Verint Systems' Anil Chawla on how speech analytics is bettering customer experience
After making significant inroads into India’s business process outsourcing (BPO), telecom and banking sectors, Nasdaq-listed analytics firm Verint Systems Inc is targeting insurance players, digital wallet providers and the overall fintech sector to expand its market here.
Verint is in the business of providing its clients with actionable intelligence and bringing out insights from unstructured data in the form of voice, text and videos. The firm’s analytics solutions have helped clients across sectors break the silos between front-end and back-office operations, says Anil Chawla, India managing director of customer engagement solutions at Verint Systems.
In an interview with TechCircle, Chawla, who has worked across the technology sector for more than two decades in companies such as Cisco Systems and Avaya, spoke about speech analytics and where India features in Verint’s global landscape.
Tell us about Verint’s solutions for customer engagement.
Verint operates in two fields. One is the contact centre which is the front-office and the second is the back-office. We also work in the fields of compliance, financial fraud and detection. When we talk about customer engagement, it happens at the back-office and front-office and we have managed to bridge that.
India has been heavy on contact centres. We have eight out of 10 BPOs in India working with Verint. We also work closely with KPOs (knowledge process outsourcing) centres where a lot of data gets processed. In the back-office we provide solutions for work automation, employee productivity and compliance.
How does speech analytics help Verint’s clients?
Customers like instant gratification and contact centres are expected to know the customer and his or her preferences better. Analytics solutions built over voice or text help build a context of why the customer is calling, what was the last instance and what are their preferences.
What speech analytics does is make all the information available in real time. It also provides guidance to the agent in real-time or near-real-time on what should be the next steps taken to resolve the customer query, and also provides knowledge to the agent on the screen. This automates processes and solutions such as knowledge management in the back-end and helps the client to ensure that calls are addressed at the first go.
Speech analytics also helps clients bridge the gap between broken processes at the back-end. When a customer is complaining, they talk about what is the concern area and the analytics tool is able to pick up those phrases or context and can provide insights on why the customer is unhappy and what should be done to retain the customer, and can categorise according to business issues.
For example, if there is a product or service which does not exist today but is being offered by a competitor, it can be offered quickly without losing the customer.
What are the challenges with speech analytics, especially in India where multiple languages are spoken?
In India, customers switch between two different languages. We have created a set of 10 local languages for India. Largely, 80% of the usage alternates between English and Hindi and we are not creating a library but each word on the call gets indexed with context. For instance, what is being said before, what is being said afterwards… the pitch and tone determines the emotions.
Most of our customers have deployed English but some have also deployed regional languages. We are ready with those languages and also with Sinhalese for the Sri Lanka market.
Can you share specifics about the return on investment (RoI) that clients derive from using your solutions?
One of the ways is to measure the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which gives an indication of how happy your customer is. For example, we have deployed our speech analytics solutions with a bank in India and they have seen their NPS go up. Earlier, the only way to measure this was through audits.
Another example is global BPO Sutherland which has deployed our speech analytics for their operations in India. Outside India, if a customer specifically says ‘do not call me back’ for collections, a breach invites a penalty. Our systems tag a customer when the specific phrase occurs and ensures that agents cannot call them back, thereby saving the company from being penalised.
Another RoI is in the field of outbound sales for a bank in the US where we have seen the outbound rate of pitching increase by 10-15%. Based on recorded calls of successful pitches, we determine what is the right time when the pitch should be made and agents are able to do more consultative selling.
What are some of the other voice tools that have been deployed by your clients?
We work with banks to deploy voice biometrics, which reduces the multiple verification stages for the consumer. In India, where two-step verification is mandatory -- one layer could be your voice and the other a secret question -- some of our bank partners are looking to deploy this for their HNI (high-net-worth individuals) consumers.
Use of voice biometrics also reduces the call time. It can cut down authentication time to less than 10 seconds from 30-40 seconds, which also saves operational costs for the company.
Outside India, we have Singapore-based DBS Bank as one of our major customers which uses speech analytics and voice biometrics.
Which sector constitutes the biggest client base for customer engagement services? What can you tell us about your growth trajectory in India?
Our largest sector today is the BPO industry, followed by banks and telecom providers. India is a growth pillar for the Asia-Pacific region. Our primary market continues to be North America, which contributes more than 50% of our revenues.
However, from an India point of view, we have been growing at three times the market CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6% and are leaders in growth in the contact centre space.
Our major thrust now is to get into insurance and shape knowledge management. We are also looking at fintech companies as they are big on the enterprise and consumer fronts. Any business-to-consumer sector is an opportunity for us to provide customer experience and engagement solutions. We see the electronic wallets and Online Travel Agent (OTA) segments getting stronger and we have global leverage with clients such as Expedia and Agoda.