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Verint acquisition of ForeSee gives VOC software an upgrade

By combining Verint and ForeSee, users can capture customer interactions through SMS and customer surveys, as well as through online traffic and digital channels.

With the Verint acquisition of digital customer insight vendor ForeSee, the customer engagement vendor will add a broader range of voice-of-the-customer capabilities for its users.

The $65 million acquisition gives Verint several new ways for its users to gather voice-of-the-customer (VOC) data, according to a Verint customer.

"ForeSee is complementary to what Verint has," said Joe Megibow, CEO at Purple, a mattress company based in Alpine, Utah, that operates primarily online. Purple has licensed customer experience (CX) software from Verint's OpinionLab, which Verint acquired in 2016.

Megibow, who has worked with many VOC software vendors, described several primary methods of gathering VOC information: a more data-driven, analytical approach, like net promoter score; the American Consumer Satisfaction Index; and using channels, such as customer surveys and direct chat, to reflect customer sentiment.

Verint has operated more in the customer survey and chat spaces, while ForeSee has been more involved with analytics. Merging those made the ForeSee acquisition attractive to Verint.

"Digital is becoming the obvious priority," said Ryan Hollenbeck, chief marketing officer at Verint, based in Melville, N.Y. "We felt the acquisition of ForeSee allowed us to double down on the digital portion of the customer experience."

Importance of VOC software

ForeSee is complementary to what Verint has.
Joe MegibowCEO, Purple

VOC software is becoming more important for organizations as they try to capture a greater view of their customers' sentiments. But, as organizations continue to combine physical footprint with a growing digital one, a complete VOC product can help users gain a more comprehensive view of customers. The Verint acquisition of ForeSee in December 2018 was aimed at helping Verint deliver such VOC insights.

VOC software is a component of CX software that helps create better online experiences. As consumers continue to expect more from the brands they interact with, CX is becoming a larger priority for organizations.

According to Gartner, by 2020, more than 40% of data analytics projects like VOC software will be part of larger CX improvements.

"I've been in the space long enough to know that it's hard to get close to customers," Megibow said.

Before joining Purple in September 2018, Megibow worked in digital executive roles at Expedia and American Eagle Outfitters, and he is director emeritus for the Digital Analytics Association.

Megibow said Purple first licensed Verint due to its simplicity and flexibility in gathering the consumer perspective. He said he thinks adding ForeSee's capabilities to provide more analytics has potential. Purple has yet to license ForeSee.

"We saw with the Verint portfolio that it starts in a simple way and works to get answers to foundational questions," Megibow said. "I try to start by answering the question, 'Where is it working?' ForeSee can aggregate the behavior we capture and get predictive about it."

Verint's VOC software already contained tools to capture customer data through text and direct chat. But now, the vendor can also capture sentiment coming from the web, which is a welcome addition for a company like Purple that runs most of its consumer business online, he said.

"When used at the same time, [Verint and ForeSee] provide different windows into what's happening with the customer," he said.

Verint acquired ForeSee to add better digital analytics capabilities to its VOC software.
There are four important stages of VOC software: capture, analyze, act and monitor. Organizations can glean a better view of their customers with VOC software.

Challenges in tracking customer sentiment

Verint and ForeSee will remain separate products for now, Hollenbeck said. "We won't change the pricing model right away," he said, adding that, in the future, Verint will offer a bundle of the two products.

And while Verint's VOC software combined with ForeSee's capabilities can help track customer engagement, there are still challenges, Megibow said.

"A lot of it comes down to how to keep track of customers across all channels," Megibow said. "The simplest way to solve that, despite all the advancements in the technology, is to engage the customer and give them incentive to self-identify."

Megibow added that organizations that fail to focus first on customers will have a harder time improving CX.

"If you interact with your customers and they choose to tell you who they are, it means you're customer-centric," Megibow said.

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