Verint Buys Vovici, Marries Survey, Social Data

Can now combine call center monitoring, social listening, and structured surveys in Voice of the Customer platform.

David F Carr, Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

July 20, 2011

4 Min Read

14 Leading Social CRM Applications

14 Leading Social CRM Applications

Slideshow: 14 Leading Social CRM Applications(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

With its acquisition of Vovici, announced this week, Verint plans to combine call center monitoring, social listening, and structured surveys in one platform.

Venture-backed Vovici agreed to sell for a price of about $60 million, with the transaction to close within the next couple of weeks. Verint plans to combine Vovici's online survey service with its own text and voice analytics capabilities to strengthen the Voice of the Customer analytics platform it unveiled in May.

Verint licenses a version of Clarabridge's text analytics engine, which it uses for customer analytics that covers social media, email, and the output of its proprietary voice analytics technology. Because one of Verint's specialties is analytics and workforce optimization software used in call centers, its analysis of customer sentiment has traditionally been tuned to evaluating the quality of service delivered by customer service representatives. The Vovici acquisition will propel Verint deeper into the marketing applications of customer analytics, since Vovici customers include chief marketing officers interested in mining customer sentiment for clues to their product and branding strategies, as well as executives charged with monitoring customer satisfaction.

Vovici chairman and CEO Greg Stock said his approach is to treat marketing strategy and customer satisfaction as two sides of the same coin. "Our approach is based on the idea that it costs 10 times more to bring in a new customer than to keep one you already have," he said, so the best route to success is "listening to them and rolling their feedback into the strategy of the company."

Vovici had made itself a leader in gathering structured feedback from customers through online surveys and other feedback mechanisms, but customers were increasingly asking for a way to integrate that with the unstructured feedback coming in through social channels, Stock said. As the company investigated the feasibility of developing social media analytics on its own, he was approached by Verint executives about a possible acquisition that would allow the companies to combine their strengths and get to market quicker, he said.

Previously, Verint had a survey capability based on interactive voice response (IVR), but did not have its own online surveying software, said Ryan Hollenbeck, senior VP of global marketing at Verint. The IVR solution was typically used by call center agents who would conclude a call by asking customers if they wanted to take a survey. At the end of the survey, customers would also get a chance to leave a free-form recorded comment, and Verint used its voice and text analytics capabilities to recognize frequently mentioned words and other patterns to pay attention to in those recordings. Once the Vovici technology is integrated, the analytics platform will be able to correlate customer input received via voice, email, social media, and surveys into a common picture of customer sentiment.

Although the social media data can't always be correlated with specific customer records, customers in industries like travel and cable television use it to give them a broader picture than they might get from individual phone survey responses, Hollenbeck said. "Sometimes it gives you a heads up to see what's going on in the general blogosphere, in social media, and the Web."

Vovici offered online surveys but by itself didn't have a way of taking customer feedback over the phone, Stock said, so that's another way the two products were complementary. Vovici also had a previous relationship with Clarabridge for text analytics, which should simplify technical integration of the product lines.

One other difference is that Vovici went to market primarily (although not exclusively) as Software as a Service, delivered through its own data centers, where Verint primarily sells on-premises software. Hollenbeck said Verint plans to use Vovici's experience with the SaaS model to guide the development of its own hosted services.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

About the Author(s)

David F Carr

Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

David F. Carr oversees InformationWeek's coverage of government and healthcare IT. He previously led coverage of social business and education technologies and continues to contribute in those areas. He is the editor of Social Collaboration for Dummies (Wiley, Oct. 2013) and was the social business track chair for UBM's E2 conference in 2012 and 2013. He is a frequent speaker and panel moderator at industry events. David is a former Technology Editor of Baseline Magazine and Internet World magazine and has freelanced for publications including CIO Magazine, CIO Insight, and Defense Systems. He has also worked as a web consultant and is the author of several WordPress plugins, including Facebook Tab Manager and RSVPMaker. David works from a home office in Coral Springs, Florida. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him at @davidfcarr.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights