Customer engagement took a hit in the early days of Covid-19, as changing attitudes and behaviours combined with unprecedented shifts in the volume of customer interactions. As sales moved to digital channels, and consumer expectations increased, organizations gained a new appreciation for the importance of technology.
“The customer engagement space has changed so much,” said Celia Fleischaker, Chief Marketing Officer at Verint, a global provider of customer engagement software. “With the shift to digital, companies are trying to figure out not only how they can build a relationship with their customers, but also how they can stay in contact and engage with them.”
A marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience with business-to-business technology organizations, Fleischaker joined ITWC CMO Fawn Annan for an October 2021 installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series designed to showcase strategies for gaining a competitive edge through the intersection of marketing and technology. Their discussion centered around the blending of the CMO role and technology against the backdrop of new, powerful customer engagement tools.
It’s All About Connecting
From Fleischaker’s perspective as CMO of a company that helps organizations pivot to meet new complexities in customer and workplace dynamics, there’s an overriding reason Verint is considered one of the best customer engagement companies. “It’s all about connections,” she said. “It’s about connecting with your customers when they want to connect, where they want to connect, and how they want to connect.”
Fleischaker also attributes Verint’s success to the breadth of the company’s cloud platform, their AI technology, and the ability to use data to create empathy so that people really understand where their customers are coming from and can anticipate their needs. “As CMOs, we have a lot of data about customers, including how they interact with our websites and what they looking at,” she said. “Verint is able to pull information from those interactions into a single data hub and platform, and then use that data to drive a better experience and build a better relationship.”
Closing the Engagement Capacity Gap
After discussing the current engagement capacity gap – the inability of many companies to meet digitally-driven growth with an equal investment in resources – Fleischaker cited two examples of businesses that leveraged Verint tools to close this gap. A well-known retail outlet used digital behavior analytics and experienced management solutions to gain a quick understanding of market trends, while a major credit card company was able to shorten the onboarding time for customer engagement workers from six weeks to two.
In response to a question from Annan about why CMOs should embrace the coming together of marketing and technology, Fleischaker confessed that she wonders why any CMO would not welcome technology. “It is such a crucial part of what we do in marketing,” she said, “and it’s so good for marketing because it enables you to measure your impact, see how you’re performing, and drive that never-ending quest for more budget and resources.”
Not All AI is Created Equal
On the subject of artificial intelligence, which is core to Verint’s cloud platform, Fleischaker stressed the importance of getting the most from an AI investment. “It’s an amazing tool and there are many ways to use it,” she said, “but not all AI is created equal.” In her opinion, it’s an area where you can make an impact and show results pretty quickly – goals she says are more easily achieved with an AI blueprint tool from Verint that helps organizations focus their efforts.
The podcast concluded with advice for CMOs, including having a culture in which it is safe to fail, balancing the time taken to run and drive the business, and collaborating with the rest of the organization to improve customer experience. “CMOs have been working in digital channels for years, so there’s a lot they can bring to the business,” she said. “At Verint, we work with many of the most iconic brands in the world. Being able to help them better connect and drive relationships with their customers is a meaningful opportunity.”