The value in marketing and the contact centre getting better acquainted

Verint global chief marketing officer shares the customer engagement trends making a marketing-customer support alliance a must for organisations

Verint CMO, Celia Fleischaker, believes it’s high time for marketing and the contact centre to become better acquainted.

“I think there is a renaissance for marketing and the customer contact centre. They haven’t worked together much before, and I don’t think they’ve seen the value of working together enough,” she tells CMO. “As we’re moving along and building better end-to-end customer engagement, marketing is recognising the value in the contact centre solutions, and the contact centre is seeing the value marketing brings to the table around digital channels. It’s an alliance that holds lots of promise.”

Fleischaker is witnessing this firsthand in her role as marketing chief at Verint, a technology vendor providing solutions for customer engagement management across enterprises. She joined the organisation two years ago just after it spun out its cybersecurity division in order to become a pure-play CX solutions provider. Since then, she has been working to build out a marketing organisation to support Verint’s recalibrated brand positioning and refined technology offering.

The job has also involved mapping out the whole customer journey, identifying pain points and building a go-to-market plan around addressing them.

Celia FleischakerCredit: Verint
Celia Fleischaker

It's worth pointing out marketing owns the CX remit at Verint. But as Fleischaker describes it, the task is undertaken in partnership with the rest of the organisation.

“We have a core group we call the ‘CX catalysts’ that pulls in every part of the organisation that’s touching the customer. That group works as a virtual organisation to drive change,” she explains. “They look at all the CX results from across the company, take them back into their teams and we track and push. We look at the major metric sets across the organisation but then also look at different departmental CX measurements. That’s what then drives the contact centre.”

It’s removing the silos between parts of the organisation touching the customer – most particularly marketing and customer service – that Fleischaker is keen to see occur across its client base. And it’s something Verint wants to make a priority.

“We worked a lot on our solutions and how we work with not just the contact centre, but beyond that,” she says. “We are seeing the walls of the contact centre dissolving, and those customer engagement solutions thought of mostly for service are blending into what marketing has typically done. At Verint, we have solutions not just for the contact centre but what’s happening in digital and digital channels and pulling those together.”

Better connection

For Fleischaker, a key first step to better connecting marketing and the contact centre is getting them talking.

“Both groups have so much information for the other one,” she says. “For example… speech analytics, something that’s typically been used in the contact centre, is now being used to understand what’s happening with the digital side. People will call in when the digital self-service side has failed, and you can point to that.

“So there is so much value in connecting these groups, which have operated in silos historically.”

Other aspects of what’s happening on the customer service side where marketing hasn’t been involved could provide significant value for customers if the two partner up, Fleischaker continues. She points to the increasing number of digital channels that have sprung up during the pandemic reshaping the way people want to engage.

“As marketers, we have understood digital interaction and owned it for a while. It’s an opportunity for marketing to take a seat at the table they didn’t have before and work with the contact centre and other parts of the business to drive value in a way they haven’t been seen as being able to before,” she says.

“The shift to digital was a necessity [during the pandemic] and you had to do it. People had to embrace this very quickly, and digital is lasting. But where we’re now seeing weakness is around those who have added these new digital channels and ended up with another silo. That can become a cause of customer frustration. So going back and looking to take a longer-term view of digital, pulling that into the broader, integrated solution set, is important.”

One of the fastest growing digital channels is messaging. Verint has recognised this and acquired conversational messaging player, Conversocial, last year. Off the back of this, the vendor is focusing on in-channel automation around chat, email and messaging in a bid to assist organisations gain a better view across how a customer moves from one channel to another, then keep the knowledge base and information flowing with them.

“What happens so many times is I connect on chat or messaging, then I go to call in and they [systems] just don’t speak. That’s what we’re focused on now: Connecting those dots and breaking down the silos to ensure better use of the channels as well as a better employee and customer experience,” Fleischaker says.

“We’re getting better – the technology is there to do that connectivity. It’s an investment, but one with payback that happens pretty quickly. We are seeing people pulling those silos together and making that effort.”

Alongside this, there’s the ongoing question of how to balance automation and human interaction.

“We have a customer, an airline in America, using our messaging solutions. They went hard core, took away all human interaction agents and moved completely to digital and messaging. It has worked really well for them. But I don’t think most organisations are able to do that,” Fleischaker says. “Supporting the preference and meeting the consumer wherever they want to be met is the critical thing. It is harder to forecast and schedule, but it is the right thing.”

Actioning data and insight

Actioning data is another key pillar in supporting more personalised and relevant end-to-end engagement against this confluence of channels. In response to this desire for more insight, Verint’s solution pulls together data gleaned from across its client base and interactions managed in the cloud into an engagement data hub to power and build artificial intelligence (AI) models.

“We’re seeing our customers use that to drive an understanding of their customers,” Fleischaker says. A good example is an insurer in The Netherlands using this data in real time. Their agents are on the phone speaking to someone, and data is pulled in to guide them as they’re on that call, showing what’s happening with that customer. That could be background information serving up contextual knowledge, their profile, but also listening to help them understand by someone’s tone of voice to inform next steps. They’ve seen hugely positive results from using that.”  

Fleischaker also flags speech analytics as an increasingly sophisticated technology capability for marketing teams.

“That’s the one application you haven’t seen a lot of marketers pick up on yet. But the application in marketing is pretty amazing – you can understand the interactions through speech and text analytics happening across every channel, categorise them and get a feel for where we have opportunity, what’s not working over here,” she adds. “For marketers, that’s a goldmine.”

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