Birth of the Customer Engagement Hub

<>Arguably, no function within the modern enterprise harbors more valuable consumer data than contact centers. Every day formal and informal contact centers hear from customers, prospects, investors, employees, vendors, and other constituents. Unfortunately, these organizations often function like libraries in reverse. Valuable content is deposited every day but seldom withdrawn. The information is squirreled away in various data lockers accessible only with different keys controlled by different individuals and departments. Successful enterprises require timely and accurate customer information. It needs to be cultivated, harvested, and shared.

Today the most common means of harvesting and mining this data are interaction recording systems. Many of these are augmented with speech analytics and voice of the customer surveys. While very valuable, VoC and speech are largely focused on the voice channel and large formal contact centers. This is inadequate for today's business environment, where management values customer engagement as essential to accomplishing corporate objectives.

A recent global survey of 2,200 management and professional people validates the importance of customer engagement. Following are a few excerpts from the survey, which was sponsored by Verint Systems.

  • Three out of five business priorities for the next 12 months relate to customer engagement.
  • Eighty-two percent of businesses believe the challenges of managing customer engagement and experience will grow during 2021.
  • Eighty-eight percent of executives expect to invest to a high or moderate degree in cloud-based customer engagement and experience solutions.

Organizations cannot strengthen customer engagement unless they fully understand what drives customer preferences and loyalties and which roadblocks might be standing in the way. As gatekeepers to the only complete reservoir for this information, contact center leaders have an outstanding opportunity to elevate their organizations and advance their personal careers by reinventing their function as an information hub rather than a basic service organization.

The challenge is to collect and assess data from multiple sources, not just the contact center. Customers interact with the organization at many levels, both in person and remotely through voice and data communications. Examples include contact centers, corporate websites, tech support centers, credit and collections, field services, retail stores, and branch offices. While interaction data can be collected from some or all of these contact points, it is rarely in a consistent form and channeled to a central repository where it can be analyzed holistically.

Leading vendors recognize this. We see this in the trend to cloud architecture, which provides the agility and scalability to accommodate vastly increased information capture and storage and the growing maturity of advanced analytics to extract meaning from this data.

However, these initial efforts are still limited in the number of touch points connected and the variety of channels captured.

One vendor's solution to these limitations is the recently launched Verint Customer Engagement Platform. Verint believes the foundation of the new platform is the Customer Engagement Hub, a universal collection point for data from multiple channels and touch points. Verint's DaVinci engine leverages artificial intelligence to distill actionable intelligence from the vast volumes of data channeled through the Customer Engagement Hub. The software is built on an open architecture that makes it possible for technology partners to create unique applications that serve specific needs.

According to Verint's senior vice president of marketing, Ryan Hollenbeck, Verint is uniquely qualified to pioneer the concept of the Customer Engagement Hub because of the company's long history of serving not just contact centers but also back-office operations, retail storefronts, and branch offices.

"We understand every touchpoint and have data for both contact center and back-office interactions," he said. "We call this Boundless Customer Engagement."

Looking to the future, we can see the evolution from what we have long known as the workforce optimization (WFO) suite to a model similar to what Verint has introduced. WFO has been around for 15 years. The technology ties together individual solutions, such as interaction recording, quality management, workforce management, e-learning, and speech analytics. The applications communicate with each other and share a common database. A simple example is automatically scheduling training sessions based on quality scores, WFM schedules, and e-learning resources.

Think of Verint's Boundless Customer Engagement as WFO reimagined. The value is easy to understand. A common data hub aggregates information from multiple touchpoints then summarizes it into actionable information by leveraging advanced analytics powered by artificial intelligence. This process can uncover cost saving opportunities, potential compliance violations, and the most important drivers and constraints for accomplishing customer engagement objectives.&

Dick Bucci is founder and chief analyst at Pelorus Research. He can be reached at