Customer engagement is something those in the contact center and unified communications industry constantly work to fine-tune. Many UC heavy-hitters have homegrown solutions built to enhance various customer experiences, while others depend on third-party providers like Verint.
The software they develop can lend organizations of all sizes insight into what customers think, want, and even predict behavioral patterns. Powerful capabilities, like the ones customer engagement platforms extend, can be valuable and provide companies with rich data to do things like retrain staff and step in (in real-time contact center environments) if an issue gets detected by sentiment analysis.
There are also IVAs, otherwise known as intelligent virtual assistants.
To pull off such magic, you first need access to massive amounts of data. And, of course, you will have to implement contact center/conversational AI. Companies like New York-based Verint Systems live and breathe improved customer experience based on data analysis – and specialize in the contact center market.
Founded in 2002, the firm’s developers build and design a cloud-based analytics platform leveraged by over 85 Fortune 100 companies. And the firm has a rich portfolio of customer engagement solutions – all of which leverage AI in some way, shape, or form.
The Acquisition of Conversocial
In furtherance of its aim for AI dominance; (at least that is how it appears) Verint, recently acquired ‘Conversocial,’ a New-York-based company that works with brands like Google, Sephora, British Airways, and Hertz. Conversocial is a real-time social media management system that enables companies to handle customer queries through various digital channels, including some social media platforms.
I sat down with Jenn Snell, Verint, who heads up the conversational AI sector. We touched on the acquisition and talked about why the move panned out. Snell believes that the combination of the two technologies will create a game-changer for the various parties poised to profit from the newly minted purchase of ‘Conversocial.’
“It will extend support for digital customer engagement with connections to the commonly-used messaging channels, including Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more.”
Snell noted, during the pandemic – when call and contact volumes rose across the board; it was clear that relieving as much of the burden assumed by contact center agents would be critical henceforth. Automation (done well) will prove pivotal to this master plan, according to Snell, who added:
“Even though customer interactions are on the rise, we can automate many of these actions by considering how we meet the customer where they are.”
Forrester found, over a three-year period, enterprises that implemented Verint technology experienced cost savings in some form or another. The graph below demonstrates the total economic impact the company has on agents, a byproduct of its AI offering.
One of the many possible solutions is IVAs (intelligent virtual assistants). Snell called these sometimes problematic technologies (if they are not well-trained) a big game-changer during the pandemic.
“Customers do not care how they get things done, as long as they get done.”
Snell noted that speed and accuracy are important factors that can lead to a positive customer experience and customers feeling like things were, in fact, “handled.” Her advice, operationalize the process to support efforts across your entire business.
A Study in Customer Engagement Leveraging IVAs
The Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the way we do just about everything at this point – work is no exception. And enterprise leaders have to consider the kind of automation that can realize change. It should also support employees, too, according to Snell.
Snell told me about a Verint customer, which, in the year 2020, drastically restructured the way it did things. “By March of 2020, travel around the globe came to a near standstill. As a result, our customer and leading travel/transportation company had to adapt quickly.”
Serving millions of passengers annually in hundreds of destinations – its contact center employees transitioned to remote working.
“They suddenly had thousands of customers seeking insight into canceled trips, route changes, safety protocols, and other services effected by the pandemic. They also implemented our IVA, which got put to the test like never before in March 2020.”
With it, the travel leader worked with Verint’s professional services team to give the virtual assistant more real-time information on coronavirus-related questions.
Implementing Mobile IVAs
The travel company did, however, see a more than a 30 percent increase in mobile traffic and supported that increase in mobile traffic. This caused it to not only make the necessary response adjustments for COVID-19 but to deploy Verint IVAs within its mobile channels.
“Although we planned the mobile launch before the pandemic, the timing was impactful.”
Snell noted that mobile usage grew in popularity primarily due to a surge in demand for digital self-service options. She also said that customers today expect these kinds of conveniences.
“Deploying IVA technology for its mobile users during such an unpredictable time helped extend the company’s information updates and service capabilities.”
IVAs Might Prove Worthwhile
Having adopted Verint IVA technology, the travel company saw some sizable gains, as did Verint. There are some other impressive metrics, too. The travel company boosted its positive CSAT (a commonly-used metric that measures customer satisfaction) survey ratings by more than five percent.
“Our virtual assistant is a critical component to the travel leader’s website engagement, revenue generation, and customer service success,” Snell was sure to highlight.
Despite website traffic significantly reduced as travel halted, Verint IVA technology remained what Snell called a “Primary source of revenue for the company.” In total, Verint IVA produced over $4.5 million from March to September 2020. Not bad for seven months of work.
By updating information, answering questions, and quickly assisting customers, the company gained more than a five percent boost in positive survey ratings (March 2020 to June 2020), even amid the unpredictable challenges stemming from the pandemic.
A Sizable Customer Impact
Forrester examined Verint’s total impact on its customers, and there are a lot of them. Cost-savings from improved contact center management, from call deflection, reduced call times, improved training/agent satisfaction, and more revenue from cross-selling opportunities.
Forrester also looked at Verint’s total cost-savings passed down to customers by reduced call time. Over the three-year period of examination, it found that savings could go into the millions.
Manifestly the company is on to something by focusing almost exclusively on enhancing experiences via AI and there is a lot more to explore on this topic in the future. Stay tuned for more UC industry headlines as we continue breaking down the latest news and trends that shape the way we work and conduct business.