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218: Exploring the Future of Customer Engagement: Insights on AI, Employee Augmentation, and Industry Trends with David Singer

podcast January 30, 2024


Background
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Dave Singer is Verint’s Global Vice President, Go-To-Market Strategy. Singer is responsible for driving the GTM strategy for Verint’s Workforce Engagement solutions, and the Verint industry leading Open CCaaS Platform. The strategy is based on developing innovative messaging and offerings both partner and direct that drive customer centric differentiation and aligned value with both customer needs and expectations.  

Singer joined Verint in 2002 and has held a variety of roles in Verint including Director of Solution Consultants, RVP of Solution Principles, and most recently RVP, Presales, focusing on Solution Consulting and Innovation. Prior to Verint, Dave was a Principal at eLoyalty and a Software Architect at IBM.

 

Questions

  • We always like to give our guests an opportunity to share in their own words a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got from where you were to where you are today?
  • What is Verint? And what does Verint do?
  • What would you say are maybe two or three overarching themes or pain points that your customers predominantly have challenges with as it relates to closing that customer engagement gap?
  • What do you think are maybe two things if your clients came to you and asked where do you think we need to be putting our focus for 2024 to kind of set ourselves apart from the competition and really be able to supersede our customers’ expectations?” What would those two things be based on your experience, as well as maybe what the data is actually telling you?
  • Could you also share with our audience what’s the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can’t live without In your business?
  • Can you also share with us maybe one or two books that you’ve read that has had a great impact on you? It could be a book that you read recently, or even one that you read a very long time ago, but it has had a great impact on you.
  • Can you also share with our listeners what’s the one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about? Either something you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Now, before we wrap our episodes, we always like to ask our guests, do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote if for any reason you get derailed or you get off track? The quote kind of helps to get you back on track. Do you have one of those?

Highlights

Dave’s Journey 

Me: I know we read a little bit about your background in the bio that I just read. But we always like to give our guests an opportunity to share in their own words a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got from where you were to where you are today?

 

Dave shared that he’ll go to beginning to now, the opposite order of the quick CV Yanique read. So, as was said, he started out life as a Software Engineer and after a little while, he realized he could have more impact on more customers and more people if he moved from just building one piece of code to consulting with organization, how do you use technology to improve their customer service and improve their operations. 

He did that for a while, then he moved over to Verint and he really felt that Verint had a great set of applications and tools to do exactly that. And so, moved through there, again, continue to help customers deliver better experiences, their (Verint) customers better experiences for their customers and their employees. And his move to go to market strategy a few years ago, it was really a great opportunity for him to be able to, again, step back from looking at individual brands or individual opportunities and look at more holistically, how can Verint help all brands, how can Verint help all of their customers really help deliver better customer service, better agents, and employee experiences, and without sounding too, too corny, but really, really help people.

  

What is Verint and What Do You Do?

Me: Now, could you also tell our listeners, what is Verint? And what does Verint do?

 

Dave shared that Verint is the customer engagement company, and they’re focused on helping brands elevate customer experience while also reducing costs and improving efficiency. So, the core problem in the market they set out to solve is something they call The Engagement Capacity Gap. So, if you think about it, customers, consumers, their expectations are going up and up and up and up all the time as there are more channels, more modalities, more ways that consumers can interact with brands, their expectations, the number of contacts go up, and their expectations go up. 

One of the things he thinks is really interesting is that people are now expecting online speed of service in the real world. So an example he uses a lot is, it’s different on the experience, if you go to a store, you see something you like maybe it’s the colour you want is out of stock, or the price is too high. So you can scan it on your phone, and have it delivered for an online retailer before you get home

So, that kind of intersection of the real world and the digital world drives incredible expectations increase. And the problem brands have is that they have relatively flat budgets and resources to meet these expectations, that’s incredibly hard. 

So, what Verint does is delivers they call “CX Automation Capabilities or Customer Experience Automation”, ways they can help the employees of brands meet these expectations without having to do exponential increases in hiring. So, what they do is they help their customers engage better with their consumers to meet their expectations in the most efficient and productive and deliver great experiences across the board.

 

Overarching Themes or Pain Points that Your Customers Have Challenges With 

Me: Based on your experience, Dave, in the customer engagement space and the different customers that you work with, what would you say are maybe two or three overarching themes or pain points that your customers predominantly have challenges with as it relates to closing that engagement gap?

 

Dave shared that he looks at from one pain point any two dimensions. One is, from the customer perspective, it’s interesting, the common belief used to be channel switching is bad, you should deal with customers and solve their problem with a channel they first reach out on. But that’s changing, customers and consumers want to change channels at their own direction, right. So, you may start with an email then flip to chat, then call in, then follow up of an email, that’s fine, that’s how consumers want to interact, especially since all of those channels now land on your smartphone, it’s not like you’re moving to a different device per channel. 

And that creates a real challenge for brands to be able to manage all these channels in a completely seamless way so that customers aren’t repeating themselves every time they connect.

And then on the flip side, the challenge for employees is, theme probably come up a few times here is great employee experiences are necessary for great customer experiences

If your employees are disengaged and stressed out and don’t have the tools they need, then they’re poor experience is going to just seem is going to translate to poor customer experiences. 

So, he thinks brands really struggle with how do you manage the customer need for seamless interaction and continuity of interaction across channels, while also providing the engagement, the tools and the experiences for their employees that allow them to deliver great experiences to customers when they interact.

  

Things an Organization Needs to Focus on to Set Themselves Apart From the Competition and Supersede Their Customers’ Expectations 

Me: Now Dave, we are basically closing out 2023 and we’re embarking on a new calendar year, lots of things happening across different industries throughout the globe. What do you think are maybe two things if your clients came to you and said, “Dave, as the subject matter expert in this area, where do you think we need to be putting our focus for 2024 to kind of set ourselves apart from the competition and really be able to supersede our customers’ expectations?”

“What would those two things be based on your experience, as well as maybe what the data is actually telling you?”

 

Dave shared that there’s a couple of things, they’re both related. He would classify 2023 as the year of experimenting with AI, Gen AI and Chat GPT, and Open AI, all that really hit the world in a big way, Novemberish of 2022. 

And through this year, a lot of brands are experimenting with how do we use this to deliver better content, deliver better answers, support our customers better, but it’s very much been a year of experimentation. 

He thinks 2024 is the year where that has to get operationalized. Brands need to look at, “Okay, we’ve experimented with this for year, we’ve done some trials, next year is the year to make that drive value for us.” is one thing. 

The second thing, he thinks this is really important. And this is core to the ethos of a Verin is think about employee and human augmentation, not replacement. So, for a long time, there’s been this belief or this talk track that, “Hey, if we get the right Chatbots and the right RPA and the right tech in place, we won’t need people anymore, we can automate that away.” And he doesn’t believe the data shows us, that’s not the case. There are things that humans are better at than machines, at a certain level of complexity and value and emotional importance, humans want to speak to humans.

So, he thinks the focus of AI and automation, and we’re very focused is our delivery of CX automation is really around human augmentation, because that gives the employees the power and the great experience that lets them help customers in a better way. So, 2024 is going to be the year of getting value from AI versus experimenting and pivoting from human replacement to human augmentation with CX automation.

 

App, Website or Tool that Dave Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

When asked about online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Dave shared that there is so many, for them he’d say broadly it’s access to knowledge that comes in a few different ways. 

So, it’s the ability to do research on the internet in general and is to get access to broad information. And he thinks right now, looking at some of the Gen AI and the rag tools that let us turn that information into knowledge to get answers faster.  

So really, for him, it’s all about getting to answers, so any of the any of the online tools that allows for knowledge retrieval quickly. And again, we have knowledge management solutions and wiki solutions, things like that. But to him, it’s all about access to knowledge and answers quickly.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Dave

When asked about books that have had a great impact, Dave shared that Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning is a great book, it’s a classic that always reminds us to focus, look at things from the customer perspective, and design our solutions and our tools, our processes, from the point of view of the customer, not the point of view of what we as a company, or we as a brand want to do. That’s one of being pivotal in how he thinks about things. 

Another one that he thinks is great just from a business strategy book is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith. So again, it reminds us that things change, that things change increasingly quickly. So, we always have to be evaluating our strategies and our approaches and our solutions to adapt to where we are right now and where we want to get to. 

And just because a pattern worked for us last year, doesn’t mean it’s going to work this year, doesn’t mean throw it away. But you just can’t have that assumption that doing the same thing over and over again, is going to keep having the same results going forward. 

So, he would just look at those two and ones he read both a while ago, but come back to all the time, the focus on customer perspective first and always evaluate are your strategies effective right now? Not were they effective last year is really important.

 

What Dave is Really Excited About Now!

When asked about something that he’s really excited about, Dave stated that first he’s going to share something completely unbusiness related, personal that he’s excited about that he’ll bring it back. So, his daughter just started college this year and he’s really excited to watch that process of her learning and growing and moving from a kid in high school to a to a young woman in college and getting ready to meet the world. So, he thinks it’s first aside from the fact he’s just so proud of her, it’s just really exciting to watch and remember what that development looks like and feels like and how to take that forward. 

The other thing if anyone has seen him on video sometimes, his office, he has martial arts weapons all over his office, he’s been training that for a while. He’s currently training for his next rank, which is exciting for him personally. But one of the core concepts in martial arts is something called beginner’s mind, which says no matter how advanced or experienced you get, you can never forget that you’re always the beginner at something. There’s always more to learn about the basics. And every time he looks at training for a level or a promotion, it reminds him when he comes back to work that, “Hey, I always have more to learn, right. There’s always something to pick up from even things I’ve done 1000 times.”

So again, he thinks that’s a really important mindset going forward. And it’s something he reinforced with his teams all the time is, just because you think you know, doesn’t mean you know. 

Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you couldn’t be better. Just because someone does something differently in the way you do it doesn’t mean it’s worse, it just means it’s different, it’s something to learn from that. So, he thinks bringing that concept of beginner’s mind back and keeping that, it keeps you humble, and keeps you open to getting better every day.

 

Me: Yeah, those are really good points. Awesome.

 

Where Can We Find Dave Online

Website – www.verint.com

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/verint

X – @Verint

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/verint

LinkedIn – David Singer

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Dave Uses 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Dave shared that it’s not so much a quote but he just believe there’s always a path forward. “And just because you don’t see the path in front of you right this second, doesn’t mean it’s not there.” So, for him, when things get tough, he just remember that just because he doesn’t see the path right now, doesn’t mean if he doesn’t take two steps forward, he’s going to break through the trees, it’s going to be right there. So, holding on to that fact is how he gets through adversity or when times maybe aren’t turning the way he thinks they are.

 

Me: So, there’s always a path forward. Alright, thank you so much for sharing Dave. Well, Dave, just wanted to say thank you very much for taking time out of your very busy schedule, and hopping on our podcast and sharing a little bit about your journey, as well as what you do at Verint and the great value that Verint is bringing as it relates to customer engagement and closing that gap for the many different organizations and customers that you work with. And also some of the things that organizations should try to focus on for 2024 as we really try to utilize all of the different knowledge sources, and technology opportunities that have been presented to us in a way that really helps to exceed the customers’ expectations and even give them what they need or want before they even know that they need it or want it, so really enjoyed the conversation and I just want to express our deepest gratitude to you.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Links

•     Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning

•     What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

 

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