Posted tagged ‘Verint’

Interview with Ryan Hollenbeck, SVP Marketing, Verint Systems: Customer Engagement Strategy

February 23, 2015

I’ve been hearing a new topic bubbling up from TSIA members: creating a customer engagement strategy. Common in the consumer world, B2B companies are putting more emphasis on defining and measuring customer engagement now that more interaction channels are being embraced, and proactive strategies to boost customer adoption and consumption of technology are being developed by more tech companies. A customer engagement strategy includes which channels of support are offered, staffing for all channels to guarantee service levels, tools to deliver multichannel support, and technology to measure and analyze customer satisfaction, loyalty and sentiment.

To discuss customer engagement strategies, I tapped an expert on the topic: Ryan Hollenbeck, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Verint Systems. Ryan has been in the customer support technology space as long as I have, and he is a member of TSIA’s partner advisory board. Here is a snapshot of our conversation:

John Ragsdale: Hi Ryan! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today about customer engagement strategies.

Ryan Hollenbeck: Always a pleasure, John, and thanks for discussing this important topic with me.

John: I’ve heard B2C companies talking about ‘customer engagement strategies’ for a while, but it is fairly new with B2B companies. Are you hearing this topic bubble up within more of your customer base? I know you have a good mix of B2B and B2C companies as customers.

Ryan: Absolutely! In fact, customer engagement is a top consideration for our customers worldwide. Many of our customers are thinking of customer engagement as something that goes beyond managing the experience at touch points to include all the ways companies motivate customers to invest in an ongoing relationship – a lifelong customer journey of sorts! The entire enterprise needs to align with the C-Suite on the vision for engagement: what relationship do you want with your customers? Organizations need to think about different customer journeys and then tailoring experiences along the way by providing relevant context, as well as empowering customers to tailor their own experiences.

John: It seems that Verint Systems is uniquely positioned to be a leader in customer engagement. You offer resource management and scheduling tools, case management, multichannel service, knowledge management, as well as a survey platform and voice and text analysis. I can’t think of any other vendors who offer such a “soup to nuts” approach to planning, delivering and measuring customer engagement.

Ryan: Verint offers a unique Customer Engagement Optimization platform that enables organizations to enrich interactions, improve processes and optimize the workforce. With the combination of Verint and KANA solutions, “smarter engagement” – where you can capture and manage cross-functional information and behavior around customer interactions and workforce performance across delivery channels – is readily available. Organizations can then inject intelligence to uncover trends and discover why certain employee and customer behavior is occurring. These organizations can then manage interactions seamlessly across channels and use guided business processes and recommended dialogues to deliver fast, precise, personalized service – from next best action, to next best offer.

John: I’d like to pose some of the FAQs regarding customer engagement I’ve received to get your input. The first question is “Who owns the strategy?” In consumer firms it seems marketing largely owns engagement strategy, but in the B2B world, service seems more of a driver. Do you see advantages to service or marketing driving this initiative, or should it be a collaborative effort?

Ryan: Service is the new marketing! It’s actually a collaborative effort across services, marketing and other enterprise functions. Organizations can analyze customer and employee experience data in real-time to design and implement customer-centric business strategies that unite the organization across people and processes. As a result, they have better alignment across the organization and can move much more quickly to take precise action to deliver differentiated and personalized experiences that count. This improved alignment leads to more engaged employees who are spurred on by solutions that capture and manage information about customers and performance, then use it to predict measurable, sustainable business results.

John: Another FAQ is the role of social media in customer engagement. According to my just released 2015 social support survey, less than half of tech firms, 40%, are supporting customers via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. But two-thirds of tech firms, 63%, are monitoring social media conversations as part of voice of the customer analysis. Are you seeing best practices emerge around social support?

Ryan: Social media is here to stay and we all need to get on board! Social support it’s critical to any organization today. If you don’t have a social media monitoring ad text analytics solution, now is the time. With access to a growing social media warehouse and additional online content, organizations can use Text Analytics to expand its understanding of customers and markets outside of standard feedback channels. These tools provide key insight into what customers are saying about your company—and your competitor’s products and services—no matter where they say it. Text Analytics provides out-of-the-box integration with major social media outlets and business intelligence tools. Social media support is here to stay.

John: A final FAQ I’d like to ask you about is how to best gather customer feedback. Many companies seem to rely solely on post-interaction surveys and a one or twice a year overall satisfaction survey. In my opinion, this is a good start, but is not nearly enough. Could you talk about some innovative approaches you are seeing to harnessing the voice of the customer?

Ryan: We agree that surveys are critical and post-interaction surveys provide valuable insight! And yet there are so many other means to gather the voice of the customer. For example, in addition to highly segmented customer and employee feedback across channels, forward-thinking organizations are also evaluating Social Media to gain deep insight from Twitter, Facebook, and social media monitoring services. They are also looking to analyze Website Visits by extracting information from virtually any website to obtain visibility into visitor experiences and overall site effectiveness. Further, many organizations are seeking to collaborate with Online Communities to construct vibrant, healthy online communities that can synchronize feedback efforts while augmenting customer engagement. Last but not least, let’s not forget the importance of the ability to mine Customer Calls, which can help uncover call drivers, determine customer emotion, identify emerging issues and trends, and measure customer sentiment about products and brand.

John: This has been a very enlightening conversation! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today.

Ryan: Thanks, John! We appreciate all of the work that TSIA does to measure and analyze trends in customer engagement models that increase customer consumption and optimize customer lifetime value!


Top Attended Sessions from TSW Day 2

October 22, 2014

TSIA’s Technology Services World Conference kicked off on Monday with a series of keynotes and one round of breakouts. Yesterday was the first full day of the conference, and I wanted to give you a peek at the top attended sessions. With over 1,300 attendees, we had a lot of standing room only sessions (I’m happy to say they had to bring more chairs into my KM session on Monday). Clearly when you get 200 or more people attending a session, you know it is a topic that really resonates with service professionals.

Here’s a look at the five sessions from yesterday with the highest attendance:

  1. Create Customers for Life with Customer Life Cycle Management. The pressure is on for technology companies as investors are expecting high growth year over year. And while a company can achieve some of this growth through customer acquisition, many companies overlook the fact that the secret to high growth is by maximizing customer lifetime value and increasing customer retention. So how do you grow recurring revenue and keep customers longer? Customer life cycle management is the strategy that will help your customers get more value from your products and solutions resulting in more profitable client relationships. Hear best practices from Cisco and Cisco WebEx on how, with a disciplined approach to customer life cycle management, you can drive greater revenue growth and keep customers for life. Tom Lay – Director of Service Sales, Cisco Software Annuities, Cisco Systems; Tony Brucha – Director, WebEx Customer Success, Cisco Systems; Eric Jeffries – Vice President of Customer Success, ServiceSource, Inc.
  2. Driving Profitability through Customer Analytics. By gathering feedback at each step of the customer journey, organizations can create a thorough understanding of the client experience and optimally manage it. Learn how to create a holistic customer feedback program and about how a top 25 accounting and business consulting firm uses customer insight to drive its customer relationships, internal innovation, go-to-market strategy, and business development. Rike Harrison – Chief Marketing Officer, Wipfli; Koren Stucki – Marketing Director, Customer Analytics, Verint Systems.
  3. Transform Your Company to Humanize the New Customer Journey. Customers have been spoiled. Thanks to companies such as Amazon and Apple, they now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly, with a seamless digital user experience. Many traditional organizations can’t meet the expectation of the new social contract, where the customer expectation is “you should always be there for me when I need you and you should understand the context of my problem–don’t contact me when I don’t want to be reached.” How will your organization adapt to this demand for intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, real-time fulfillment, personalized treatment, global consistency, and zero errors—the world to which customers have become increasingly accustomed? We will define what this new customer looks like and expects across every step along their digital journey–from awareness, consideration, purchase, and service, to advocacy. Dean Shaw – Chat Program Manager, SAS Institute Inc.; Alon Waks – VP, Product Marketing, LivePerson.
  4. Performance Support: Driving Your Customers’ Consumption and Success…and Your Revenue. Helping your customers achieve sustained consumption and adoption of your software is a key revenue enabler for you. However, the path to adoption is changing. Customers can no longer afford to rely on classroom training and binders of printed content. They look for agile, on-the-job solutions to go from novice to master and reduce help-desk calls. Customers need solutions integrated with their work to deliver “just enough, just-in-time, just right, just for me” support. Embedded Performance Support is an innovative approach to enabling user performance by providing on-demand access to integrated information, guidance, and learning. In this session, you’ll learn how ANCILE software can make it drop-dead simple for your customers to use and consume your software–and for you to introduce revenue opportunities. The results? Customer success and customer retention. Malcolm Poulin – Senior Director, Product Strategy, ANCILE Solutions
  5. Challenging the Tiered Paradigm: Case Study in Moving an Organization from Handoff to Swarming. Tiered support is a keystone of standard support operations. It works predictably, but it’s inherently flawed. Service requests are owned and passed from one person to another like products on a conveyor belt. Once the conveyor gets to a person who can solve the issue, it gets solved. But until then, it has to follow its course and time on the belt, which slows down resolution. Customers lose patience being passed from person to person, and inherently, communication is inefficient, people lose context and we make the customer repeat steps and information. And, along the path, everyone can be doing “our job” but the customer doesn’t get what they need. Imagine a support organization without boundaries – where owners drive solutions by taking accountability for the customer experience and bringing resources to collaborate – to swarm on the issue. Then move that model to real-time with live first-engagement models like chat. The customer has continuity, accountability and accesses the best resource for the problem as quickly as possible. Tear down the tiers. In this session, we’ll discuss one company’s journey through that organizational change and discuss the challenges and approaches to the transformation. Linda Hartig – VP of Global Support Services (GSS), Avaya; Dan Pratt – Director, Strategy and Business Transformation, Avaya.

Congratulations to these members and partners for creating such dynamic content that really spoke to the needs of the audience. Thanks for reading!


Announcing Finalists for TSIA TechBest in Adoption: Changepoint, LivePerson and Verint Systems

October 8, 2014


Each Spring I launch the TSIA Member Technology Survey, which tracks adoption, satisfaction, and planned spending across 24 categories of tools and services common within service operations. The survey reveals which solutions are most popular with TSIA members, and it is interesting to find out which vendors see growing adoption. One thing is certain: When the percent of members using a particular solution sharply rises, it indicates that provider has the right messaging, the right tools, and the right price for technology service organizations. Proven success within the TSIA membership means the solution meets the business needs of users, is delivering value, and doesn’t require extensive implementation or customization to be effective.

Comparing the results from 2013 and 2014, the three TSIA partners that saw the largest increase in member adoption are Changepoint, LivePerson and Verint Systems. These three firms represent the finalists in the 2014 TechBEST Best in Adoption Award and will be interviewed in the TechBEST Showcase that opens Technology Services World today in the EXPO Theater. The partner with the highest year-over-year gain in adoption will be named the winner during the opening EXPO on Monday, October 20th.


  • Changepoint. Changepoint is the leading global provider of Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. The world-class product portfolio offers an unparalleled breadth of PSA and PPM capabilities, meeting diverse market requirements in both functionality and spectrum of delivery methodologies. From the largest and most complex enterprises to small and mid-sized organizations, Changepoint offers robust solutions that are available on-premise, hosted or in a pure SaaS model based on the specific needs of its customers that are located around the world and across industries.


  • LivePerson. LivePerson is the leading provider of live digital engagement solutions for business of all sizes. Through predictive intelligent targeting, LivePerson’s multi-channel platform, LiveEngage,  helps brands understand their site visitors’ intent and value, enabling them to meaningfully connect through the most appropriate type of engagement—including chat, voice, video, and content —and do so across all channels and devices. Through LiveEngage, businesses experience increased sales, improved service levels, while maximizing online marketing efforts. LiveEngage effortlessly manages all online customer interactions, and is simple enough for small business clients while still powerful enough to meet the requirements of our enterprise clients. In addition, LiveEngage is able to learn from every interaction, creating a feedback loop that enriches intelligence and optimizes future engagements, further enhancing business results.


  • Verint Systems. Verint® is a global leader in Actionable Intelligence® solutions and services. Its customer engagement optimization software and services help organizations optimize their workforces, improve enterprise processes, and enrich customer interactions to make them more engaging, contextual, and personalized while providing employees with information for delivering service more effectively. The Verint solution portfolio brings together proven workforce optimization and customer analytics solutions with advanced customer service capabilities from KANA®, A Verint Company. It includes workforce management, voice recording, voice biometrics, quality monitoring, speech analytics, text analytics, enterprise feedback management, engagement analytics, performance management, desktop and process analytics, elearning and coaching, along with knowledge management and other multichannel customer service solutions. From interactions in contact centers, branch offices, and marketing and customer care to the underlying back-office processes for service delivery, Verint solutions provide visibility into performance, operations, and customer intelligence across the enterprise.

To learn more about these partners, please attend the TechBest Showcase which opens TSW at 12:45PM on Monday, October 20th. Hope to see you there! And as always, thanks for reading!

Technology Services World: Knowledge Management Content and Exhibitors

October 7, 2014

Capturing, sharing and maintaining knowledge is always a popular topic at TSIA Conferences, and at our upcoming Technology Services World in Las Vegas, October 20-22, there will be a lot of great content on this hot topic. Our 2nd annual knowledge management survey was completed in August, and I’ll be revealing the findings and publishing the results at the event. I’ve had mulitple inquiries over the last week asking what KM content will be featured at the show, and what exhibitors in the Expo offer knowledge management tools and services, so here’s a peak at KM-releated sessions and exhibitors so you can start planning your time now.

First up are the breakout sessions focusing on knowledge management. For detailed sessions descriptions, see the TSW agenda online.

  • Transforming Knowledge Management: Hot KM Trends. In this Power Hour session on Monday at 4:15, I’ll walk through the results of the KM survey, including information on KM across service divisions, and emerging technology areas such as mobility, video, unified search, expertise management, etc.
  • Three Months, 300% Productivity Improvement: Transforming Customer Success Using Rapid Knowledge Sharing. Phil Verghis, Klever; Mitchell Spence, Tyler Technologies, Inc. Tuesday, 2:00 PM.
  • Using KCS and Discovery Based Consumption Analytics to Generate Proactive Support Deliverables and Guaranteed Customer Outcomes. Rob Baker, Akamai Technologies, Inc. Tuesday, 3:30 PM.
  • OK, We’ve Done KCS. What’s Next? David Kay, DB Kay & Associates; Sean Murphy, Riverbed Technology, Inc. Tuesday, 3:30 PM.
  • From Knowledge Hoarding to Solve-Once: Aligning Support around a Knowledge Culture. Linda Hartig, Avaya; Dan Pratt, Avaya; Joey Fister, Avaya. Tuesday, 4:45 PM.
  • Knowledge: Experience Sharing of KCS Implementation. Nicolas Brunel, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Wednesday, 11:30 AM.

Here’s a look at KM-related partners participating in the Expo:

  • Aptean/Knova. Knowledgebase, search
  • Coveo. Unified search, expertise management
  • DB Kay & Associates. KM and KCS assessment and training
  • GeoFluent/Lionbridge. Translation services
  • Klever. KM and KCS assessment and training, Knowledge as a Service
  • Jive. Employee and customer collaboration, crowdsourcing KM
  • LivePerson. Self-service knowledgebase, multi-channel service
  • Radialpoint. Knowledge management, search, mobile self-service
  • Stone Cobra. KM implementations, assessments, training
  • SYSTRAN. Translation services
  • Transversal. Knowledgebase, self-service, collaboration
  • Verint/Kana. Knowledgebase, self-service, multi-channel, crowdsourcing KM

If you are attending TSW and would like to discuss your KM strategy, I have open slots for 1:1 meetings on Tuesday, 10/21. When you arrive at registration, ask to schedule a 1:1!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

TSW Top Attended Sessions: Day 2

October 23, 2013

I won’t lie, Day 2 at TSW was a long day. We started with Champion breakfast networking sessions at 7am, and went all day until the Expo closed at 7pm. There were many rounds of breakout sessions, with as many as 16 concurrent sessions in some time slots. With so many sessions to choose from, it is especially interesting to see which sessions had the most attendees–clearly indicating the top business issues companies are trying to solve. Here are the five sessions from Day 2 with the highest attendance:

  1. Analytics for Results: The Real Way from Customer Feedback to Customer Loyalty. This session was presented by TSIA Partner Michael Clarkin, Vice President Global Marketing and Product Services, Sykes Enterprises. Creating the right environment for analytics to flourish and contribute to the organization’s goals requires thoughtful design and intelligent data interpretation, built upon good science. Whether you want to identify what triggers customers to buy more or defect to your competition, or you need to understand why a product or service is failing to achieve expected results, analytics should always lead to the end result of actionable knowledge. This session, built upon years of analysis and studies across many sectors, examined what analytics really is, and why the investment is a strategic imperative. Michael and I recently did a webcast on this topic, so if you’d like to see an OnDemand version of the top attended session, here’s a link.
  2. Building a Customer-Centered Business, from the Support Organization Out. There was tremendous buzz about this session and I’m already getting emails asking when the videotaped version will be available. Online communities elevate the voice-of-customer across organizational silos, propelling companies to transition to more customer-centric business models. Support organizations are uniquely positioned to lead the charge by acting as the catalyst for community adoption, management, and reporting. Scott Hirsch from Get Satisfaction, and two Get Satisfaction customers, Kristin Gastaldo, community manager at Blackbaud, and Nathan Roth, senior manager of digital and social at Koodo Mobile, discussed how they’re tactically implementing community to achieve their strategic goals of differentiating from the competition by delivering truly excellent customer experiences.
  3. Innovative Online Support: Harness the Power of Information and Empower Customer Self-Help. In this session, presented by Julie Larsen, Vice President of eServices, EMC Corporation examined the importance of investing in innovative capabilities to meet multiple sources of demand and address diverse service channels. Julie discussed four key components of creating an innovative, proactive, and personalized online support strategy to evolve and transform your support organization.
  4. Driving Service Delivery Excellence through Voice-of-the-Customer Analytics. Another partner case study, this session was presented by Matt Wroblewski, Director, Market Research for VWR International, and Roger Woolley, VP, Solutions Marketing, Verint Systems. Many organizations are implementing voice-of-the-customer (VOC) programs to capture and assess customer comments and sentiments across multiple communications channels—but, it’s a complex job. So how do you get started? Verint Systems and VWR International shared how VWR implemented a VOC program to help deliver superior service and improve productivity for its customers and suppliers. Details included how VWR International built a best-practices model for managing quarterly customer relationship and Net Promoter Score® surveys, and leveraged feedback from customer service, technical support, and web touchpoints.
  5. Turbo-Charging Your Revenue Engine: Building Service Pricing Capabilities. As the role of services grows within tech companies, as products themselves are sold as services, pricing capabilities shift from “nice to have” to vital. So how do you develop those organizational capabilities? What capabilities should you develop first? Where should those capabilities reside? How do you know it is time for your organization to change? What kinds of pricing problems should you tackle first? In this discussion, Randy Wootton, VP, Premier Products for introduced participants to Salesforce’s Pricing Maturity Model as a framework for evaluating your current pricing practices and envisioning next steps in growth.

I started today with our Breakfast of Social Champions, and the conference closes with our awards luncheon. I’ll be back after the conference with updates on the award winners. For now, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting TSIA!

Service Analytics: Big Data Success Stories

October 15, 2012

When I kicked off my major research project this year on Big Data back in May, I figured I was going to end up recommending every service organization hire a data scientist and become experts on big analytic platforms. Today at Technology Services World, my Big Data research findings are being published for TSIA members, “Market Overview of Service Analytics. Creating Actionable Insight in Three Categories: Business Analytics, Customer Analytics, and Consumption Analytics.” Surprisingly  there are no recommendations for hiring data scientists, or necessarily investing in an enterprise analytics platform.

What I found in my research interviewing more than 20 partners and members about service analytics is that the application vendors, from quality monitoring to knowledge management to Professional Services Automation (PSA) are including more sophisticated analytics into their base applications (often an OEM of a ‘best in breed’ analytics product), allowing business users to create and drive some very innovative dashboards and reports, without the need of a data scientist.

My Market Overview of Service Analytics includes case studies from SYKES, Aptean, Verint Systems, Compuware, RIM, Avaya and others–9 case studies of service analytics in all. Each explains how many data sources are involved, the intent of the analytic, and how the results have enabled companies to drive business results. Most members I talk to about Big Data all have the same question: where do we start? Hopefully this report will provide a look at real-world examples of Business Analytics, Customer Analytics, and Consumption Analytics to help TSIA members get started.

Today at 4pm, I will lead a Power Hour session on the topic, “Big Data: Three Inspiring Stories of Service Analytics,” with more case study examples from Walker Information, YIDATEC, and Moxie Software. Come join us, hear what other companies are doing, and then head back to your company next week with a “get started” plan for Big Data!

TSIA members can access my full report on

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you for Power Hour today at 4pm!

Interview with Partner Advisory Board Member Ryan Hollenbeck, Verint: EFM/Voice of the Customer

December 12, 2011

TSIA has recently launched our very first Partner Advisory Board, consisting of technology, service provider and consulting partners in the TSIA partner network. This is a great opportunity for us to stay current on marketing and spending trends in other industries, as well as track emerging best practices in our own industry. We have an impressive list of partners on the board; here is a link to view the complete list.

Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing you interviews with our Partner Advisory Board members. This week’s interview is with Ryan Hollenbeck from Verint Systems, the leading provider of Actionable Intelligence® solutions and services for enterprise workforce optimization and security intelligence.

John Ragsdale: I’m very pleased to share an interview with one of our new Partner Advisory Board members, Ryan Hollenbeck, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, Verint. I’ve known Ryan since the late 90s, when he was with Witness Systems, the original workforce optimization provider for call centers. I’ve seen the organization grow over the years, with mergers and acquisitions including Blue Pumpkin, the merger with Verint, Vovici, and most recently, Global Management Technologies (GMT).

Ryan, welcome.  My CEO has just published a book, Consumption Economics, that explains how the rush to the cloud is changing everything about the economics of servicing customers. A very central part of the story is the need to better mine customer data for business intelligence. I’d like to start by asking about voice and text analytics. Verint has won multiple TSIA Recognized Innovator Awards for your capabilities in this area. Could you talk about how companies can mine existing customer conversations for insight?

Ryan Hollenbeck:  Customer service has changed dramatically since you and I first started working together the late 90s. Back then, customers typically interacted with companies by calling into contact centers.  Today, consumers expect to conduct business using a combination of email, Web chat, text messaging, telephone, and social media postings. At the same time, competitive pressures are really pushing companies to do a much better job of tapping into the “voice of the customer” to make informed decisions and avoid costly missteps that can cost them business.

This ups the ante in customer service, since companies not only have to capture the “voice of the customer” across multiple channels, but also need to analyze it and use it for strategic and tactical decision making.  It necessitates a very different approach to customer service—one that involves the entire organization, rather than just the contact center.  So there has to be a way to capture, analyze, and share customer comments and sentiments across the enterprise.

Voice of the customer analytics solutions do exactly that by providing a platform for detecting, gathering, analyzing, and acting on insights across multiple communications channels.  They include speech analytics, social media analytics, email and Web chat analytics, and feedback analytics. They can even be integrated with workforce optimization software and strategies for a truly holistic approach to customer experience management. Voice of the customer analytics solutions offer a practical way for organizations to mine customer comments and sentiments, identify rising trends, determine root cause, and take action quickly.

John:  Another hot topic from Consumption Economics is how customers are more active in driving company and product direction. Clearly another Verint strong point is enabling enterprise feedback management. Can you talk about EFM, and explain why this is a bigger effort than just post-interaction surveys?

Ryan: Let’s start with post-interaction surveys, which are surveys that are delivered by the contact center, usually over the IVR, after the conclusion of interactions with agents. They’re almost always focused on the transaction that has just taken place.

Enterprise feedback management solutions expand upon this. They collect data across the entire enterprise, including the contact center, and centralize it so that it can be analyzed and tailored for various internal users.  Although EFM solutions can certainly include transactional surveys, they’re also used for relationship surveys, or to recruit survey panel members via social media. The surveys can be delivered over the Web, email, social media, and mobile devices, and text analytics can be applied to them to analyze open-ended questions. EFM solutions offer a practical way for operationalizing a voice of the customer program.

John:  While we are on the topic of surveys, could you talk about the Vovici acquisition? The timing of the acquisition was interesting, because we at TSIA had just evaluated multiple EFM vendors and selected Vovici, which we now use for all our member surveys. You picked a fantastic company, amazing user interface, sophisticated reporting, and as a TSIA member, a great service operation! How did Vovici fit into Verint’s strategy?

Ryan: The Vovici acquisition fits very well into Verint’s strategy. By adding Vovici’s enterprise feedback solutions to the Verint Voice of the Customer Analytics platform,  we’ve created a single solution set to support voice of the customer initiatives across voice recordings, surveys, email, chat, and social media. We’re also filling a void in the market by enabling organizations to extract tremendous value from this emerging toolset for their chief customer officers. Enterprises can benefit from Verint’s proven speech and text analytics solutions and workforce optimization suite, as well as Vovici’s advanced functionality, including sophisticated survey management, customer profile management, interactive dashboards, and ad-hoc analysis across any customer touch point.  Verint can now correlate this information and offer a single-vendor solution for collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer insights, and that’s a compelling value proposition.

John:  You and I have talked about a few topics for years now, and one of those topics is looking at productivity in the back office and how it impacts customers. I remember first discussing this with you a decade ago during my Forrester years, when I was getting complaints from support organizations that so many  customer issues (account discrepancies, refunds, shipping problems, etc.) disappeared into the back office and never returned, leaving the support agent on the hook for an answer, but no way to get one. Clearly, the customer experience encompasses a lot of back office activity. How does Verint help improve customer-facing processes across the enterprise…including the back office?

Ryan: I remember those early conversations and scratching our heads!  The industry has come a long way since then, and Verint remains laser-focused on this issue.  Verint solutions offer visibility into the entire customer service chain, from contact centers to branch and remote offices to back-office operations.  And in the back office, one of the greatest challenges is capturing activity and performance information across a diverse set of tasks, functions, and teams.

Unlike the contact center, there’s no ACD to provide this critical information. Instead, Verint’s back-office software collects data from any available electronic sources, such as workflow engines, CRM, email, people queue management, imaging, and business process management systems. Since the penetration of those applications is still relatively low, our solution also provides a manual data entry interface and electronically logs volumes and activities into the system as work is processed. This enables managers to predict their ability to meet processing deadlines given resource availability, skills, and equipment/deadline constraints.  They can take corrective action proactively, which in turn can help companies avoid a flood of calls or emails into their contact centers.

John:  Your most recent acquisition, GMT, expands your customer experience message into banking. It seems that retail banking has a lot of the same challenges as workforce management for call centers:  you have customers waiting, limited staffing dollars, and if you don’t have the scheduling right, customers walk out the door, taking loans and deposits with them.

Ryan:  Yes, those are all significant challenges in retail banking, along with very  intense competition. Banks are under heavy pressure to drive sales, service quality, and customer satisfaction while lowering their costs, enhancing productivity, and retaining staff.

Verint addresses those concerns on a variety of levels.  Our retail financial services solutions automate forecasting, scheduling, and quality analysis across branches while enabling banks to predict customer demand accurately, which helps reduce wait times.  Our solutions also provide real-time customer and productivity information to regional and store managers for enhanced cost management, customer service, and sales. Managers can track how well employees are performing against their goals and even assign eLearning automatically to staff at their desktops during times when customer volume is low.

Verint has offered solutions designed for retail financial services for years.  Yet through our acquisition of GMT, a huge domain expertise in financial services, along with key differentiating functionality, such as robust technology value optimization and sales effectiveness tools, as well as a comprehensive set of consulting services and methodologies.

John:  Clearly companies need help getting EFM programs off the ground. In fact, nearly half of TSIA members said they had budget for consulting partners in 2011-2012. I believe the GMT acquisition also expanded Verint’s partner network. Could you talk about your partner ecosystem?

Ryan: Verint has its own highly successful consulting operations, offered by our own industry experts.  We have also long maintained partnerships with leading companies to extend the reach of our solutions.  From large, distributed consulting organizations with dedicated practices to smaller boutique firms, our customers have many options for ensuring the success of their WFo and VoC initiatives.

As you pointed out, the GMT acquisition has augmented our partner portfolio by adding strong partnerships with leading financial services organizations, including Talaris and Q-matic. It’s all part of our commitment to offering customers superior solutions and outstanding business value.

John: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today.

Ryan: It’s always my pleasure, thanks John.  I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to serving on the TSIA partner advisory board.