Verint says “Simplify, Modernize, Automate”
After three days of attending Verint Engage 2018, attendees may feel they have three words tattooed to their foreheads - Simplify, Modernize, and Automate. Management stressed these key points in all their presentations, and the theme carried through in the workshops, customer case studies, roundtables, and demos that followed.
With sales of $1.15 billion and over 5,000 employees, Verint is one of the giants of the industry. The company is best known for pioneering the workforce optimization concept and is now broadening its focus to encompass all points of interaction in the customer engagement process. Engage is Verint’s annual conference of customers, employees, thought leaders, and partners from around the world. The conference was held May 14 through the 16 in Dallas. Approximately 1,500 people from 16 countries were in attendance. Companies use these annual events to share best practices, build excitement among employees and customers, launch new products and service initiatives, and network. Verint used this venue to drive home the meaning of Simplify, Modernize, and Automate as it pertains to driving profitability and enhancing engagement among employees and customers.
Simplify addresses applications and processes that impede problem-solving by introducing unnecessary complications. User interfaces are a common example. Agents and supervisors often must interact with multiple screens and applications and deal with inconsistent menus and navigation paths. The same for administrators, particularly if they must manage multiple locations and siloed applications. Verint works closely with end users to identify and resolve any issues with the interface.
Simplify also refers to the manner of acquiring and managing technology solutions. Verint’s approach is to offer many options. They pride themselves on offering what management believes is the broadest solution suite in the industry. There are also multiple ways to acquire Verint solutions. While offering a broad range of solutions and acquisition options may seem counterintuitive to achieving simplicity, Verint’s approach is to make sure that all the applications work together harmoniously. Because Verint solutions are open, easy to deploy, and simple to use, they can reduce complexity. They also provide out-of-the-box integrations to protect organizations’ existing investments.
A spokesperson from Alorica, a global business services company that specializes in consulting and outsourcing for the healthcare, telecommunications, financial services and other sectors, explained how Verint speech analytics software paired with Verint recording software creates an integrated and simple approach to identifying efficiency opportunities and optimizing performance. Alorica is finding that by focusing on specific call drivers and sentiment indicators, they can reduce the time needed to handle specific transactions and improve customer satisfaction. As a result, Alorica will be able to continue to create insanely great customer experiences. . . one interaction at a time, just faster and more effectively.
Businesses need to modernize but must also preserve their significant investments in legacy software. In many cases the software was developed in-house, making it very difficult to maintain or integrate with other enterprise applications. Verint’s extensive library of integrations allows businesses to ease their way into today’s high-tech world by taking things one step at a time. Customers can even gradually transition to the cloud at their own pace, while simultaneously operating their existing on-premises systems.
McKesson is an industry-leading distributor of pharmaceuticals. The company has sales of more than $200 billion and is ranked sixth on the Fortune 500 list. McKesson Specialty Health, a business unit within McKesson Corporation, has 3,000 contact center seats at multiple locations. Working with Verint, McKesson managers worked out a plan to transition to a platform from which they could add applications such as workforce management and analytics. An important goal was to capture every interaction and invest in analytics to “learn what they don’t know.” Their transition to Verint’s cloud architecture enabled them to add new applications when they needed them, and the ability to centrally manage the WFO applications was a valuable plus.
The third leg of Verint’s three-legged stool is automate. The contact center space has long pioneered automation, going back to the invention of the automatic call distributor in the 1970s. Today we can go a lot further with maturation of advanced speech and data analytics and artificial intelligence. Verint robotic process automation (RPA), for example, offloads manual work and shifts employees to more value-added processes. Besides boosting productivity RPA reduces compliance risk by decreasing or eliminating human error. Verint’s automated quality management application greatly lowers the time and labor cost of conducting quality evaluations and improves accuracy by scoring 100% of calls rather than a tiny statistically insignificant sample.
Alight Solutions, a large company specializing in benefits administration, cloud-based human resource, financial solutions and customer experience solutions, used Verint technology to develop “Lisa,” a chat bot that helps employees enroll for benefits. A big part of Alight’s business is benefits administration. Crunch time is every fall, when many employers require their people to sign up for benefits. Alight gets two million calls during these peak months. They needed a solution to support online employees, so they can find their answers and navigate the benefits sites more efficiently, while helping them avoid calling the call center unnecessarily, which also requires large temporary surges in call center employment. Benefits and HR has a language of its own, and it is very difficult and costly to train people on benefits and HR administration for short-term employment. Lisa is a chat bot that understands benefits and HR language. It answers questions, helps employees navigate the self-service application and directs callers to the right escalation resources. For employees who prefer to speak with a live agent, Lisa can automatically schedule callbacks or schedule appointments. By using the Lisa chat bot, Alight was able to reduce web chat traffic by as much as 70 percent. Follow-up research showed the many employees thought they were dealing with a real person.
Verint’s Engage conference was very successful. Attendees were enthusiastic, and several of the workshops were standing room only. As an industry analyst or practitioner, I have followed the contact center space for over 20 years. These past five years have seen a veritable explosion of new technologies, applications, and acquisition options. Examples, such as Lisa, are certain to become more common and more versatile as the technology continues to advance to the point where these virtual agents can virtually think for themselves. The question is to what extent customers will accept automation as a substitute for live customer service. Given public response to IVR menus there is a lot of resistance to poorly administered automation. According to Verint’s Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of global marketing and executive sponsor of the Verint Customer Experience Program, “Technology continues to shape the way people engage with organizations, both as customers and employees. However, organizations must strike the right balance between technology and automation on one hand and human interactions on the other.”