An interview with Tony Kitt
Verint are a software vendor that specialise in a variety of customer engagement software products, with a particular specialisation in the contact centre/call centre environment. Today we were joined by Tony Kitt, Customer Analytics Consulting Manager, who manages a team of Consultants in Verint's services business - and in this interview we catch a glimpse of what life is like for this Customer Analytics leader.
JOHN: Tell us a bit about your role and what a typical day at Verint looks like for you?
TONY: I am the Customer Analytics Consulting Manager for the Australia New Zealand (ANZ) region at Verint. I lead an exceptional team of experienced Consultants with varied industry and analytical backgrounds to help our customers get the most out of their Verint Interaction Analytics platforms — be that through analysis of their voice channels using Speech Analytics; their digital channels using Text Analytics; or working with their Quality Frameworks and Automation Roadmap using our Automated Quality Management solution.
At the risk of giving you a very cliché answer here, there really is no typical day at Verint, especially in consulting. We spend a lot of our time working with prospective customers around how our solutions are going to deliver them greater levels of insights and opportunities to better service their customers. Consultants in this space may spend their morning talking through the value propositions of the solution set with senior executives, then spend the afternoon assisting a customer’s operational team with delivering analysis that is going to drive improvements in digitalisation or reduce repeat calls
We engage with our customers the whole way through their partnership with Verint. Our customers often have very specific needs and requirements that need to be addressed efficiently and effectively. Being able to draw on years of industry experience and share these findings immediately with our customers is what keeps us busy, and keeps every day unique.
JOHN: Impressively, you’ve progressed your career to your current role at Verint, as Customer Analytics Consulting Manager. Tell us about your career journey that led you to where you are today?
TONY: I’ve been in contact centres and customer service since my university years. I studied towards a Bachelor of Business majoring in Business Management and Marketing at the University of Tasmania, and worked within the telecommunications industry part time. After completing my degree, I initially thought I would move immediately from Hobart to Melbourne to chase employment but was able to transition from a service-based role with my then employer into an Insights and Analytics role.
It was in this role that I had my first exposure to Speech Analytics and was really excited by seeing software that made it easier to really understand and take action based on the voice of the Customer. I can honestly say that everything in my career since has been a progression from that initial exposure. I knew what I wanted to do was concentrate on building my career specifically in the contact centre technology world, and could already see an exciting future in the vendor space.
Eventually, I made that move from Hobart to Melbourne and spent a little bit of time working on the customer-side, focussing on Speech Analytics and widening my exposure to multiple industry verticals before making the move into the tech vendor space with Verint. I’ll tell you the same thing that I’ve told every person that has come into the Voice of the Customer Analytics Team at Verint — and that’s that in the four-and-a-bit years I’ve been here, I’ve been constantly challenged, thrown out of my comfort zone and been pushed to exhibit skills that sometimes I didn’t realise I had. It hasn’t always been comfortable, but it’s progressed my skill and exposure in a way that I could never have anticipated.
JOHN: You have had huge success onboarding new recruits who have transitioned from the customer-side into the tech vendor world. Would you say there are particular transferable skill sets or behaviours that help to identify those who will make it in the robust world of technology consulting?
TONY: We absolutely have. Onboarding talent into this space is often in line with the conversations that we have with our customers when using our solutions. The technology is incredible, but it’s the people behind the technology that truly make the difference. When we look to bring in talent into the team, we look wider than individuals with product-based exposure: the technology can be easily taught, but there is a number of other skills that we target to bring increased value to our customer base. Typically, we speak to potential candidates about their experience in Data and Analytics, Customer Insights, Customer Experience, Automation, Efficiency and Optimisation.
Working directly with our customers and building relationships with key stakeholders is fundamental to success in this space. Customers want to work with individuals who understand their challenges and know how to present solutions that are achievable and customised to the environment in which they operate. We love to find people who are passionate about different aspects of what we do at Verint, whether that is building relationships, data manipulation and analysis, insights generation or change management methodologies — just to name a few — and giving them a platform to really explore these passions.
JOHN: What career pathways exist for customer service professionals and consultants at Verint?
TONY: Verint is a global organisation and in the Australia and New Zealand region we report into an APAC structure. Within this structure exists many opportunities to both widen skillsets within current roles and look to take on new challenges in different roles. We’ve had individuals move to and from consulting roles from other areas of the business such as Project Management and Pre-Sales based roles. There have also been opportunities for individuals to take on wider responsibility within region, supporting multiple countries; or move into roles that have a more product or strategy focus. 2020 really accelerated change in the entire contact centre industry and I’m forecasting more growth and opportunity in this space on the back of this.
JOHN: So, what are some of the typical roles you recruit at Verint?
TONY: I’m focused on Voice of the Customer Analytics and I’m typically recruiting Customer Analytics Consultants that can deliver value at all levels of customer engagement. Our consultants will be involved in demonstrations, training, implementation, strategy, and engagement. Sometimes we recruit because we know we have a number of customer implementations that will require someone to shift from one project to another rapidly, other times we recruit for roles that will see a more long-term embedded approach to the engagement.
JOHN: How does Verint promote diversity and inclusion, and if so, what opportunities/challenges exist?
TONY: As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who is also living with a disability; diversity and inclusion is something that I am personally very passionate about. Shortly before starting at Verint, I lost my hearing suddenly and without explanation – which possibly makes me the only deaf voice analytics professional in the market! Since then I have gone through several challenges within the workplace relating to my hearing; be that in everyday office communications, facilitating training/workshops or simply engaging stakeholders in environments with challenging acoustics. Verint have always been exceptionally supportive of my unique needs and understood that any adjustments that need to be made are going to improve not just my ability to perform my core role, but also contribute to my personal connection and inclusion as part of the Verint team.
As a leader, diversity and inclusion are exceptionally important to me and ensuring all people are equally represented and respected is non-negotiable. I’m lucky I work for an organisation that holds corporate values that align with my personal ones.
JOHN: What tips and advice can you offer to anyone looking to carve a career in Consulting?
TONY: Question everything.
Realistically, customers want one of two things – to be validated, or to be challenged. You can’t do either of those things with confidence and conviction if you don’t first understand the environment in which you are operating and the history behind the decision points that have led to the situation you are faced with. Asking ‘why’ isn’t suggesting that change needs to occur, it’s gathering information to understand whether you can validate a current approach, or instead challenge an approach and advocate for change. When you start questioning why things are the way they are, you’ll start understanding whether what’s happening right now is aligned with strategic objectives, or if there is some discord between current state and future state.
Alongside that, I think its important to figure out whether you want to be a generalist or a specialist. There’s plenty of room for both in the world of consulting, but each have very different skillsets that need to be sharpened in order to be effective.
JOHN: What challenges did you face during 2020 and how have you overcome them?
TONY: I think like everyone living in Melbourne in 2020, there were challenges both personal and professional. For me, the biggest challenge was that it was difficult at times to separate those two worlds. It was an extreme time of change for our customers, transitioning their operations from traditional contact centre environments to work from home and we found ourselves exceptionally busy very quickly. We onboarded multiple Consultants remotely, providing enablement and support virtually for roles that have traditionally been highly customer facing working on site at our customer locations. We anticipated a number of challenges in terms of ensuring that the team was supported and well connected. We found that despite being more geographically disparate than ever before, our team culture and engagement grew — with more dedicated time to catch up virtually, and by being able to co-deliver where traditional delivery may have been an individually led activity.
2020 really made us think about not only how we operate and provide support and value to our customers, but to reflect on an individual level what is important. I think 2021 is the perfect time to take those learnings and apply them to the future of work.
Our thanks to Tony from Verint for providing this insight into what ‘a day in the life' as Verint's Customer Analytics Manager looks like. If you are looking for a job in tech, or you are looking to recruit in the technology and sales space in APAC, including Australia, Singapore or Hong Kong, please connect with Kaliba’s Principal Consultant, John Armstrong, and the Kaliba team.