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Verint is an established vendor of contact center systems. Its portfolio of products includes digital customer engagement, knowledge management, agent desktop, workforce optimization (for which it was recently rated the top vendor in the Ventana Research 2016 Value Index), voice of the customer and multiplevr_wfo_vi_hotvendor_2016 forms of analytics – including text. Verint has built its portfolio through internal developments and acquisitions, the latest of which is OpinionLab. This merger adds two significant capabilities to its already extensive voice of the customer capabilities, giving organizations the ability to measure customer feedback across all channels, including digital.

The first feature enables organizations to insert a “click to give feedback” button into their digital channels, such as the website or a mobile app. Using it customers can give feedback proactively as they encounter features on the digital channel; clicking on the button causes a comment card to pop up into which they can enter comments. These inputs are captured and analyzed in real time using Verint’s existing text analytics tool.

With the second capability the system can be programmed to take action based on customers’ comments. For example, based on the analysis,

  • Further information can be extracted from a knowledge base to give the customer an immediate, contextual response.
  • The system can generate a personalized response through the same or an alternate channel.
  • It also can generate a customer service ticket to ensure the issue is followed up.
  • Furthermore, it can be used as input to the agent assessment process so, for example, a task can be created to deliver specific agent coaching.

Overall this process effectively turns the usual customer feedback process upside down, moving from the organization soliciting feedback to the customer initiating it.

Our benchmark research into customer feedback management shows the importance of understanding issues customers have with the range of how their interactions are vr_cfm_benefits_of_capturing_customer_feedback_updatedhandled, as well as related issues. Although the most commonly cited benefit is improved customer satisfaction and loyalty (for 65%), feedback can be used to drive improvement in products and services (45%), focus training and coaching and improve back-office processes (37%). However, the research also highlights a major issue in that the majority of companies don’t have a consistent process for acting on feedback; in the worst case 4 percent don’t take any action.

Verint already offers several methods of ensuring that action is taken on feedback, and as it integrates OpinionLab into its portfolio, more are planned. There is an old expression familiar to computer users that says, “rubbish in, rubbish out”; applied to customer feedback I take this to mean that feedback collected and not used is pointless. I fail to see how organizations can have a plan to improve customer experience if they don’t understand the consequences of how they engage with customers in each and every channel. Verint enables organizations to collect feedback from any source and take action on it. So I recommend to any company that wants to develop an information-driven plan for customer experience management that it assess how Verint can help those efforts.

Regards,

Richard Snow

VP & Research Director Customer Engagement

Follow Me on Twitter  and Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Robotics is nothing new to some aspects of manufacturing and the IT industry, but it is relatively new in the customer experience (CX) market. The term often conjures up images of little gray machines taking over tasks previously handled by humans – machines making cars, programmed vacuum cleaners and the like. In the CX space, however, we are not talking about machines but about software that can automate routine tasks. For the time being, I don’t believe robots will take over the contact center and replace human agents. Indeed our recent research into next-generation contact centers in the cloud strongly suggests the opposite. It shows that the telephone is still the top channel of communication and that almost two-thirds (62%) of organizations expect call volumes to rise over the next 24 months. Thus agents will continue to handle large volumes of interactions, which may become more complex.

This complexity, plus demanding consumer expectations, requires organizations to handle interactions efficiently and capably or risk losing customers and/or business opportunities. This opens up the opportunity for organizations to take advantage of robotic process automation. NICE, a longtime contact center systems vendor, has offered real-time process automation since 2001, and it recently launched a new product in this market. It now has three products in this space – desktop analytics, desktop automation and its latest, robotic process automation. NICE Desktop Analytics captures information about what agents, or other designated users, do on their desktop, including systems they access, information they look up, data they enter, information they give callers, and systems they update after finishing calls. The analytics enables organizations to track the four basic components of a call – identifying the caller, identifying the caller’s issue, providing a response and completing any required after call work. The analytics component thus can identify best practices for interaction handling and agent performance, and recommend changes to processes or coaching and training.

NICE Real-Time Decisioning helps organizations improve interaction-handling processes. It can, for example, take an account code or calling number and automatically present the customer’s data to the person handling the interaction. This set can include demographic data, financial data, marketing, sales or service data, and an interaction history. It can then take data entered by the person handling the interaction to look up other relevant information; for example, if the caller is asking about a product this information can be automatically popped onto the desktop. The system includes rules and algorithms that suggest what the person should do next to ensure the best outcome of the interaction. The system can also complete some basic after-call work such as updating other systems. This is where robotic automation comes into play.

Either by using analytics or by observation, users can identify processes to be automated. NICE Robotic Automation includes tools for users to map the process, and then develop “robots” – software that includes algorithms and is driven by rules and data – that can automate the process; for example, the software can populate name and address changes across multiple systems, complete claims forms, initiate customer onboarding or send personalized messages. The tools use point-and-click techniques, so robots can be developed by business users with minimal assistance from IT. A robot can be initiated because it detects a trigger (data received) or is kicked off by what NICE calls the  “robot controller,” a person designated to manage the operation of robots It then runs in a virtual environment until the process is complete, when it either picks up another task or is terminated. The system is highly scalable: The number of robots can be scaled up or down to match the number of tasks to be carried out. The product also includes multiple security options that program robots to comply with specified regulations.

At one point in my career I worked for a partner at a management consultancy who was famed for saying, “Software makes bad processes go wrong more quickly.” This is often true, and NICE’s process automation is about achieving the exact opposite – creating smart processes that run more efficiently and delivery better outcomes for customers, agents and businesses. In relation to the four components of call handling mentioned above, it can immediate identify the customer, capture the issue, guide the agent how best to resolve the issue and then reduce or eliminate after-call work. In doing this it can also reduce data entry errors, make agents’ jobs easier, improve the customer experience, help ensure that more interactions are completed successfully, and achieve something all contact center managers I know have at the top of their to-do lists – reduce average call-handling times.

vr_ngce_research_01_impetus_for_improving_engagement_updatedOur research into next-generation customer engagement shows that these capabilities align with the top objectives organizations are focused on as they try to improve customer engagement: improve the customer experience (76%), customer service (70%) and business processes (54%), become more competitive (46%) and reduce operating costs (43%).  NICE’s process automation products have the potential to impact all of these, so I recommend that companies assess how it can help in their efforts to become more efficient and effective. Does it mean robots will take over the contact center? I think not, but it can make processes run faster and smoother and free up employees to focus more on the customer.

Regards,

Richard Snow

VP & Research Director Customer Engagement

Follow Me on Twitter  and Connect with me on LinkedIn

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