance of agents on the next best action, call avoidance and cost to serve. During recent briefings I learned that Verint is continuing down this path with two new releases.
The first, called Voice of the Employee, addresses employee engagement. It uses the same Verint product that collects customer feedback except here it is tailored to capture feedback from employees. Companies can collect feedback through a variety of channels and methods (for instance, surveys and text messages) and then analyze that data using text analytics, delivering real-time insight to managers and supervisors. In addition, because the two offerings use the same base, employee feedback data can be combined with customer feedback so companies can see connections between employee performance and satisfaction on one hand and customer experience and satisfaction on the other. The product also raises alerts and action so users can take action based on the results. In this way companies can discover employee issues, see how they are impacting customers and take corrective actions to address both the employee and the customer sides of the process. My research into the agent desktop shows how vital this information is: Very satisfied agents twice as often as unsatisfied agents meet targets for key performance metrics such as first-contact resolution and net promoter and customer effort scores.
Similarly, Verint’s second release focuses on closing process loops and linking enterprise feedback and case management. It enables companies to collect feedback through multiple channels and tie it to advanced case management. A rules-based engine triggers the creation of a case based on predefined rules, which could be related to one or multiple issues, a collection of related issues or a trend over time. Case management then manages and tracks the case to conclusion, including raising alerts if actions aren’t taken in time, changing priorities and reporting progress. The process ensures that the customer is kept up to date and that the company takes actions to address the issue and prevent it from recurring. These capabilities aim to close the loop across the enterprise, something my research on the agent desktop shows is increasing in importance as more business units engage with customers. The research shows that three of the top five customer service challenges stem from inconsistencies across the enterprise: activities aren’t coordinated, best practices aren’t followed and metrics are inconsistent. The new capabilities Verint offers can help address all of these issues, and I recommend that companies consider the products as they seek to improve multichannel customer experiences.
In addition, Verint also announced an extended agreement between Verint and British Telecom that will make the full Verint Workforce Optimization Suite available to companies through cloud-based services. This move will be attractive to companies of all sizes. Although my research shows that the majority of companies are still ambivalent about how they source new systems, many have overcome early objections to the cloud and are taking this option to manage customer interactions. My most recent research shows this is especially true for smaller companies that don’t have the resources or cash to deploy on-premises systems.
Much is made of the link between the performance of agents or anyone else engaging with customers and customer satisfaction. I have been covering contact centers and customer experience for a long time, organizations have said that improving customer satisfaction is the foremost driver for their customer service practices. But our research repeatedly shows few companies living up to this objective, something that is supported by independent consumer surveys as well. Verint’s new products are notable because, as I mentioned earlier, my research shows a direct link between agent satisfaction and business outcomes of interactions. As it continues to improve its products and services, I hope more companies take up the challenge, turn words into action and examine how these new developments can help with those efforts.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director