In today’s “Age of the Customer,” we are dealing with highly demanding customers. They are more knowledgeable and have many exciting options in each and every industry to meets their requirements. Customer loyalty has become a rarity and it takes a great deal more effort to keep customers happy and satisfied today than it took a decade ago.
Today’s companies are proactive in engaging customers to move them along their lifecycle in a low-effort and supportive manner. Even with the emergence of multiple channels of customer communication, the call center remains a critical element of the customer experience.
The Customer Nerve Center
Call centers today act as inquiry centers, sales platforms, customer service sources, etc. When it comes to call centers, customers want accurate, relevant, empathetic, but most of all, quick calls. This doesn’t necessarily mean short call times but rather effective call times. A call that doesn’t lead to a repeat call with reasonable handling time and a satisfied customer at the end is the ideal scenario. Every call center aims for this but most are not able to achieve it. Some of the reasons are executives don’t have accurate answers for the following questions:
- Why are my customers calling (Root Cause)?
- What is causing repeat calls (Low FCR)?
- Are my customers satisfied with the service provided (CSAT Scores)?
According to experts, customer experience is the key differentiator for any business’s success, and CSAT scores have been dropping for some time now. One of the key reasons for this drop is that contact centers are still looked as cost centers. However, there is an urgent need for call centers evolve into resolution centers. This requires a cultural change across the company where the contact center is seen as an intelligence hub.
The Customer Intelligence Hub
In a typical call center scenario, agents take notes when they handle customers’ calls. In these notes, they note down the reason for the call and the action they have taken to resolve the issue. In other words, call centers are capturing your customers’ real world problems. It is time companies start leveraging next-generation text analytics technology to turn their call centers into enterprise intelligence hubs, which will help the company listen to their customers proactively and implement the necessary changes to provide an excellent customer experience.
By mining contact center interactions, we can understand the root cause of where customer experience is broken. By specifically focusing on current call center KPIs, especially FCR (repeat calls), CSAT (dissatisfied customers) and IVR, we can get straight to the opportunities.
Focus on Key Call Center KPIs
These three metrics form the life line of call centers and any CX program, too. However, the most important challenge is how these stats are calculated. FCR definitions vary across industries and verticals. Benchmarks for these are mostly subjective. Some of the considerations before calculating would be:
- Are you measuring repeat contacts across the channels?
- What is the time period for a call to be considered repeat call?
- And the most important ones:
- Was it the same issue that caused a repeat call?
- Could the repeat call be avoided?
The challenge with the CSAT score is that knowing whether a customer is satisfied with their most recent interaction is not quite enough to gauge long-term happiness and loyalty. Being happy with a single interaction does not necessarily indicate someone’s likelihood to buy something else or to recommend your company to someone else.
Analyze Agent Notes with Text Analytics
With any customer experience measure, be it FCR rate, CSat score, or IVR optimization, it is better to supplement this with qualitative research to really understand the reasons behind the numbers and to ensure you have actionable outcomes to address any issues uncovered. A measure alone isn’t useful unless you use it to drive and optimize customer experience.
Companies have traditionally viewed their contact centers as cost centers and have consequently focused most of their energy on making agents as efficient as possible. However, companies are now beginning to realize that contact centers actually contain a wealth of deep, untapped information about customers in the form of agent notes.
Unstructured Customer Interactions Hold the Key to CX Satisfaction
In this context, companies are required to tap into this rich vein of information by shifting their focus away from agent productivity and towards enterprise intelligence. To construct a more holistic picture of their customers’ experiences, companies should take the unsolicited, unstructured voice of the customer (VoC) feedback they capture in the contact center, apply text analytics on the unstructured agent notes to extract intent and sentiment, and combine it with data they collect from other sources, such as CRM and IVR.
The opportunity to mine data from customer service interactions is significant. By looking beyond just what customers did and analyzing their perceptions of every customer service interaction, businesses can generate useful data that can be leveraged to drive meaningful business decisions. Customer interactions are definitely a great place to begin to reach the goal of retention. By implementing a text analytics solution, businesses can create a better overall customer experience. Higher CX scores will translate to long-term loyalty, which supports strategic business objectives like bolstering brand image and building revenue through cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
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