Publicly traded companies make acquisitions for a variety of reason, mostly having to do with the ability to quickly grow in an area of need. Such was the case when software company Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNTC) recently announced its acquisition of OpinionLab, a company formed to take the concept of Voice of the Customer (VoC) to a new and different level via digital.
WooTrader spoke with Verint Global VP and General Manager of Customer Service, Ben Smith and Opinion Lab VP of Marketing, Tim Whiting to uncover what the new partnership means to both companies moving forward.
WooTrader: Could we could start with a quick description of what Verint does for companies that are clients?
Ben Smith: Sure. Verint is a publicly traded software company. Our mission is to help companies optimize customer engagement using actionable intelligence.
Verint provides technology to help Fortune 1000 companies engage with their customers.
What’s the importance of Voice of the Customer (VoC) in today’s customer engagement climate?
Tim Whiting: We do a lot of business with financial services companies today as has Verint historically. Listening to customers and acting on what they tell you delivers, in my mind, 3 main benefits.
First, it helps companies acquire new customers. Second, it helps retain customers and, importantly, keep them loyal. Finally, there’s advocacy. If you are delighted to do business with, for example financial services company, you’re going to tell people.
What, specifically, does OpinionLab bring to Verint's Customer Engagement Optimization platform?
Ben: Verint is always looking at new ways, new trends that allow us to help our customers engage with their clients. We already do a lot of work in VoC across contact center channels and proactive company initiated feedback.
What we haven’t done a lot of is work on the digital channel environment where customers are empowered to leave customer-initiated feedback.
Can you give an example of how this might work?
Ben: Sure. Say you visit a company’s website, try to change your password and can’t do it. With OpinionLab’s digital engagement you can trigger an OpinionLab comment card that will add digital feedback to help the company respond to your concern.
The acquisition of OpinionLab helps Verint enhance its digital feedback capabilities. We thought OpinionLab was the best company out there to help us do this thanks to its technology, solutions and people.
What about from the OpinionLab side?
Tim: For us, it’s a natural extension of our value proposition. Listening, helping our customers listen to their customers, analyze what they are seeing and helping them take action in real time is what we are all about.
Verint provides us additional resources – even something as seemingly simple as geographic reach. Today OpinionLab is primarily focused in North America and the UK. Verint affords us opportunities in great new markets around the world. To sum up – a lot of resources and paths to accelerate our growth.
Any other major advantages to the acquisition?
Ben: Verint and OpinionLab have a lot of joint customers. Many of our customers have been talking to us about wanting to consolidate all of their VoC technology onto a single platform. At the same time, they want to expand the channels through which they listen to their customers.
One large insurance company has already leverage much of their VoC suite but they are also an OpinionLab customer. When they heard about the acquisition, they were extremely excited about the prospect for one solution to analyze and pass on customer feedback across their enterprise.
What about the impact of the acquisition on how companies will be able to optimize their customer engagement platform across channels?
Ben: Going back to that insurance company I talked about earlier that company has lots of different channels for their customers to use when interacting with them. They have contact centers, which can involve speaking over the phone or via chat or even email.
After a customer calls the company’s contact center, he has an opportunity to complete a post-call survey. That survey can be done over the phone or even through a Web link.
Recently the company asked Verint to measure what’s going on in its social channels. Verint is able to take all that information and aggregate what customers are saying about the brand and how customers are interacting with the brand.
With OpinionLab technology the customer can hook the comment card on the website and provide feedback in the moment.
Related: AN INTRO TO FINANCEBOARDS
How soon will OpinionLab be integrated into Verint?
Ben: We don’t have the technology integration completed but we’ve had a lot of great dialogue. Many of our customers who are joint customers have already done some of the integration.
Initially we’re going to look at how to integrate at the data layer. At this point we don’t have a specific timeline to discuss but it is actively being planned right now.