Many Channels – One Experience

In an exclusive interview with Martechvibe, Dr Chris Humphris, Head of Digital First Engagement (EMEA) at Verint, shared how automation enables consumers to self-serve lower-level inquiries while freeing up agents to address more complex issues. This could create capacity in contact centres to improve overall customer sales and consumer service experience. Tell us about your […]


  • In an exclusive interview with Martechvibe, Dr Chris Humphris, Head of Digital First Engagement (EMEA) at Verint, shared how automation enables consumers to self-serve lower-level inquiries while freeing up agents to address more complex issues. This could create capacity in contact centres to improve overall customer sales and consumer service experience.

    Tell us about your professional journey.

    I started as an engineer working with massive computers to model the airflow over Formula 1 cars and planes. That was an amazing experience, but I wanted to explore the business impact of software more, so I moved to SAP to sell massive business transformation solutions.

    Around 15 years ago, with the advent of SaaS, I became very interested in digital customer engagement and had been focused on this area ever since. I’ve worked across technologies like live chat, messaging, email, personalised video, and sophisticated conversational AI.

    I very much enjoy this dynamic industry and look forward to continuing to help leading brands provide exceptional customer experiences by leveraging cutting-edge conversational AI to empower agents and consumers alike.

    Everyone wants to have omnichannel capabilities, but what are the challenges that brands face with operations?

    We address these challenges for organisations every day. Since our inception more than 25 years ago, Verint has been the industry pacesetter. We have grown through a steady stream of innovations, acquisitions, 600+ patents, an extensive partner ecosystem, and deep accumulated knowledge from processing billions of interactions per year through our platform.

    Consumers increasingly expect more options to engage on their channel of choice.

    It is relatively easy for brands these days to offer an ever-growing list of channels, whether the consumer enquiries come through marketing (on Instagram), sales (through web chat) or are customer-care related (via email or Facebook Messenger).

    However, simplifying more channels could create a bigger challenge for brands. Brands having many channels require delivering one experience. Providing consistency of service across channels continues to be a challenge for organisations.

    This channel proliferation has been further complicated for organisations, as customers are purchasing different products, from other channels, and from different vendors, at different times. This has created silos in work operations, data, and systems, which massively impacts a brand’s ability to engage and understand unique customers and their intent.

    In addition, each specialist vendor managing an individual channel potentially requires its agent workspace and automation platform. To automate a particular conversation with a consumer, I need to build it multiple times for each channel, using multiple AI technologies and retain silos where agent escalation is only possible within each vendor platform. What if I want to enhance conversations across all my channels with consistent, contextual knowledge capability? This adds significant cost and complexity if you use multiple platforms.

    How is private messaging or direct messaging a game changer?

    We are all consumers. We spend our lives using messaging on our mobile devices interacting with friends and family. We want that same experience with the brands we interact with every day–from providers of electricity, healthcare, insurance and more.

    Messaging has quickly become the foundational layer that enables brands to deliver one-to-one conversational experiences at scale. Automation enables consumers to self-serve for lower-level enquiries while freeing agents to address more complex issues. This can create capacity in contact centres to improve overall sales and service experience for customers.

    The need for brands to embrace private and social messaging channels to drive speed and ease in digital-first customer service has never been greater.

    A recent Verint global survey showed that social messaging is a key area for investment moving forward – 39 per cent of companies surveyed plan to boost their spending on social messaging and customer service for digital-first initiatives. In addition, our State of Digital CX study cited that 37 per cent said messaging channels would have a significant technological impact on their customer experience strategy this year.

    How can technology (automation) and agents work together to deliver maximum value for the customer experience?

    To quote Shane Brown at Apple, “Automation has the potential to rid the world of the mundane”. Great conversational AI can be trained to fully address many customer requirements, particularly the simple and transactional intents. By enabling self-service options to manage these high-frequency interactions, we free agents to focus on the more complex and higher EQ activities. AI is fantastic at doing the mundane at scale, and people are brilliant at understanding a problem, creating ownership, and ensuring the positive customer outcomes they desire.

    AI and automation are applied to understand and prescribe actions to improve customer satisfaction and agent performance. In an era when agents are working remotely without a supervisor nearby, agent-assisted interactions may provide help to frustrated customers after having failed self-service experience.

    How can conversations flow from one channel to another without losing information, tone and context?

    It doesn’t matter whether consumers are calling into a contact centre, chatting with a bot, navigating the website, or responding to a survey. It starts with the ability to deeply understand every consumer touchpoint across every business area. Our AI and analytics can help brands truly listen to their customers and employees. And beyond listening, we provide brands with the ability to respond with ongoing improvement—from real-time responses that improve individual interactions to executive-level responses that drive ongoing improvement processes across the organisation.

    This requires orchestrating customer engagement across different channels. Work orchestration, combined with sophisticated case management, provides the base capability for conversations to be accessed and viewed across channels. However, to make the conversational experiences flow, you also need good conversation design and the ability to mine and analyse your customer conversations for continuous improvement.

    An approach that consolidates customer interaction (Bot, Digital, Voice) into a single platform will ensure the interactions and records each customer engagement regardless of channel. This gives an agent the needed context, and the customer is never asked the same question twice.

    We help brands to address these challenges with Verint Engagement Orchestration, a solution that provides a holistic method for integrating customer interactions across an entire organisation to eliminate silos. We simplify for customers to start a conversation in one channel, seamlessly switch to another, and continue. Even if a new agent picks up the interaction, the customer won’t have to repeat themselves. Agents have all the information they need, and customers get the experience they deserve.

    It seems like a paradox, but can more channels simplify the customer journey?

    I would have to say no. While consumers have a choice of channel, it has come at a price of complexity for organisations. Operationally, this complexity has resulted in siloed teams, each providing a different level of customer service. With the addition of each digital channel comes an increase in total contact volume.

    For consumers, digital channels have made it easier to contact brands for simple and transactional activities, reducing the effort required. These digital channels, however, have positioned these brands well for automation by creating additional operational capacity and potentially reducing costs.

    Consumers increasingly use digital and self-service channels to engage—and their expectations have skyrocketed. And as the number of channels continues to increase, brands face increasingly complex customer journeys. They have to understand how customers want to engage and effectively manage those interactions.​

    If you liked reading this, you might like our other stories
    The Impact Of Speech Tech On CX
    Data Virtualisation: The Key To Optimal CX


    More Like This