Transformation is happening in the market today. Transformation driven by the growing consumer preference for digital interactions using smartphones, tablets or computers. Transformation that is exponentially increasing the ways the voice of the customer (VoC) can reach you.
This transformation, in turn, has increased the amount of data generated by customer interactions. Some organizations are overwhelmed by it. The data is scattered across different departmental silos without the means to pull it together into a cohesive, actionable whole.
Leading organizations are changing the way they are thinking about VoC to stay ahead of the game. They’re using data from one part of their business to uncover the blind spots in customer interactions with other parts of the organization. On websites or mobile apps. In stores or branches. Across contact centers, responsible for either sales or support.
A More Strategic Position for the Contact Center
Data from call recordings and post-call interactive voice response surveys has typically been used to coach agent performance and manage quality within the contact center. Given the large volume of speech interactions supported in a typical contact center, these leaders are sitting on a statistical treasure trove of VoC. With advances in speech analytics, large volumes of speech data can be aggregated in relevant ways to enhance broader VoC and customer experience (CX) initiatives. Being able to “listen at scale” to customer feedback gathered in the contact center provides CX professionals an ability to act with certainty as they implement CX initiatives.
Viewing contact center interaction data through this different lens is elevating the contact center to a more strategic position, prompting organizations to look at their contact centers in a new way. This new perspective is also causing contact center leaders to reassess their roles. Armed with accessible and actionable VoC insights impacting all channels across an enterprise, the contact center now has the potential to fuel continuous improvement not only within its own four walls, but also across the entire organization in support of improved CX.
Here are three best practices for contact centers to achieve a new level of strategic value.
1. Get the right information into the right hands
We’ve previously written in this space about digital feedback management technology that gives customers the opportunity to provide real-time feedback on an in-store interaction as it happens. To make this VoC feedback gathered via digital channels valuable to store operations, it’s necessary to provide store operations timely access to the feedback with the right associated context to make the feedback actionable.
Similarly, VoC insight resident in contact center speech interactions will only provide value to broader CX initiatives if it gets to the right people in the organization again with the right associated context to make the feedback actionable.
New solutions are emerging that aggregate this kind of information with CX data from digital channels and other locations to provide CX professionals a unified view of VoC from across their enterprise. It’s important to consider speech interactions as a critical CX data source. As more organizations recognize their contact center as a CX hub, speech interactions are becoming a critical component of confidant CX decision-making.
2. Use operational data for additional CX insight
Contact centers have visibility into operational data that adds perspective and depth to customer feedback. Maybe the data has existed for years and has been used for other purposes within the organization, but the tools enable contact center leaders to overlay it with other CX data to provide clear guideposts for improvement.
For example, call recording and speech analytics data has long been used by contact centers for quality and performance management purposes, serving as the basis for internal staff coaching and training. But it also has value from a CX perspective. Your customer survey responses might say “Your customer service is awful,” but provide no detail as to why. Is it because the agent was rude, because hold times were too long, because the problem didn’t get solved?
Using speech analytics data, you can pinpoint the service channel that is causing the customer dismay. You might see that your average handle time is 15 minutes and your repeat call rate is 50%. The operational data provides a starting point to address the source of dissatisfaction.
With speech analytics data, you can also search for certain word groupings or expletives to reveal frustration on the part of consumers, and then compare it to operational data to see what insights you can gain. In addition, you can build a word cloud that shows what words are being used most often by customers. If “Samsung 7” shows up frequently, is it because people want to buy one, or are they having problems with their purchase? What you learn can provide valuable information for the customer service team or product development or marketing. Will they thank you for it? They’ll think you’re a Superhero!
3. Understand that surveys will always be a CX mainstay, but…
It’s no secret that today’s consumers are showing signs of survey fatigue. They are inundated with “how did we do?” questions from practically every brand they interact with. However, Jeff Lewandowski, senior partner and executive vice president, Andrew Reise Consulting, gives a great example of how there will always be a place for customer surveys in today’s digital world.
His firm surveyed the performance of a single independent team providing support for a leading wireless provider and a consumer technology company. The surveys consistently showed that the tech company’s customers reported a more positive interaction with the team than the wireless provider’s customers did. “In this case, the survey showed us something that no amount of operational or analytical data would: How consumers feel about the brand,” he said.
Lewandowski’s point is that fully understanding the customer experience demands a variety of approaches. Surveys are vital, but tapping into speech can uncover blind spots overlooked by traditional surveys and enable you to respond to issues much more quickly. Tapping into contact center speech interactions as a source of VoC also provides a level of confidence and certainty for CX professionals and others in the organization who are inspired to recommend a significant change in the way the brand interacts with its customers.
Sharing the Wealth
There are great benefits to democratization of contact center data—or sharing the wealth. Contact center leaders might not realize their data can contribute to a higher order of business benefit by breaking down silos and providing connected views to any information that can help elevate CX and increase operational efficiency.
Sound exciting? And maybe a little scary? The answers are yes and yes. Change is always unsettling, but for contact centers and CX professionals, a new perspective can provide a rock-solid foundation for moving forward.