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The market we made

1999 was a seminal year for the web. Y2K established the need for more agile approaches to coding. Myspace was introduced on the internet signaling a new era of social media. IE v5 launched as a harbinger of exponential growth in browser options.

And, I co-founded a company named OpinionLab that pioneered the idea of empowering customers to provide feedback to companies by enabling them to proactively engage companies in their own words, on their own terms via the digital channel.

The idea of customer-initiated, or opt-in, website feedback was born. We established the now widely-shared concept that listening to customers to better understand the issues most important to them in that moment was just as important as asking customers about issues important to the company after it.

OpinionLab’s value was immediately embraced by the companies who understood the internet represented a market disruption that would fundamentally change their business models.

Pretty soon, our familiar [+] feedback symbol was seemingly ubiquitous as our little company was doing business with a Who’s Who of ecommerce early-adopters who leveraged OpinionLab to guide their growth. OpinionLab’s fundamental value proposition was to quickly diagnose and resolve CX issues on websites by combining Voice of Customer with operational data that made that VoC actionable.

Real-time insights from website feedback  and quick action on those insights by getting the right information related to key digital interactions into the right peoples’ hands led to increased revenue, operational efficiencies and improved customer loyalty for our customers.

A couple years later, a new player emerged in the digital feedback space that sought to extract value from digital Voice of Customer a bit differently. Founded in 2001, ForeSee developed a methodology to connect the digital experience to the bottom line through evaluative post-transaction surveys.

Over time, this methodology resulted in industry-leading benchmarks, indices and analytics that enabled customers to understand the key drivers of customer satisfaction within their digital experience, and how their digital experience was performing relative to their peers. Company-initiated website feedback carved out an important role in helping companies grow through digital. Soon, ForeSee had an enviable roster of customers using evaluative VoC data to improve their business operations.

Convergence of digital approaches

Fast forward 15 years as the digital market matured into the digital mobile market and both OpinionLab and ForeSee were prospering.

In fact many customers found value in leveraging both ForeSee and OpinionLab in tandem to gain greater competitive advantage. I heard from many customers how they derived great benefit from using the diagnostic capabilities, and mobile friendly functionality of OpinionLab to identify and remediate issues that “moved the needle” on the key CSAT drivers identified in their ForeSee Index scores.

As time went on, it became clear combining the diagnostic and the evaluative approaches created additive value, and that integration of our solutions with other types of experiential data like session replay and operational data like CRM amplified that value.

Digital transformation

Today, digital has evolved from a commerce channel into a core business competency being leveraged to drive improvement and operational efficiencies throughout the enterprise.

With it, the importance of digital VoC has evolved from a means to improve the effectiveness of digital channels into a critical tool to improve overall business performance. The proven utility of digital VoC to improve overall Customer Experience has made it a “must have” component in the toolkits of CX leaders.

While the importance of putting digital VoC together with operational context to make that VoC actionable remains critical, the market is moving from digital VoC point solutions to unified, enterprise VoC platforms that heavily emphasize digital as the preferred consumer engagement channel. Organizations are moving their focus from surveys to conversations that seek deeper understanding of customer interactions through automation. And, Artificial Intelligence is evolving us from “actionable data” to “predicted behavior” and from “real-time reaction” to “prescribed future action”.

The path forward

Truly customer-centric enterprises will now be capable of going beyond reactive repairs,  creating a climate where organizations are able to prevent customer frustration before it happens, or intervene simply by engineering their standards and automating their processes in ways that better anticipate customers’ needs, wants, and aspirations.

Two years ago, OpinionLab was brought into Verint in anticipation of these market trends and I quickly understood the strategy Verint has been executing for many years to enable customers to combine VoC and operational data to help them differentiate and win with CX.

The digital capabilities of OpinionLab are a great complement to Verint’s core capability of leveraging automation to turn contact center customer feedback and operational data into actionable insights and operational improvement through advanced speech and text analytics and other innovation,

Now, with the addition of ForeSee, we’ve extended leadership in digital VoC, but more importantly have taken the next step in our unifying strategy that brings together experiential and operational data from across all customer interaction channels throughout the customer journey to deliver actionable insights and operational improvement.

I am very excited about what the future holds at Verint, and more importantly, what the future holds for our customers.

For more information on Verint’s VoC Solutions, visit the Verint website.

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