Since 2021, Verint’s message to the customer experience community has focused on the “engagement capacity gap,” a way of describing how the available resources for CX clash with the high level of customer expectations. The argument is that efforts to close that gap require a rethink of how contact centers (and their parent organizations) operate and plan.
At Verint’s December analyst conference, the company put forward its latest ideas for using technology to overcome the challenges posed by changes in customer behavior and the opportunities for engaging them. In Verint’s view, there are four elements that can help close the capacity gap: augmenting human agents with greater use of bots, better connecting silos throughout the organization, using automation to design and orchestrate better interactions and using data and artificial intelligence analytics at the core of all of these approaches.
To get a handle on these service needs, Verint has divided its portfolio into three broad sections. The first is aimed at encouraging digital-first customer engagement. This goes beyond simply adding digital channels to the contact center mix. Being a digital-first organization means amplifying the use of all sorts of digital resources, especially at the agent’s point of contact. For example, the company described its significant work over the past year to improve how its knowledge management applications interact with the agent user interface, and how self-service customers can access relevant information on their own.
The second product pillar is workforce engagement, an area in which Verint has been a leader for decades. Industrywide, traditional contact center workforce tools are being reconceived to incorporate smarter features based on AI, especially in the area of quality evaluation and interaction demand forecasting. And post-pandemic, many organizations are trying to establish new standards for how to engage (and retain) remote workers.
Today’s CX efforts require more thinking about the relationship between humans and automated systems, including the kinds of training and skills development required to handle more complex and diverse customer needs. Verint leaders repeatedly described automation as the key to further scaling contact center operations, pointing to integrated bot and human conversations and to data resources that funnel relevant contextual information to both agents and customers. They suggested that advanced bot containment rates can be as high as 50% (if not higher), which tracks with the anecdotal results we have seen in the field. And that’s a significant improvement from previous interactive voice response systems that were able to contain or deflect about 30% of interactions. Ventana Research asserts that by 2026, one-half of all customer interactions will be entirely handled by automated systems, with no human in the loop, helping minimize the cost impacts of increasing volume.
The third key element is engagement data – a catchall term for the wide variety of data from multiple sources that bear on who a customer is, what she wants and how best to interact with her. Verint’s solution is the Engagement Data Hub, a platform service that functions much like a customer data platform or customer relationship management system in capturing and serving up often unstructured data that generally sits in silos across the organization. The key difference between Verint’s data hub and other tools like CDPs is the range of data types collected, especially the inclusion of employee-engagement and behavioral data to the mix.
One argument that resonated with analysts (and with the end user customers who were also on hand to share their insights) is that there has been a shift in the way buyers prioritize key elements of their contact center or CX tech stacks. Instead of starting with telephony and interaction routing, many organizations have adopted a more flexible, “bring your own telephony” approach more aligned with advanced cloud communication offerings. When the core routing system is de-emphasized, an organization is freer to weigh the merits of different business application platforms as the first priority. That means that CX vendors with a strong platform based on AI, machine learning and workflow automation can help buyers think about building better processes. This leaves buyers confident that the underlying routing will integrate with those applications and serve CX needs that touch sales teams, marketers and back-office workers, in addition to the contact center workforce.
Verint CEO Dan Bodner was on hand to provide a view into the company’s performance and strategy. He indicated that the company is seeing an overall increase in contract value for cloud solutions, suggesting that larger enterprises are finally taking serious steps to migrate CX and contact center systems to cloud and hybrid platforms.
Finally, the company provided a deep dive into a significant overhaul of its partner programs. The partnership ecosystem is being expanded, with new tools for helping partners work faster and with more visibility into performance.
Verint demonstrated a commitment to transparency and detail in its analyst presentations, clarifying the roadmap priorities to provide assurance that its messaging matches its functional capabilities. And it went to great lengths to articulate how the work it has done across a number of technology development areas contributes to both the closing of the capacity gap and more effective enterprise CX strategy for its customers.
For more information on related subjects, see the recent Analyst Perspective on Optimizing Customer Communication Channels, or visit our Customer Experience Expertise Area.