Verint Locks in Customer Experience Focus

The pressure customer engagement professionals faced during the last year was astounding, Dan Bodner, CEO of Verint, said during his keynote to open the virtual Verint Engage 21 conference yesterday. 

"As the world changed around you, you continued to serve your customers in new and different ways while balancing the needs of your employees. Verint is also making changes to accelerate innovation and serve you better with your current and future needs," Bodner said, pointing to the company's spinoff of its cybersecurity business to focus on its customer engagement offerings.

Verint announced plans to spin off its cyber intelligence business into a separate company in December 2019, and that transaction was completed earlier this year with the creation of Cognyte Software.

"With that change, we're able to dedicate 100 percent of our focus on helping you build enduring customer relationships and ensure the success of your brand. When it comes to choosing a partner for your long-term roadmap, I firmly believe that Verint is the right choice," Bodner said.

Bodner added that the company's commitment to deliver artificial intelligence innovation to help customers increase efficiencies and elevate customer experiences has not wavered. 

"We believe customer experience is the heartbeat of the global brand, and by infusing AI innovation across our application platform, we're helping our customers discover possibilities barely mentioned a few years ago," he said

Bodner added that an open platform is key for businesses to navigate the rapid changes that come with digital transformation. 

The acceleration of digital transformation is to drive significant change across the enterprise, Bodner said.  Customer journeys occur across a variety of channels across the enterprise. This disrupts existing workflows and requires a new way of work.

To that end, Verint used the online virtual event to unveil several new solutions  to help companies with their customer engagement in this increasing digital environment. These solutions, which are part of the Verint Cloud Platform, include the following:

  • Real-Time Agent Assist, which combines in-the-moment AI analysis of customer interactions and agent desktop activities in real time to automatically detect moments of truth, including customer complaints, escalations, positive and negative sentiment, long silences, interruptions, compliance risks, and coaching opportunities. Agents and managers receive real-time guidance, alerts, and coaching with next-best-action recommendations and insights on how to improve interactions.
  • Contextual Knowledge, which uses patented AI to create a more automated, natural and effective way to connect people to answers. The solution automatically surfaces AI-infused contextual knowledge in real time so that agents and managers can respond with the right answer avoiding long searches.
  • Verint Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) for Agent Assist, which provides human agents with AI-powered continuous support during calls and chats and allows agents to improve average handle time, response accuracy, compliance, training time, and customer experience. The solution eliminates escalations to managers and manual searches for answers as it learns each business and its respective processes to intelligently support the workforce.

These three solutions are all powered by Verint DaVinci AI and Analytics, which infuses advanced machine learning models, natural language processing, intent models, and analytics engines into the Verint Customer Engagement Cloud Platform and solutions portfolio. 

"Customers and employees need answers at the speed of now, and that's why real-time work solutions and strategies are a huge focus of our Future of Work theme at our customer conference this year," Celia Fleischaker, chief marketing officer of Verint, said in a statement. "As organizations seek to resolve the engagement capacity gap, they need solutions to help with understanding and acting on rapidly changing customer behaviors, while managing the growth in volume of customer interactions, the two biggest challenges voiced by respondents in our survey conducted in November-December 2020. As well, they are empowering employees to be successful in the modern workforce, where rapid innovation in AI and analytics is shaping the future of work in customer engagement."

Verint also highlighted research that found the following:

  • Eighty-two percent of businesses believe the challenges of managing customer engagement will grow in 2021
  • Seventy-four percent of companies didn't add customer engagement professionals last year, with many decreasing their workforces in this area.
  • Half of professionals aren’t prepared for post-COVID engagement challenges. 
  • Three of the top five business priorities for the next 12 months relate to customer engagement.
  • Fifty-eight percent of executives expect to invest heavily in cloud-based customer engagement and experience solutions .

"Digital transformation was accelerating in 2020, which was having an effect on customer engagement," explained Nancy Porte, Verint's vice president of global customer experience. "There were also changes in customer behavior. Expectations continued to rise, but they also took a right turn in a number of different ways."

With contact center work being disrupted as well, Porte described 2020 as the perfect storm for that profession and for business leaders in general.

But the change didn't just effect workers in the industry. Colin Shaw, author of Building Great Customer Experiences, said the past year saw customer behavior change like never before. 

Shaw pointed out that Winston Churchill, despite his leadership during World War II, wasn’t re-elected because people wanted something different. The same thing is happening now. People want some return to pre-pandemic engagements with companies, though they will still stay with many of the digital ways of interacting they adopted during the pandemic.

Shaw said that the customer engagement gap is "really concerning, but not surprising. There's a massive opportunity to enter this new world and build the experiences that customers want. There are too many organizations that have put their foot on the brake and have pulled off. They're going to be overtaken." 

Shaw added that businesses should be looking six months to a year ahead, but the Verint findings show that many businesses instead are still far too cautious.

"We know that there has always been a gap between what customers expect and what businesses are delivering," Shaw said. "Hopefully, the whole concept around customer experience is to close that gap."

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