When Dan Salter, director of customer care operations for VSP Vision Care, heads to Las Vegas for the Verint Systems Inc. annual user conference next week, he is hoping to get his hands on the software company’s newly released integrated call center software and see if the promises of tighter integration and boosted functionality are true.
Verint, headquartered in Melville, N.Y., announced its next-generation Impact 360 Workforce Optimization suite and its Voice of the Customer analytics suite last week. It will officially roll out the software at the 2011 Driving Innovation conference to more than 600 users on May 16.
VSP’s Salter, who currently uses a number of Verint tools at the vision benefits company’s call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., said he is expecting to see an overhauled suite of tools that will enable managers as well as customer service representatives to share data and create a more “holistic view’’ of the call center.
Based on early feedback from other users and industry analysts who were briefed on the products, Salter will probably not be disappointed.
“It’s a welcome step for new and existing customers who might still be on legacy systems,’’ said Keith Dawson, principal analyst with Frost & Sullivan in New York. “This is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for.’’
The Impact 360 Workforce Optimization suite bundles call center management tools to allow users to more fluidly move from operation to another, such as identifying call volume changes and adjusting staff schedules to accommodate it.
The Voice of the Customer platform is an integrated set of tools to analyze speech, text and customer feedback from multiple channels. Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of marketing at Verint, said the speech analytic tool was already integrated with the workforce optimization tools, but “now we are creating new integration points. If I ran [customer] surveys, I can run speech analytics against the free-form comments. “
Both sets of applications had been offered as suites previously, but the integration is intended to create a more tightly woven set of tools for both agents and managers, Hollenbeck added.
CredAbility Inc., a non-profit credit counseling services company headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., went live this week with three of the tools from the Impact 360 suite.
“We are in the process,’’ Dan Brown, CredAbility’s CIO, said of the software installation. “It takes a little while to get it set up, but we ran the first schedule.’’
“We had been using Excel and we did a fair amount of manual work to it,’’ added Brown, who is responsible for the technology at call center, which handled about 1.5 million calls and emails last year. “It was very cumbersome with a lot of verbal communication going on for scheduling.’’
Brown said one feature he is interested in using is an agent scheduling function that will enable agents to see changes in call volumes and workflow and then bid to take on the additional work shifts as needed. Because the dashboard can be used by agents and managers, workers can take on a more proactive role in operations.
Paul Stockford, chief analyst with Saddletree Research in Scottsdale, Ariz., said he was briefed on the new Verint products and said the new suites are not “just a tweak here or there,” but a “product redesign.’’
“When you log on, it’s one database that covers every app,’’ Stockford said. “If you are in the quality monitoring app and you want to schedule an e-learning [program], they are all running on your screen. It’s all right there. ‘’
Another key feature of the new suite’s integration is the ability to run it on one server for up to 250 users. The Impact 360 Workforce Optimization suite has a list price of $525 per seat for the full suite. This feature could end up saving users a big chunk of change, noted Dan Salter from VSP Global.
This feature “may not be sexy,’’ but is nonetheless important, Salter added.
“If I have smaller remote location, it would require its own server, ‘’ Salter said. “In the new architecture, I can support [remote locations] from a single server, which is a really big deal.’’