Verint CMO offers vision for the ‘voice of the customer’ market following Foresee acquisition

Verint Foresee VOC
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The acquisition of Foresee will allow Verint to extend its capabilities in offering voice of the customer (VOC) technology from its traditional foothold in areas like contact centres to a wide range of digital channels, according to its CMO.

Melville, NY-based Verint announced its decision to acquire Foresee, based in Ann Arbor, Mich, on Monday. Both firms were among the vendors listed in the most recent Market Guide for VOC solutions published by market research firm Gartner Inc. Others include OpenText, J.D. Power and Qualtrics, which was recently acquired by SAP.

In an interview, Verint CMO Ryan Hollenbeck told B2B News Network the company was already strong in areas such as enterprise feedback management, speech and text analytics. However Foresee has deep domain expertise in areas around how customers respond to experiences on web sites, mobile apps and chat applications. Verint was also interested in acquiring Foresee’s capabilities in what it calls as “causality analysis,” which tries to get at the root issues behind areas that adversely affect (CX) customer experience and how to improve them.

“Foresee is also well known for benchmarking capabilities,” Hollenbeck said. “If you’re digging into CX and you want to get a holistic view, you have to not just look at how well you’re doing against your own objectives, but against industry objectives.”

B2B organizations may be looking more closely at VOC products and services as they strive to operate in a more “omni-channel” fashion, engaging with and serving customers across touchpoints that now include social media services as well as chatbots and interactive virtual assistants. Hollenbeck said this was leading to a “hybrid workforce” that still involved human employees for high-level issues but increased automation for more common support issues and other needs.

“This is a big part of what we’re seeing with our customer all over the world, where they’re trying to strike the right balance” between human and machine-based approaches, he said. “Many of them are really trying to drive towards self-service. That was once all voice self-service, but now it includes the web, mobile, everything.”

Hollenbeck said the purchase of Foresee would give Verint a richer story to bring to customers in a variety of markets. This includes financial services, telecommunications and health-care, among others.

“If you’re a large company, you’re getting thousands of questions about benefits,” he said. “If (the VOC technology) can help respond to those enquires and if the accuracy is very high and the natural language understanding is very high the impact can be huge.”

While some organizations have a designated CX leader, Hollenbeck said buying teams can also involve CIOs who are being tasked with helping enable the transformation senior executives seek. That’s part of the reason Verint is marketing itself as “the customer engagement company” in a way that speaks to decision-makers across the enterprise.

“A lot of people associate (customer engagement) with customer service, but there are all of these other elements of customer engagement — back office operations, branch or remote stores and of course digital,” he said.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.