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Verint® Systems Executive Interview

Greg Stock, Senior Vice President of Vovici, a Verint Company, Verint® Systems

Voice of the Customer has become a mainstream business term; what are the key factors behind the growth of this industry?
Voice of the Customer (VoC) has become a popular topic, and it means different things to a variety of organizations. To some companies, this term simply translates into monitoring a few customer interactions or periodically listening to what customers are saying via social media channels. For others, VoC is a strategic imperative that can drive significant and sustainable competitive advantage. Whether your organization communicates with customers via voice, email, chat sessions, social media and/or surveys, effectively leveraging the information that comes from various touch points provides the opportunity to keep customers engaged, delivers unequaled customer experiences and raises customer loyalty to new heights.


At the end of the day, customer satisfaction and loyalty have a direct impact on the top and bottom line and are ultimately driving VoC initiatives company-wide. Forrester’s The Business Impact of Customer Experience 2011report further reinforces this point by sharing examples of how VoC improvements can add more than $1 billion in revenue for telecom and retail vertical markets, specifically.


Customers interact with businesses across various channels, providing both ad-hoc and strategic feedback that can be used in a variety of ways. An internal VoC campaign must programmatically centralize feedback across these channels, interpret it in the context of business objectives and then act upon that feedback in a way that is highly visible to the customers. The end result: companies can drive revenues and profit, supported by the fact that increases in loyalty scores can equate to real top and bottom line revenues.


What does the acquisition of Vovici by Verint mean for the CRM market?
The Verint + Vovici acquisition provides the insight needed to improve customer and employee loyalty, reduce operational costs and standardize feedback efforts across the enterprise. The combination also introduces a new level of sophistication and capability around solutions that include enterprise feedback management, feedback intelligence, panel management, and mobile and social customer feedback intelligence. These will appeal to chief customer officers (CCOs), chief marketing officers (CMOs), chief experience officers (CXOs), and other VoC executives and customer experience managers across global organizations—and serves as a natural extension to Verint’s VoC Analytics solution set and broader WFO strategy.


The business combination sets a new industry standard for helping forward-thinking organizations develop a single solution for VoC initiatives across voice recordings, surveys, email, chat, social media channels and other customer interaction points.The solution is designed to help forward-thinking organizations bring together the silos of customer interactions across channels, interpret it and use it to make business decisions. In the past CRM efforts have focused on internal processes and objectives but neglected the customer. The combination of Vovici and Verint will allow customer experience leaders to drive an outside-in focus by understanding customers’ behaviors and needs. 

How are prospects responding to the new combined solution?
Prospects see the Verint + Vovici acquisition as the first industry move to provide a single, multi-channel solution thatcan help them do their jobs better.As the market continues to advance, it is clear that VoC Analytics is a key, evolving and sought after technology. Combining the two organizations significantly cements the depth and breadth of the company’s VoC solution set and further accelerates its leadership. It also arms organizations around the world with a robust tool set - including speech analytics, text analytics and customer feedback surveys - developed and supported by a single, trusted partner to help them become more attune to customers’ wants and needs, and make better, more informed business decisions. The company’s technology includes online survey management solutions that enable organizations to centralize feedback data collection; panel management to create a centralized repository of customers and their demographics, organizational characteristics and respondent history; and feedback analytics to deliver metrics that link customer loyalty to operational actions. Until now, this has never been offered in a streamlined solution by one company.


What are the key steps a company needs to take when looking to implement a VoC strategy?
Look at your data and evaluate the technology that you currently have in place for understanding customer behavior and listening to the VoC. What are the different applications currently in use to monitor and analyze interactions at the retail store, record and analyze customer service calls, listen to conversations on social networks, and analyze how your customers navigate your website or buy online? Which of these applications, if any, share data? Which are siloed? How do you bring everything together?


Remember, you’re not only trying to understand what technologies you have in place, but also who owns the different pieces. Many large organizations have social media and web analytics teams, brand marketers and IT groups. Bring everyone to the table. Interestingly, many of the large, more customer- and technology-savvy businesses today have developed small VoC working groups, or centers of excellence, that are explicitly set up to help solve the problem of enterprise-wide listening. The size of your organization will dictate what the groups look like, their functions and goals. But, regardless of the structure, most organizations need an evangelist with the organizational authority to get all these diverse groups, with their individual needs and perspectives, going in the same direction.


Who should own the VoC strategy?The most successful organizations today are forming customer insight, customer experience or VoC customer groups. By establishing a chief customer officer (CCO) role, you in effect put your customers in the boardroom. The CCO will lead your efforts to capture, analyze and act on customer feedback to create better service and a more successful outcome.


Without a CCO, or a related customer-focused role, customer advocacy and action is dispersed and diluted. Marketing worries about the customer as a lead; sales worries about the customer as a prospect; service worries about the customer as a problem. There is nobody to think about the customer holistically as they experience and engage with your brands, products and the employees who represent your business every day.


Customer engagement begins with customer experience management. Few organizations consider the customer experience as a whole, let alone as something designed, implemented, and measured. A CCO can help design the customer experience, beginning with a program that closes the customer feedback loop.Success goes beyond the VoC strategy and relies on executive support as a business imperative. Really every employee owns the voice of the customer and empowerment comes through executive commitment.

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