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Daniel Ziv, Vice President of Customer Interaction Analytics, Verint

Speech Technology Magazine sat down with Daniel Ziv, VP, customer interaction analytics, Verint, to discuss the company's latest release.

Q. Daniel, please tell us a little about Verint and your role with the company.

A. Verint provides actionable intelligence software to organizations all over the world.  Our software transforms raw data -- video, voice or text -- into critical intelligence customers use to enhance security and improve business operations.  Since our initial entry into the speech analytics market more than four years ago, I have been fortunate to work with our global enterprise customers to help drive business value from this transformational technology. This "actionable intelligence" is the most important information in the vast amount of structured and unstructured data that organizations capture. It is the intelligence that organizations need to perform more effectively and make better decisions to achieve their most important goals. 

Q. What is your latest speech product release?

A. We recently announced the availability of Customer Interaction Analytics (CI Analytics), a new enterprise analytics offering that helps organizations transform customer relationships through actionable intelligence.  It combines platform-agnostic speech analytics with a proven Interaction Intelligence™ methodology to help organizations enhance customer retention and satisfaction, increase first call resolution and improve sales and self service effectiveness.  It is designed to address real-world business challenges and help organizations generate performance improvements in every department that shapes customer loyalty, satisfaction and value.

Q. How is this significant for enterprises?

A. CI Analytics expands the power of speech analytics technology beyond the contact center, without the need for a large scale IT project. CI Analytics delivers the business insights drawn from the true voice of the customer to virtually every department in the enterprise - from marketing and product development to operations, fulfillment and billing, revolutionizing the way they understand and interact with their customers.  Interactions can be captured and mined regardless of where they take place - the contact center, claims and order fulfilment departments, help desks, accounts payable - or anywhere else a customer speaks to the organization. It helps enterprises develop a deeper understanding of their customers' needs and helps them optimize customer interactions to promote long-lasting, profitable relationships.

Q. What makes this solution unique and why?

A. This is the first time advanced speech analytics technology has been combined with a proven consulting methodology that drives organizational change and it is offered as a managed service regardless of the company's current recording infrastructure. Leveraging Verint's experience with over 125 speech analytics deployments across 40,000 agent positions, we have identified that almost any enterprise can benefit from the insights that speech analytics technology provides but many do not have the internal structure or resources to drive the organizational change. Verint's extensive performance management experience, behavioral analysis knowledge, and consulting expertise enable us to offer a full solution to our customers, even if they already have a recording or quality monitoring application.  This unique combination of technology and methodology enables enterprises to identify their most important interactions and analyze their true impact on customer relationships, with high ROI and low IT footprint. 

Q. What recommendations do you have for companies looking to deploy a speech analytics solution?

A. Organizations need to look for a solution that goes beyond keyword spotting. The real business value that speech analytics solutions provide is not just finding out how many times people say the word "frustrated," but why they are frustrated. For that, you need to capture, index and mine the entire conversation not just a list of predefined keywords.

But even the best technology may not be enough to solve the challenges of understanding customers' needs and exceeding their expectations. If you do not have the internal resources for driving change, look for a solution that transforms the insights of the speech analytics technology into action. Actionable intelligence transforms quality into an enterprise initiative and increases the success of quality programs by addressing customer touch points in the contact center and enterprise-wide.  

Q. What trends have you seen in speech analytics and where do you see them going in the future?

A. Initial speech analytics solutions were impressive. You could type a word and find calls where that word was mentioned. While they had a "wow" factor to them, they sometimes provided only limited business value. More advanced speech analytics solutions are now available that cluster root causes automatically using advanced statistical methods and leverage the entire context of thousands of conversations. Data miming is also being applied to automatically identify statistically significant trends. We are reaching a point of real intelligence going from understanding what was said to understanding why. In the future, I anticipate speech analytics solutions being applied to any customer voice interaction. Live speech interactions are still the most common way people express their needs, and thus, hold the richest insights about customers. As we start tapping into this vast world of rich unstructured voice data we are finding out so much that we did not even know to look for. 

Q.  How do you suggest enterprises balance the needs for ROI with customer satisfaction?

A. Customer interactions, like customers themselves, are not all alike. In most cases, about 80 percent of customer interactions are transactional in nature. In the future, many of these will likely be self served by the web or speech IVR solutions. The key focus of the enterprise regarding these 80 percent of the interactions should be on improving efficiencies and reducing costs. However, the other 20 percent is what we call the "moment of truth" interactions. These interactions are what build or destroy customer loyalty and need to be treated differently with more focus on effectiveness in meeting the needs of that unique situation and learning from the customer and less focus on cost and handle time. The ROI of these "moment of truth" interactions is in long term customer loyalty and brand image. Striking this balance is not easy for most organizations. A key component of Verint's Interaction Intelligence methodology is the ability to automatically identify these distinct types of interactions and build an internal process for treating them differently.  This helps organization strike the right balance between short term cost reduction and long term customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Q.  Is there anything that you would like to add?

A. Companies continue to struggle with the basic tenets of customer-centricity - understanding customer needs and keeping customers satisfied.  Our CI Analytics offering enables enterprises, regardless of their recording platform, to build stronger and more profitable customer relationships.  This new approach makes Verint solutions available to a broader range of customers and supports our expanding enterprise actionable intelligence strategy. At the end of the day, customers want to feel that their voice is being heard and the needs are being met. That is truly the key to long-lasting customer relationships.

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