Customer engagement is nothing new – organizations have been engaging with customers in one way or another ever since business began. Over the years, however, the nature of this engagement has changed dramatically, from largely face-to-face encounters and the written word to telephone, email, fax and text messaging and now to text-based applications, social media, mobile apps and video. These changes prompted organizations to create call centers to centralize the handling of phone calls, then contact centers that handle multiple channels of engagement, more recently, self-service channels like IVR and web-based FAQs, to the latest customer engagement centers that embrace all aspects of engaging with customers. Responding to these changes, Verint, best known as a workforce optimization vendor, has extended its suite of products to include a customer engagement center suite.
The suite consists of six modules – voice of the customer (analyzing customer feedback and the content of interactions), workforce optimization, employee engagement, security (fraud and compliance), engagement channels (assisted and digital self-service) and analytics. Each of these is made up of several components, which are described in detail on the company’s website. A key component of the employee engagement module is knowledge management – tools to create and manage a central source of “informational content” (such as word documents, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.) that employees can use to resolve customer interactions.
Verint acquired the initial version of its knowledge management system when it acquired KANA in 2014 and has just released what it calls Verint Knowledge Management Professional. This is based on the original technical-code base but includes several functional and technical enhancements. Functional enhancements include a new, easy-to-use multilingual user interface, the ability to support multilingual content, new workflow capabilities to manage the production and approval of content, the ability to search for content using natural-language and the ability to filter the offered content using customer data from a CRM system. In combination, these allow organizations to provide employees handling interactions with more types of content (for example, FAQs, user guides, ways to resolve common issues) that are easier to find, which allows employees to provide more focused responses and thus better customer experiences. Technically, the system runs in a private or public cloud and thus is highly available and supports redundancy; Verint also offers additional REST APIs to support integration with other applications.
The company has changed its pricing model to make it attractive to organizations of all sizes and claims the suite offers a reasonable/affordable TCO and diminishes the time to value. To help with this, Verint offers prepackaged services to, for example, build a business case, define and manage performance metrics, and identify best practices for integration with other applications.
Our benchmark research into next generation customer engagement shows that one of the main barriers to providing optimal omnichannel customer experience is the difficulty in providing consistent information at every touch point. A centralized knowledge base can help because it is a single source of information and content employees can use to resolve interactions. Our benchmark research into contact center in the cloud finds that nearly half (45%) of organizations have implemented a knowledge management system and a further 32 percent are planning to implement such a system within the next two years. The same research finds that usability has become the top criterion organizations use when selecting new systems, so it is promising that the enhanced user interface in the 2017 release appears to be intuitive to use.
The knowledge management system is a component of the overall Verint customer engagement suite of programs. It works alongside the other programs and external applications such as CRM to help deliver consistent responses to customer interactions. I believe that consistency of response is a key factor in delivering omnichannel customer engagement, so I recommend all organizations assess how this latest release from Verint can help those efforts.
VP & Research Director, Customer Engagement