2 minute read
By Dick Bucci
Posted in Customer Engagement
Technology is a wonderful thing. It has brought phones smarter than us and Internet sites where we can shop for groceries and find our next soul mate. We hear a lot about the successes but what about the flops? Maybe you remember walking through a busy airport and spotting the occasional traveler wearing a "Google Glass." Google tried a bit too hard to squeeze a PC into an ungainly pair of spectacles. The idea flopped.
And what about the Segway? Remember those two-wheeled self-powered devices that were supposed to relieve us of the physical strain of actually using our feet? Didn't quite work out the way the inventors had hoped--although you can still spot a few shopping mall cops tooling around in them.
Actually, the high-tech landscape is littered with forgettable and costly mistakes. According to a Harvard professor, about 80% of the 30,000 new consumer products introduced each year fail to meet commercial expectations and are withdrawn from the marketplace. The reasons usually have much more to do with inept marketing than product performance, like finding out beforehand if anybody actually wanted these things.
As an awed observer of the new products and features shown at Verint's annual Engage Customer Conference, I was curious to learn where all these ideas came from and why Verint thought there was a market for them. Jennifer Waite, Sr. Director, Customer Innovation Partner Program, clued me in. She explained that it's all about listening to customers. Jennifer heads up Verint's Customer Innovation Partner Program which gathers product feature ideas and involves contact center and back office customers in the development process.
Program participants represent a balance of customer sizes and industry types, and Verint continues to add customers who are interested in shaping the next level of its products. Feedback is collected in a variety of ways, including surveys, focus groups and one-on-one in-depth discussions. There are also conference calls which Jen moderates. Through Verint's secure Community portal, customers will be able to submit ideas and share feedback among peers. There is even a mechanism for customers to vote on various ideas--and give Verint an early-stage indicator of potential demand.
A unique component of the Customer Innovation Partner Program is the Innovation Users Council. This is a large panel of actual day-to-day users of the software. Verint understands that if you want to build software that is easy-to-use and does what is intended, you need to communicate with actual users. Jen presides over conference calls during which users bring up questions, such as "Why are so many mouse actions required to perform a task?"
Jen said that the ability to reach out to actual users is "something that sets our program apart." Although the program has been in place for a relatively short time, there have already been significant contributions. A conversation about Verint's mobile agent app, WorkView, brought forth new ways that agents want to engage with work while away from the office, including electing to work extra hours, requesting a shift change or simply verifying their upcoming schedule.
There is a lot of conversation in our industry about customer engagement. Verint demonstrates through its Customer Innovation Partner Program that customer engagement is more than a clever phrase but a determined and focused effort to involve customers through key phases of the new product development cycle.
Founder and Chief Analyst
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