Last month, some 1,200-plus contact center and operations leaders gathered in Las Vegas for Engage 2015—The Verint Systems Global Customer Conference, where they shared strategies, best practices and lessons learned on the journey to customer engagement optimization. The following is a brief look at a few of the changes that one organization made to improve its customers’ front-end experience.
What do customers expect when they connect with your organization? An apples-to-apples comparison of customer experience within a single vertical no longer exists. No matter which industry you’re in, or what types of products or services your company provides, your customers’ expectations are set—and continually raised—based on their last experience with service leaders like Apple, Zappos and Starbucks.
A Canadian financial services company realized this dynamic and leveraged speech analytics to make “transformational changes” in its vision and mindset to differentiate its brand based on customer experience. While, historically, the bank had focused its customer experience efforts on the interaction with a contact center agent, the leadership team decided that they needed to start driving the experience before that connection by ensuring that the IVR experience matched the “wow” experience provided by the agents.
Center leaders also wanted to remove the burden from agents of having to spend interaction time trying to turn around a caller who was feeling frustrated from having to spend time on hold or in the queue. “We weren’t looking to build a hold experience,” the operations director explained. “We don’t want customers to be on hold, but it’s inevitable.”
Using its recording platform to capture the voice of the customer, the operations team applied speech analytics to analyze what other companies were doing and to dig deeper into what customers were saying when they mentioned their experiences with other banks, as well as leading service providers in other industries.
The contact center then made three changes on the front end to create a better experience:
- The contact center held a voice competition, based on the reality TV series “The Voice,” in which frontline team members auditioned to be the bank’s IVR voice. They then replaced the conventional IVR script with fun, positive messages. (Employees enthusiastically participated in the competition, which is now an annual event.)
- Hold music, which leaned toward 1980s pop songs, was updated with more modern selections. Recognizing that music preferences are subjective, the center added an option that allows customers to select their own hold music—or they can even choose to listen to the CEO’s iPhone playlist.
- The center added a callback assist option to allow customers to save their place in the queue and receive a call when an agent is available.
“Allowing more control in the customer’s hands creates a better experience,” the director said. He added that, although each of the changes might not be considered momentous on its own, but “if you combine all three together, it really allows customers to have a better experience.”
The center used speech analytics to collect customer comments after each modification to see how those changes impacted customers’ views of their experiences and to gauge whether the organization was moving in the right direction with their strategy. As the director pointed out, one of the key benefits of leveraging speech analytics for the bank was the ability to go from “We think” to “We know” when making changes that impact customers.
Practical pointer: A critical component of the bank’s journey was creating a story—a manifesto—that defined the customer experience vision and helped to communicate it throughout the organization. The story, said the operations director, “is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You tend to become how you see yourself and how you define yourself.” But, he added that it’s also important to align the journey with your day-to-day operations and practices: “Your manifesto and your actual practices have to match—otherwise you’re going to come across as disingenuine,” he said, and your efforts will fail.
To read the full feature with additional insights from Engage 2015, download the article here.