By tapping into data analytics to increase consumer engagement and collect and crunch more data than ever before, businesses can be completely revolutionized. As smart home assistants like Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular, businesses all over the world are beginning to realize the need to learn consumer preferences and habits in order to make more informed recommendations.
Anil Chawla, MD, Customer Experience Solutions (CES), Verint Systems, in an exclusive interview with Techseen talks about how Digital Transformation at the customer’s end can allow BPOs to understand customers better and personalize the service, using ‘analytics’ which help in making intelligent decisions.
Techseen: A consistent problem that big data analytics companies have been expressing is the massive explosion of data from customers and clients. What is the feasibility of storing and maintaining such voluminous data?
Chawla: One of the things to look at while handling big data is that we are talking about unstructured data, which is anything to do with a voice call. It could be on the basis of a web chat, through social media, or through email. All these things put together essentially constitutes unstructured data. From a big data analytics point of view, we are looking at driving insights out of these interactions.
When it comes to storage, it could be offline or online. Online storage means you keep that record for about 12 months, which is called retention. However, from a banking perspective, it could be compliance. So for compliance, they may ask for a retention of 1 year, which could be online and say for 7 years it could be offline retention.
We do work in 100 percent compliance recording for all telcos, banks, and whenever they need to fetch the details, we have screen recordings as well as call recordings. This means whatever was happening at that time on screen with respect to the context of the discussion is captured, along with the voice as well.
Techseen: With Internet of Things paving its way to our personal devices, what kind of threats are we exposed to? What do you have to say about the scope of IoT and how’s Verint tackling the security issue?
Chawla: When it comes to Internet of Things, an important trend we have observed is that each one of us is looking at different preferences. For example, I am looking at a specific time of the day for someone to reach out to me or may be I’ll reach out to my enterprise from a B2C perspective as per my convenience and my mode of convenience. Now that such preferences are generated, everybody needs a customized way for handling them.
Second trend is employee expectations. They expect to be more knowledgeable, they want their performance to be measured in a manner so that they needn’t do any repetitive tasks. In terms of an organization, if you make your employees more enabled and empowered by giving them more knowledge, you’ll have a much better rate of customer satisfaction.
Third, when you look at what’s possible with technology, the choice of technology and the mode of communication is what you want to decide.
So all the solutions today are built around these trends. All of the services that we provide today are supportive of encryption. When there is a personal record that comes around during an interaction of an agent and a customer, we employ a technology called Desktop Process Analytics (DPA), which can do something called mute and mask. When a customer is calling out a specific number of a credit card, that is masked out or muted to the agent who is listening. So it is very important in today’s world to ensure that the security threats are minimized, and wherever the customer data is getting stored, it is always encrypted.
Techseen: Do you think machine learning and AI is the ultimate key to protecting enterprise IT from advancing cybersecurity threats?
Chawla: Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are being applied more broadly
across industries and applications than ever before such as computing power, data
collection and storage capabilities increase. This huge volume of data is valuable input
for AI, which can process and analyse everything captured to understand new trends
and details. For cyber security, this means new exploits and weaknesses can quickly be
identified and analysed to help mitigate further attacks. Machine Learning and AI need
to be backed by an enterprise wide security system.
Techseen: What are the key developments you have observed in India in terms of adoption of new technology?
Chawla: Indian enterprises are now more open to experiment with cloud solutions. Depending on the customers’ maturity curve, they want to explore whether a solution can be deployed on the cloud or what would work better for them when signing up for Software as a service(SaaS) or managed services.
Verint provides options for customers to deploy solution a) on premise b) on cloud c) SaaS or Managed services. Indian enterprises are now more proactive is prepping themselves for the future
Techseen: What are the key performance indicators (KPI) that Verint employs to derive actionable insights customer engagement?
Chawla: We always talk about 6 steps to success. First, listen to the customers. This means we need to look at what the customers are talking about. There has to be a very clear compliance recording which needs to be maintained.
Second, we look at how to derive insights out of those recordings. This could be real-time, through which we can derive emotions, which can be dissatisfaction. So we look at what could be the next best action that could be given out by the agent.
Third, we have something called Knowledge Management which looks at similar levels of dissatisfaction, or similar level of issues which were reported by the customer while speaking, and how some of the other agents have handled it satisfactorily. We put those kind of instances right in front as part of the knowledge and then the agent can look at those and quickly guide the customer while on the call.
Fourth, we look at it from the enterprise feedback management view where we work towards evaluating customer experience. This could be done by either sending a survey or feedback once the call is done. The other way could be looking at the digital experience. For example, asking for a feedback when the customer is already on the website. So we can initiate a feedback request even before you exit. Or the customer can initiate a feedback through an available channel.
Just like evaluating customer’s emotion from speech, we also have the same tool for text called text analytics. This is based on the Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand some of the keywords and phrases that can be caught and analyzed, and quickly raise an alarm before it goes viral. Both text and speech analytics merge and work together as a part of VOCA, which is Voice of the Customer Analytics.
Techseen: Some organizations are still building internal data analytics team, why should they use Verint’s platform instead of building their own?
Chawla: Customers are anyway building up their own analytics team. Our solutions are backed by our expert consultancy and an end to end hand-holding to help enterprises leverage on the available data.. We also ask our customers to get their own team. We are not someone who will not build that kind of a capability with the customer.
We want to build up a center of excellence with all of our customers. The insights derived from Verint’s analytics’ platforms are further worked upon by our consultants in conjunction with our customers’ expectations. And we train the customer teams to ensure that when we move out as part of change management, it becomes a continued and consistent experience with the customer.
Techseen: Can you comment on your engagement with startups, SMBs and non-traditional innovators in the space?
Chawla: As an end customer, it depends on the size of the organization and the kind of experience they are looking at in terms of continuity. When you look at a startup, some of them would probably be looking at a valuation to happen in 6 to 8 months and then sell it off. So they might not seek a long-term engagement. Their approach is very different. The best fit for Verint is to understand a long-term vision from the customer which means at least 1 to 3 years of sustenance that they would like to create.
Techseen: What are the 3 things you could have done differently in the company that you are running?
Chawla: For an India market perspective, one of the things that we could have done better was in terms of our reach via expansion. Today, what we do is target top and key customers in a field. But we would definitely wish for a horizontal penetration for Verint and expand the outreach beyond the top and key customers in an industry vertical.
Secondly, we want to propose flexible timings for our employees. And knowing the new generation, they have all the tools and things to work from anywhere they are. So if we give them flexibility, they will be much more productive. This is something which will help us in the coming future.
Thirdly to integrate our partners and customers together as a community. A community, which is driven by knowledge sharing. We look forward to include Indian customers in the Verint user forums across APAC, hence creating a vast learning platform for our Indian customers.
Techseen: At a time when Asian markets have become a key focus for many global players, which region in SEA do you think is best suitable for digital expansion? Why?
Chawla: My first preference would definitely be India, especially after the B2C (Business to Customer) and G2C (Government to Customer) verticals, opening up. India is doing fantastically well in terms of automating services from a government and citizen perspective..
From a B2B point of view, we are seeing lot of services being available on digital platform as part of enterprise wide rollout , but when you look at service being available for B2C environment its still limited., I think lot of it is still desired. There is a scope for improvement in optimization and better level of service expectations.
Techseen: What is your current team strength and do you plan to expand anytime soon?
Chawla: In India, we have grown 3X in last 3 years in terms of our employee strength. In the last 24 months, we have invested heavily in global shared services centers in the country. We have a center in Bangalore which is providing support and services to our customers across the globe including APAC and India. We will keep investing there in terms of ramping up the Bangalore facility.