Verint Speakers Urge Automation to Close the Customer Engagement Gap

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Contact centers need to rely on automation to close what Verint calls the customer engagement gap, Heather Richards, vice president of go-to-market for digital-first engagement at Verint, told a press/analyst gathering today on the second day of the Verint Engage 23 Conference in Las Vegas.

The key to closing the customer engagement gap resides in channel automation, Richards added. "Brands cannot spend their way out of the issue."

Verint estimates that it would cost the contact center industry $2 trillion more to close that gap with additional staff, which might not be available due to employment shortages across several industries.

Though many companies have their own telephony and voice solutions, these technologies are not designed to deliver CX automation.

Verint's contact-center-as-a-service platform offers that automation. The open platform provides telephony, CRM and other supporting technology designed to work across any modality, Richards said. It includes an open data engagement hub and open Verint DaVinci AI. Since it's an open platform, customers can bring in any technology elements, with the rest coming from Verint and its technology partners.

Call center technology originated from the telecom industry well before digital communications were born, said David Singer, Verint's global vice president of go-market-strategy. Though contact center has replaced call center, and digital interactions can surpass telephone interactions, many still see the telephony architecture (i.e., an Avaya switch) as the cornerstone technology.

CCaaS solutions from some competitors don';t have open platforms, Singer added.

Verint's CCaaS solution is designed to work around issues with legacy technology because companies can migrate the technologies they wany, while maintaining older technologies until they are comfortable moving those to the Verint platform. This enables companies to take advantage of increased automation of the Verint platform without needing to migrate all of the contact center's technology at once.

"We want to drive automation further into the organization," Richards added, calling end-to-end automation critical for contact centers to offer their customers quicker and better CX. 

The platform includes the following:

  • Digital and social channels integrated with existing telephony systems;
  • Intelligent routing to deliver all interactions to the right agent at the right time, regardless of channel; and
  • History and context preserved across channels for blended agents.

"Customers are having greater expectations to interact with them on their terms,” Richards said.

In one of the keynote presentations, Jenni Palocsik, vice president of marketing insights, experience, and enablement, said 16 percent of consumers and 77 percent of businesses had increased their digital channel expectations.

A consumer-centric strategy provides the ability to start an engagement on one channel and continue on another, Richards explained. It also enables people to use any channel, including email, chat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter. Eighty-five percent of companies that began using or expanding their use of digital channels for interacting with customers in the last 12 months are comfortable that they are closing the digital engagement gap, according to a Verint survey.

Highly confident business leaders are three times more likely to say or believe they have used chatbots and messaging effectively, according to Verint. Automation enables volume to grow significantly without requiring a huge budget increase or lowering engagement quality.

Additionally, highly confident business leaders were more 3.2 times more likely to effectively engage customers on digital channels; 2.9 times more likely to be highly effective when giving customers a path to self-service; 2.9 more likely to successfully implement CX automation strategies; 2.8 times more likely to improve experiences using customer feedback than their competitors, according to Palocsik.

She added that companies need to focus on delivering consistently excellent CX by doing the following:

  • Lowering contact center volume through self-service;
  • Reducing average handle time with embedded knowledge; and
  • Improving loyalty with seamless bot-driven experiences across channels.

Though the trend is toward self-service and digital channels, Singer added that the bots and other automation in the CCaaS platform are not intended as replacements for human staff but instead to augment human staff. With the automation, human employees can focus on value-added activities rather than the mundane tasks that can be easily automated and handled more quickly and efficiently by a bot.

Through Verint Realization Services, companies can regain focus on the desired business outcomes and promote standardized application usage, processes, and the governance needed to ensure continuous value creation, Palocsik said.

The services are designed to take a broader look how companies can benefit from CCaaS and other Verint technologies, with the following:

  • Value Discovery: Provides a recommendation roadmap and business case for change to ensure value creation from Verint solutions.
  • WFE technical architecture health check: Enables companies to assess the availability, reliability, and speed of their Verint environments to help keep IT systems running smoothly, providing the knowledge of best practices across multiple industries.

Companies will benefit from closing the customer engagement gap, Richards said. In fact, those that fail to close the gap are likely to lose customers to competitors who are successful in improving CX.

By this time next year, Singer expects CCaaS to be much better known in the customer service world, with Verint's version of it improved with more features and more deeply embedded AI to offer more benefits to its customers and better experiences for consumers and businesses alike.

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