Automation is the buzzword in manufacturing and services industry. The contact centre industry has been witnessing disruption as more jobs are getting automated. The US-based Verint entered India 18 years ago, and today serves large organisations like Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Wipro and others with its data analytics, contact centre and back office solutions. Ady Meretz, President (APAC), Verint, talks about a host of issues including data privacy, automation, and the outlook for the contact centre industry. Here are the excerpts.
How do you respond to the Facebook's data breach scandal?
People are really concerned about data privacy now. It is imperative for organisations to adhere to financial compliance and prep themselves to protect customers' data. Customers' data inputs helps to service them better but no customer would want their data to be misused. In the next couple of years, we see a huge growth potential for data protection services. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandate will be active from May. Under the new GDPR Act, any organisation working in the European market needs to protect the privacy of the customers.
Through the back-office and contact centres, you collate data on the customers of your clients. What are the safeguards that you use to protect this data?
For the Payment Card Industry compliance, we mask information shared during a call or an e-mail or chat so that critical data is not visible to the employees of an organisation. Masking can be used both on data or voice. Our solution allows organisations to study the history of the customer. This helps organisations to map the source of the data, and control the data. The right encryption embedded in our solutions does not allow any data breach.
What is your message to the workforce in the BPO industry that's losing jobs to automation?
The introduction of automation solutions would free up human resources to focus on more complex issues. Take the example of automation in the manufacturing industry. While robots are able to do the repetitive and simple tasks, there is still the requirement of humans to address complex issues that require a level of intelligence, understanding and empathy. This should be the same in BPO, utilising human resource to address these areas, providing greater levels of service, and reducing errors. We also acknowledge automation as a huge opportunity for an enterprise to up skill their talent.
Can you elaborate on your investments in automation?
Automation is one of our key focus areas. Empowering back office teams with additional automation tools. We have recently acquired an organisation - Nxtera - that provides automated testing and compliance capabilities in the contact centre and financial trading floor environment. In early December, we acquired Next IT, a conversational artificial intelligence company. Next IT combines natural interactions with intelligent assistants and chatbots that engage customers more effectively and make employees even more productive.
How do you enable your customers in the domestic banking and telecom sector to be more customer-centric?
In one of her recent interviews, telecom secretary Aruna Sundarajan had shared that the days of regulatory arbitrage are over. Are telcos going to be mere utilities, or they can become more than that and offer real value to customers. Let's look at cloud, data centres, artificial and virtual reality, big data analytics - all are converging. While India's telecom and banking sectors are going through turbulent times but if we assess the customer aspect, it is the perpetuity of 24x7 customers, which is encouraging telcos, and Indian banks to re-engineer their customer experience strategy. The digital channels, contact centres, retail marketplaces, and the back-office are the four pillars of customer experience. We are making Indian banks and telcos more customer-friendly.
We work with top four out of five telecom providers and top two out of three private sector banks in India. Keeping in mind the customer experience needs for India's regional language users, Verint offers speech analytics in 10 Indian languages with close to 100 per cent contextual transcription accuracy.
Globally, we are working with a large number of BPOs to assist them comply with the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in a number of areas. For example, ensuring accurate and verifiable recordings of all calls to ensure the 'right to be forgotten' can be successfully and fully completed.
BPOs catering to the telecom vertical have to handle significant amount of calls. Organisations are facing the challenge of reducing call time (and therefore cost) but still being able to deliver a quality customer service experience. By utilising our voice biometric solution, the client can automatically authenticate the caller, the overall call time, and costs can be significantly reduced. For example, one of the largest banks in Singapore was able to bring down a three minute call to less than two minutes with our solutions. A reduction of 45 seconds per call can save an organisation as much as 25 per cent of customer service costs.
India's business process management (BPM) market is expected to hit $50 billion by 2025, what are they key drivers of growth for the BPM market?
The back office sector is evolving rapidly with the focus developing from pure cost efficiency to process improvement and resource utilisation. This means that pure BPM solutions are no longer sufficient; there needs to be a layer of Artificial Intelligence (AI) utilising machine learning and automation that allows constant refinement of processes and available resources.
In the coming years, growth in India's domestic BPO market would be the biggest change maker. Parallel to the growth in the domestic BPO market, there has been a surge in demand for speech analytics in regional languages. We are the only vendor that supports analytics in 10 different Indian languages - Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Indian English. Banks are especially differentiating through speech analytics in regional languages.