6 minute read
By Carmit DiAndrea
Posted in Customer Engagement
I've spent the past 20 years in and around contact centers, in part because the high degree of management-by-numbers appeals to my inner "data geek." I can't think of another work environment (except perhaps a manufacturing plant) that is so closely and painstakingly managed by data -- right down to the minute.
In a contact center, every supervisor, team lead, and manager knows the current average speed of answer, occupancy, cost of a phone minute, average length of a call and after-call work, financial implications of repeat calls, and so many more cost-driving metrics.
But increasingly, contact centers are being held to customer experience (CX) metrics, as well as the more traditional call center measurements. You've probably heard about the benefits of listening to your VoC at scale in the contact center. This may involve data on thousands or even millions of customer interactions and all the gems this enables you to unearth -- both at a holistic and specific level.
But how is this value realized in practice?
While it makes sense to hold frontline staff accountable for the experiences they deliver, for example, how do you measure success? What financial value will an extra point on a customer satisfaction or NPS survey yield to your business?
How do you answer that?
It's not easy, particularly since historically, the only visibility contact centers have had to Voice of the Customer (VoC) data was in the form of summarized monthly results (often delivered weeks or months after the fact) or the occasional fire drill in response to a handful of bad surveys. You don't have to be a data geek to recognize that it's nearly impossible for a contact center to enact meaningful changes to CX based on stale information.
Evolution in VoC Programs
It has taken years and a significant evolution of VoC programs for these new types of metrics to gain meaningful traction in contact centers.
Organizations and analyst firms alike are applying a great deal of scientific rigor, data collection, research, and analysis to tie seemingly "soft" metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction scores, customer effort and the like, to financial returns and losses. Here are a few examples:
As a result of this evolution of VoC programs, key metrics such as customer lifetime value, customer attrition rates, and the cost to acquire a new customer are well known within organizations. Organizations have even correlated these financial metrics to customer satisfaction and/or NPS. This knowledge, when combined with today's powerful unified VoC platforms, represents a competitive differentiator for organizations.
Unified VoC platforms provide a consistent means by which to listen to customers across all interaction channels within an enterprise (phone, email, chat, direct customer feedback, even social media and communities). They also offer a consistent means by which to analyze and act upon diverse VoC and operational data sets to prioritize action.
Why is this combination so powerful for contact center leaders? Operational performance-focused insight enables you identify CX shortcomings while VoC enables you to understand the reasons behind them. The ability to go a step further and drill down to individual interactions to deduce agent perception vs. customer perception vs. end outcome is especially compelling and valuable. The ability to understand the key trends while analyzing at scale on both a holistically and specific basis really is the best of both worlds and makes impactful action far more likely.
Value of a Unified VoC Platform
Contact centers have a great deal to gain from the implementation of unified VoC platforms, benefitting in three key ways:
1. An opportunity to share their challenges, knowledge, and finally gain visibility.
Anyone who has spent time in a contact center knows that many things can go wrong in a relationship or an interaction with a customer -- everything from how the agent handles a call to a business process or rule that was designed without consideration for customer impact -- or even failures in digital channels, technology, or a myriad of other things.
But these situations remain largely unknown outside of the contact center. We in the contact center have become experts at managing to KPIs, identifying a low-performing segment of the human workforce, and drilling down into data to uncover and address root cause. We've uncovered countless processes that are causing customers pain, made dozens of recommendations to make doing business easier for customers, and identified customer-facing technologies and processes that have failed customers and generated frustration and cost. We are the listening post for everything that is going right and wrong across the organization, ignoring silos, spans of control and internal politics.
We know all of the secrets.
A unified VoC platform connects customer satisfaction surveys to contact center interactions, KPIs, and related customer interactions, so that the underlying cause of customer issues can be identified and their financial impact quantified -- resulting in a single source of truth presented to all executives across the organization. For us in the contact center, this is a unique opportunity to quantify the challenges we've faced for years. We gain high-level visibility into the reality of what causes good and bad customer experiences, and the true value that we in the contact center deliver to the organization.
2. Equal access to VoC data.
Imagine no more fire drills in response to a single bad survey! Imagine being able to manage VoC feedback just like every other metric you manage -- down to the agent, team, or region, managed longitudinally, in context of trends occurring with operational metrics, process re-engineering efforts, ongoing promotions, and everything else that occurs daily in the contact center. A unified VoC platform that grants everyone across the organization equal access to data is the key.
3. Near-real time access to VoC data.
Today, an Instagram "influencer" or "fitspo" can collect hundreds of thousands of likes in mere hours. Customers expect that same level of immediate gratification in their interactions with organizations. The ability to access customer in near real-time and take action shortly thereafter is critical in meeting the increasing demands of customers. Today's unified VoC platforms not only process data that quickly, but also apply sophisticated analytics at the same speed, providing guidance toward the most appropriate actions to take given a customer's feedback.
But What's in it for Your Organization?
While I've been looking at this with my contact center hat on, the value to the organization can be immense. A single, unified VoC platform provides a business with an overall picture of the CX it delivers that spans channels. As a result, it can help companies understand how customers feel about their experience across their entire customer journey.
It also facilitates faster and more decisive action by opening up communication flows and enabling previously siloed teams to work together toward a combined end goal -- an improved omnichannel customer experience, a change which has significant bottom-line impact.
Ultimately, however, the ability to capture, analyze, and leverage VoC and operational data to make timely decisions can be an enormous competitive differentiator for your organization. So start channeling your inner data geek --and help your organization cultivate better customer relationships and greater revenue by effectively leveraging all of the organization's data and all of the organization's native knowledge about customer relationships -- wherever it may reside.
For more information about how Verint can help you deliver business value by listening to VoC at scale in your contact center, click here.
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