Monday, June 13, 2016

If Computers Could Read Your Customer Survey Responses…

If computers could read your customer survey responses …

Written by: Peter Elliot

 

            Well, it all depends what you mean by ‘read’. Such a small word that implies so much based upon context. If you told me you read this article, it means you understood it. When a machine ‘reads’ a file, it typically means load and scan. When a machine ‘reads’ a survey response, it scans it, and applies predetermined algorithms to the words. It cannot possibly understand the meaning of the text; if it did, it truly would be artificially intelligent             

            A few years ago I led a project to analyse the written interactions between support agents and customers to gain insights into the reason for the call. We set out to analyse a corpus of text-based interactions between customers and service personnel, derive the topics and themes of the discussions, and use them to understand more about the company’s products and why customers need to call regarding their use. Thanks to a great team of analysts and data scientists, we built a prototype and celebrated a 70% success rate. While this may not seem worth celebrating, in the world of text analysis it’s quite good.

             The methodology is complex, but here are the basic steps. The text is cleaned by removing words (stop words) that have less meaning, such as pronouns. Similar words, such as plurals, are merged by stemming (shortening) them. What is left is a dictionary of meaningful words which can then be analysed. Clustering algorithms then scan for words that commonly occur together, and these clusters are surfaced to a SME (Subject Matter Expert) who answers the question ‘ if you see these words together in a piece of text what topic would you think is being discussed?’ Their answer becomes a document tag, and common tags can be counted, and graphically displayed. To test the validity of the output, a sample of the tagged documents are read by a person who compares the tag to the text, and notes whether the tag correctly describes the subject. This is how we assessed our 70% success rate.

            We humans automatically make assumptions when reading text, and one of them is context. We know up front, for instance, whether the conversation is about a disk storage unit or a fridge freezer. Our SME automatically assumes this knowledge when assigning a tag. Machines know nothing about context unless we provide that information.
While the SME is asked to provide the understanding, the machine can apply it methodically to large numbers of conversations very quickly. The next nut to crack is to get the machine, based on past experience, to learn to apply the SME understanding and create the tag. One way this can be done is to record word clusters and associated tags in a database, and use a search algorithm, however it’s important to search by context to get meaningful results. A start has been made by some MiT researchers who have assembled an open database of word associations and topics called ConceptNet that can be looked up by other applications such as Luminoso, which uses ConceptNet to infer topics and themes without the need for human intervention.

            Companies such as Clarabridge and Medallia combine many of these techniques to turn pages of text, such as TripAdvisor comments, into quantifiable terms. Social media tools such as Attensity use similar tools to trawl through tweets and facebook posts to provide insights into what customers are saying on social media. Their products can also determine the sentiment of the conversation by looking for key words and other words they occur with. Bill Inmon’s Forest Rim Technology Textual ETL product uses a relational database to align the results of context, ontology, taxonomy and text processing techniques in a form that can feed directly to a visualisation tool such as Tableau or Qlikview.

             If computers could read and understand text, and tell us what the text was about, then they would be as intelligent as we are. Furthermore Stephen Hawking wrote “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history”. Reading and understanding text is an essentially human characteristic. But there are many applications where it would be very useful to read text at machine speeds and be advised about the topics within it, and a 70% or higher success rate still provides useful insights that would otherwise require lengthy, tedious and maybe error-prone reading and notation by individuals, where the rate of return for the investment probably would not be acceptable.           

             My particular pursuit of text-reading technology arose from a desire to understand customers, why they call, and whether they are satisfied with the products they have bought. Consider the possibilities as this technology is enhanced, and that 70% success rate improves. In the Contact Centre we could obtain real-time customer satisfaction scores as our agent’s conversations are turned into text via text-to-speech applications, and analysed to indicate today’s satisfaction ratings and hot topics. Product issues could be immediately picked up and acted upon before other customers fall into the trap. Text Analysis technology is still very young, and as it develops has huge potential for improving Customer Experience measurement and analysis.

Peter Elliot is an experienced and professional consultant. Peter and his peers at The Taylor Reach Group, assist companies and organizations to overcome business, strategic and operational challenges in their call, contact center and customer facing organizations



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Using an Omni-Channel Strategy to Drive Customer Loyalty

How Leveraging an Omni-Channel Strategy Can Improve Your Customer Experience 

By: Colin Taylor

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation at the SCORE Conference in Boston on the importance and benefits of using an Omni-Channel strategy to drive customer loyalty. The event was a success and contained a lively discussion about how organizations can leverage an Omni-Channel, contact center design to drive customer loyalty, customer experience and customer centricity.

Omni-Channel can certainly be a game changer for contact centers. Using this approach, it can;

· Deliver consistent service regardless of channel of interaction,

· Support differentiated service for different customer segments and different customer journeys,

· Be a highly effective tool to support CX, customer centricity, customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.

However according to research today, less than 1% of all organizations have deployed Omni-Channel.  A much more common approach is using Multi-Channel, which more than 40% of contact centers have deployed with 23% stating that they are executing well. Some confuse or combine Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel, so perhaps a look at their definitions would help.
I would define each as follows;

Multi-Channel is the use of multiple channels (calls, chat, email, web, etc.) to provide service to customers. In practice, these conversations occur in discrete channels. 

Omni-Channel employs all of these channels, but rather than separate and discrete communication channels, Omni-Channel provides seamless switching between channels with real-time awareness and knowledge of all the actions in any channel. Omni-Channel is significantly more complex than multi-channel.

This complexity is often born primarily out of the cost and resource requirements associated with integrating many disparate systems. 

But is the investment worth it?
To determine the return on this investment, let’s examine the enhanced capabilities that Omni-Channel can enable:

Segmentation

How can Omni-Channel support customer segmentation?

Companies segment their customer base to better understand these customers. The overall objective of customer segmentation is to analyze your customers, find niche opportunities, and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Segmentation allows organizations to increase profitability by better understanding customer needs and providing the solution then to meet those needs. Different treatments are required for each segment. We can segment our customers in many ways, based on lifetime value, RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value), class of customer, geography, line of business etc.

With Omni-Channel, we can recognize customers based on their segment across all channels:

On Voice Calls: 

  • Higher call/service level priority
  • Routed to higher skilled agent
  • Better FCR,
  • Higher CSAT/CX scores
  • More Empowerment

 

On Emails: 

  • Higher Priority
  • Human intervention versus AI/auto response
  • Contact-able agent signature versus generic
  • More Empowerment

On IVR: 

  • Ability to bypass or short-cut based on caller ID or customer number

On Chat: 

  • Higher service level priority
  • Lower chat to agent ratio (1:1)
  • Routed to higher skilled agent
  • Better FCR,
  • Higher CSAT/CX scores
  • More Empowerment

On Social: 

  • Auto escalation to contact center
  • Human response
  • Recognition

Journey Maps

How can Omni-Channel support your customer journey maps?

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) represents the customer experience from the perspective of the customer. Journey Maps need to be created for all channels of interaction. By understanding the journey of the customer when interacting with the brand, store or contact center, we believe we should be better able to deliver the desired customer experience. The logic here is sound, the challenge is with execution. There has been much coverage of the challenges and flaws in the CJM process as outlined below;

• 34% of companies indicating that they have undertaken CJM.
• Only 2% of companies that have reported success with CJM.
• 13% of customers who say CJM worked for them, while72% of customers who said CJM missed their needs.

The above research notwithstanding, CJM is a great process for better understanding the process, steps and journey that the customer must go through in receiving service from our organization. Failure to conceive, design and execute underlies much of the dissatisfaction cited above. To design and create an effective CJM process you need to keep the following considerations in mind;

1. The CJM must represent your Customer’s perspective. –Do you really know what this is?
2. Use research. -Conduct surveys, research and talk to Customer’s to confirm your understanding.
3. Represent Customer segments. –Different segments may have different experiences, you need to map each one.
4. Include the Customer’s Goal or Objective. –The Journey must end with the Customer getting what they want.
5. Include all touch-points and channels. –Customer’s expect consistency across the organization and channels.
6. Respect ‘Moments of Truth’ and the Emotions they invoke. –A bad interaction can taint an entire relationship. Identify the Moments of Truth and pay attention to the Emotions.
7. Check Alignment to your Brand Promise. –Customers are savvy, they are constantly checking us to see if we are ‘walking the talk’ and delivering the ‘promise’ that our advertising has made

“Is the service we are delivering an accurate reflection of the Brand Promises we have made?”

Omni-Channel provides CJM the ability to validate, confirm or inform:

  • The accuracy of the customer perspective and POV
  • The segmentation accuracy and effectiveness
  • Catalogue the ‘Moments of Truth’ across all journeys and segments
  • Impacts of ‘Moments of Truth’ by segment, transaction and channel

Customer Experience

How can Omni-Channel support your customer experience?

According to Gartner “by 2016, 89% of marketing leaders expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience” We all know that the experience the customer has when they interact with our company, our stores or our contact center, impacts their views, opinions and perceptions of the brand.

Customers judge their experiences on many different levels and across many touch-points. Their expectations don’t differentiate between a retail or a contact center interaction. They expect us to know them at all locations and across all channels. Omni-Channel can help us to do that.

The formal industry definition for customer experience is;
“How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

CX (Customer Experience) includes all channels of communications and interactions, as illustrated on the Venn diagram:

Customer Centric Model

How can Omni-Channel support your customer centricity?

Customer centricity involves;

• Letting customers define the engagement.
• What channels they want to use.
• What control they can exert over their engagement.
• Engineer problems out as much as possible (proactive notifications/actions.)
• Ability to self-serve when desired.

In short, customer centricity requires that we recognizing a full 360 degree view of the customer. Being customer centric means you listen and respond to what they are saying and are consciously acknowledging their importance in your interactions and business decisions.

Omni-Channel supports customer centricity and ensures it is;
1. More consistent experiences and interactions
2. Superior understanding and appreciation of the customer POV and issues or concerns
3. More detailed and applicable notes in CRM informs better recognition and future actions

In a contact center environment, the moments of truth can an interaction, or can consist of multi- micro moments on any given customer contact interaction, as illustrated in the graphic below:

At Taylor Reach we have developed a contact center variation on this model. Each CX interaction can be viewed across three dimensions that have the greatest impact on the customers’ perceptions, opinions and experience:

  • Emotional connection. The ability of the agent to ‘connect’ with the customer
  • Rational connection. The ability of the agent to leverage training, knowledge and skills to resolve the inquiry
  • Customer effort. How easy was the process of reaching the agent.

We know intuitively that better service and better experiences improve customer relationships and research backs up our perceptions. Medallia Analysis found that organizations with the best customer experience realized a 140% increase in sales  when compared to those with the poorest customer experience scores.

The reasons for improving the customer experience can vary from organization to organization, but broadly they include: Improving Customer Retention, Improving Customer Satisfaction and Increasing Cross-Selling and Upselling.

Customer interactions account for more than half of all customer interactions in many industries, including retail and financial services. The decision of a customer to interact with the center is often based upon the perceived complexity of the task at hand. While many of us are comfortable interacting on-line to discover rates, prices or to understand the return policy, we are more likely to desire a live interaction if we perceive the issue or situation to be complex.

We can look at the Customer Experience across different levels. For example, in the graphic here we see the Customer Experience measured at the Brand level, the individual Customer Journey level and the Interaction level.

Increasingly organizations are beginning to measure the Customer Experience in their contact centers.  Research conducted by Genesys showed how companies are executing this strategy. When asked ‘What metric do you use to measure customer experience and loyalty’  the responses were:

  • Customer Satisfaction 51%
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) 26%
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) 17%

By understanding the capabilities of Omni-channel and the ways that Omni-channel can support related corporate priorities and initiatives such as customer segmentation, customer journey maps, customer centricity and customer experience, you are now better equipped to help position your organization to identify and understand the benefits and returns that can be achieved from an investment in Omni-Channel.

. Omni-Channel strategies support your overall related corporate priorities such as customer segmentation, customer journey maps, customer centricity and most importantly, the customer experience. Going forward, ensuring all of these initiatives are connected are one of the most important considerations to make when looking at the current channels you are employing. Leveraging Omni-Channel is the best method for delivering on your brand promise and optimizing operational performance.

Should you have any questions comments related to this post, please contact Colin Taylor directly at ctaylor@thetaylorreachgroup.com, or call at The Taylor Reach Group Inc. 1 866 334 3730 ext. 102



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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Taylor Reach Group Reaches Out Further

Garry Schultz joins The Taylor Reach Group Inc. & is Ready to Rock the Contact Center World.

Professional Customer Consultant and Guitarist. His passion for performing is what drives Garry to seek out the highest satisfaction in every project he is involved with. With 25+ years of global managerial experience in B2C and B2B, high-technology focused environments, Garry is dedicated to implementing strategic solutions for customer success / customer care initiatives. His emphasis on meaningful performance measurement serves as the foundation to the success of his initiatives.

Paul Knapp joins The Taylor Reach Group Inc. & is Eager to Execute his Support and Service Skills.

Professional Thought Leader and Consultant, Paul has an track record of providing successful strategies within the customer service and support industry. Paul has worn many hats, including administrative managerial and team lead roles, but has always been concentrated on operational care and customer support. He has a focused skill set in delivering organizational structure and tactics, preparing multitudes of process improvement plans for factors such as center actions, quality and professional coaching skills/training relief.

New To The Taylor Reach Table

"TRG has been working with one of the country’s largest media organizations and has been retained to redesigning their entire center’s agent onboard training program"
The Taylor Reach Group Inc. continues to expand their solutions globally, with current numerous projects underway concentrating on developing new strategic center operations and implementing operational best practices. As the day to day operations grow more complex with new channel integrations and adjusting to industry trends occur, your customer support and service can take a back seat to other priorities, but it always needs to remain in front of your business’ drive. TRG has been working with one of the country’s largest media organizations and has been retained to redesigning their entire center’s agent onboard training program; provide strategic evaluations, agent profiling and mapping critical success factors in order to increase overall operative performance. Not only do companies need to place emphasis on the deployment of customer support, but monitoring and assessing the quality and management of such service is of equal importance. Currently underway, TRG is restructuring and developing a new quality assurance program for a large electrical utility company, focusing on evaluating, reshaping and enhancing their call/contact center’s quality and customer experience.
The solution to challenges isn’t always obvious for centers as there isn’t “a one size fits all” solution that exists. TRG has been working with North America’s largest youth apparel brand to assess their center’s current needs, identify missing elements and elucidate pain points that may exist under the radar. Having multiple centers to oversee, this company recognized the complexity associated with managing tens of thousands of contacts across multiple channels in real time, and has retained TRG to help filling in the blanks.
"TRG has been working with North America’s largest youth apparel brand to assess their center’s current needs, identify missing elements and elucidate pain points that may exist under the radar"
"TRG is currently in process of helping one of Canada's leading humanitarian organizations to select a new telephony platform to support their centers in reaching their ideal contact service, customer experience and technical objectives.
The purpose of the call or contact center is to create an open communication channel to reach and engage with your customers. The level of interaction may depend on your consumer’s needs or might be a consideration of your business processes. But it might also be limited due to the technological limitations of your center. A center’s IT platform must have the capabilities to handle the organization and their customer’s expectations surrounding the customer experience, service and support. One of the leading humanitarian organizations in the country realized that their capabilities and potential was limited to due to their current telephony platform. TRG is currently in process of helping this organization to select a new telephony platform to support the centers in reaching their ideal contact service, customer experience and technical objectives.
The Taylor Reach Group Inc. is dedicated to supporting call and contact centers in reaching their goals and objectives. With hundreds of years of customer service, call and contact center experience, our expertise in combination with our passion and devotion have earned TRG the title of one of North America’s top call/contact center consulting services. Contact The Taylor Reach Group Inc. today if your center is in need of reinforcing or fine-tuning your strategy. Contact Ashley Locke for more information about Taylor Reach and our capabilities.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Do you know your Cost of Service?

Peter ElliotPeter Elliot
Senior Consultant – Europe
Customer Service and CRM

There is a largely linear relationship between the Quality and Cost of a customer service operation. Intuitively, the better the quality of service offered, the higher the cost. Take the simple example of answering a customer call. To offer the highest service level, the call will be answered immediately by someone who can resolve the issue. However, this also implies a competent staff member is waiting to take the call, and either they will be interrupting another task, or doing nothing. Both of these have a cost, so to be more efficient and keep staff occupied with customers all the time, they may work to a queue. The queue implies customer wait time, which can vary with peaks and troughs, which may cause a deterioration in service quality.  To avoid staffing up for the peaks, the queue can be used to smooth them out, lower cost again but even higher customer wait times, so lower quality service. Striking the right balance for the business is the grist for the mill of the contact center manager.

Many years ago, I worked for an IT company as a service engineer. This company was renowned for excellent service, and they built a good business on the back of it. We were field-based, and had busy times and slack times. During the slack time, we often just waited for a call – I became an expert at pinball! But customers loved the fact we could respond quickly, and as staff we were pretty satisfied as well. Its great getting constant accolades from happy customers, and appearing in surveys as #1 for service. ‘Whatever it takes to serve the customer’ was our motto.

One day, we were called to a meeting with our VP of Customer Service. He announced the company had decided no longer to be rated #1 for service, but would be happy to be #3 or #4. We were horrified, and thought it was the beginning of the end for the company. Looking back however, it was a sensible business decision. Having established a reputation for good service and products, they had decided to take a calculated business risk to reduce service costs and improve service margin, by changing from being ‘excellent’ to ‘very good’. This change resulted in fewer staff, and we had to cover more customers. No more slack time, more travel, and some customers had to wait longer. Managers now had to earn their salary and make priority decisions. But the business profited at minimal impact to the quality of the service. It was successful for our service teams, and we maintained our reputation for good service, even though we had to work harder. The company subsequently made some poor product decisions and went out of business, but that’s another story!

Most companies aspire to offer the best customer service their budgets will allow. Depending upon other business priorities though, service budgets can suffer. Service managers will typically have to balance their aspirations against requests from the business to cut costs. Where can efficiency be improved that will have the least or no impact on service levels? Do we want to tier our services so we offer the best service to our most valuable customers?  Do we know which customers are most valuable? Which products are costing us most to support, and can they be improved for less than the service cost? Can we deliver the service from lower cost locations or use lower cost channels? Should we invest in a knowledgebase so that customers can help themselves rather than place a call? In order to answer these questions all aspects of the operation must be measured in financial terms to determine where opportunities exist.  Cost per Call, or Cost per Contact can be useful measures to help identify where efficiency can be improved. However, whilst improving your efficiency it is essential to ensure that the quality of your service does not suffer, and there are a number of measures you can adopt such as NPS®, CES, CSAT,  that will ensure you achieve the right balance of Cost vs Quality for your business.

Peter Elliot is an experienced and professional consultant. Peter and his peers at The Taylor Reach Group, assist companies and organizations to overcome business, strategic and operational challenges in their call, contact center and customer facing organizations. 



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The Customer Experience: What Makes the Best the Best Part 1

CT headshot 15-1Good day. My name is Colin Taylor, and in this discussion, we’re going to be discussing the customer experience and what makes the best organizations the best.

First, a little bit about myself and the organization. As I said, my name is Colin Taylor, and I’m the Chairman and Chief Chaos Officer for The Taylor Reach Group. We are an award winning call, contact center and customer experience consulting firm. The company was established in 2003. What we do is we help our clients improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of their customer facing organizations.

Most commonly, our work involves call or contact centers, but can involve technical support groups or even social media outreach. All of our consultants have a minimum of 20 years, hands on operational experience. We are vendor agnostic, which is to say that we do not take money from anyone but our clients. So we’re not in the pockets of any technology or outsource vendors. The company is based in the Toronto area which happens to be where I live. But we also have offices in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, Ottawa, Cork, Sydney, and Beijing. For more information on Taylor Reach, please visit our website.

So, what is the customer experience, or as we will often refer to it during the session as CX.

86% of Consumers Are Willing To Pay More for an Upgraded or Superior Service

The formal industry definition for the customer experience is how customers perceive their interactions with your company. IBM defined it as the designed interaction between an organization and an individual. CX includes all channels of communications, and interactions, and all touch points. CX is critical to the success of any organization, consider that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for an upgraded or superior service, this should speak loudly to all marketers out there. If organizations can differentiate, based on customer experience, then there’s an opportunity to recoup a premium in terms of price and revenues.

85% of Customer Churn Due to Poor Service is Preventable

More startling facts; Eighty-five percent of all customer churn is due to poor service that was preventable. Eleven percent of customer churn could be prevented simply by the company extending outreach and contacting those disaffected or unhappy customers. 67% of customer churn is preventable if a customer issue could have been resolved on the very first contact or first engagement, this really underscores the importance of first contact resolution, or as it’s termed, FCR.

Only 1 Out 26 Will Ever Complain

Seventy-eight percent of consumers actually expect to get an answer from some form of self-service be that on the web or through an IVR, (interactive voice response) unit. And just 1 out of 26 customers will actually ever complain. Most customer will simply vote with their feet. Eighty-four percent of all social media interactions have to be escalated to other channels for a resolution. It’s just not possible to resolve a refund publicly on Twitter, for example. While we may believe that there’s a bias in terms of various contact channels, in fact, more than two thirds or 67% of customers really don’t care what channel is being used.

Of 34% of Organizations Who Have Completed Customer Journey Mapping, Only 2% Report Success

Thirty-four percent of companies at this point have undertaken a customer journey mapping exercise, 2% have reported success in that process. And 72% have said that customer journey mapping really has missed their needs. That, I think, speaks to a broader understanding about how inclusive the customer experience must be. It has to be all touch points and all interactions. Further, it has to be from the customer’s perspective. It can’t just be what we want them to be thinking about us.

Less Than 1% of Organization Can Actually Measure Their Customer Engagement

We in part influence our customers perceptions and their expectations, but their perceptions and expectations are also going to be influenced by online reviews, the experiences of their friends, and their own experiences with other, perhaps unrelated, firms and organizations, and possibly even different verticals. Fifty-eight percent of companies have customer engagement programs in place, but less than 1% of companies can actually measure their level of customer engagement. So certainly there’s some very positive and strong opportunities for an organization that can execute customer experience very well.

But there are also huge risks, and there’s a lot of wreckage on the path to success. As we look at customer experience, we try and keep it fairly simple. It’s really about three elements. Do customers get value without difficulty? That’s ease. Can customers get value from the experience? Is it effective? And do customers feel good about the experience, that’s emotion. So ease, emotion, and effectiveness are the ‘Three Es’ and these are really core tenets to any customer experience initiative. Each of these elements can be exploded down to a far more minute level and can be rolled back up to those three.

CX Components

The customer experience is the perception of the customer is based on emotion, ease, and effectiveness. These elements can be expanded to suggest that under emotion, for example, was the agent they spoke with empathetic? Did they understand where the customer was coming from? Is the website visually appealing? Or was the ambiance in the store and the environment pleasant? From the ease perspective, was the order processed quickly? Was the product information clear and readily available? Was help available in an accessible context, either from an associate in the store, from the FAQs on-line, or from a helpful chat option which presented itself?

Was the process effective? What was the effectiveness? Was the right item offered? Was essential product information available? Was required help available or provided?

From a contact center perspective, we might equate effectiveness to, was the agent knowledgeable about the product or services that we were discussing?
TRG CX GRaphicThe Taylor Reach, has developed a slight variation on Ease, Emotion and Effectiveness, when we look at call and contact centers. Each customer interaction can be viewed across three different dimensions that have the greatest impact on the customers’ perceptions, opinions, and experience of dealing with that agent in that contact center environment.

 

Customer Effort, Emotional Connection, Rational Connection

We look at Customer Effort and the ability to make a connection, both Emotional and Rational. Was the agent able to make an emotional connection with the customer? Did they ‘get it’? Were they empathetic? Were they able to make a rational connection? From that perspective, what we are really talking about is, was the agent knowledgeable, did they know the products, did they know the policies? And regarding customer effort, how difficult was it to actually get to that right agent who was able to help the customer?

 

If we have to force customers to go through 14 levels on an IVR or have to transfer the call five times, we certainly have created barriers and restrictions, and increased the amount of effort the customer needs to invest. Now, we know intuitively that better service and better experiences improve the customer relationship. The following graphics below are from HBR. The graphic blow shows that customer experience drives sales and it actually reflects a 140% increase in sales versus the poorest experience.

CX to Sales 1

This chart looks at the customer experience score and the annual revenue of those same customers. The second chart addresses the ability of superior customer experience to drive membership. If we look at things from a subscription perspective, we see that the customer experience score is increasingly predictive of future membership or subscription in future years.

CX to Membership

The chart show over 400% tenure increase versus the poorest experience scores. So we can see that there is dollar value available to organizations that are able to deliver that better experience, as judged by their customers.

Why improve the customer experience? Well we want to improve retention and recover potentially lost customers. We want to engage existing customers in improving their satisfaction. We want to increase cross sell and up sell opportunities and the customers’ success.

All organizations want to reduce the cost of new customer acquisition. We know that engaged customers and increased employee satisfaction leads to increased customer engagement and customer satisfaction. This strongly correlates with a significant improvement in customer experience. We want to reduce the cost of the feedback infrastructure.

All organizations want to make it easier for customers to tell us how we’re doing. In the graphic below, courtesy of Genesis, we see the top three reasons why businesses proactively manage and invest in the customer experience.

CX Gartner

Number one, is to improve customer retention. The second reason was to improve overall customer satisfaction. Number three on the list was to increase cross selling and up selling. Reasons, one and three directly correlate to increased revenues, and number two represents a secondary relationship to increase loyalty, stickiness, and retention. This is not the only voice speaking to the value and importance of investing in Customer Experience. Gartner  reports that in 2016, 89% of marketing leaders surveyed expected to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.

79% of Customer Experience Leaders Have Better Financial Results

Firms that are recognized as tops in delivering CX, reap huge rewards. Seventy-nine percent of customer experience leaders report better financial results than their competitors. While only 55% of customer experience laggards can report the same. That was a finding from the Temkin Group study in 2015. If we look at the Forrester Customer Experience Index online survey from the same year, we see the brands that ranked tops in customer experience, and there’s a lot of familiar names that are well regarded as having excellent customer experience.

 

USAA has four mentions on this top CX list!

CX USAA

The distribution of CX index scores, again from Forrester, shows an interesting curve. The smallest number reported on this slide, shows that almost nobody is doing an excellent job. There are a number who are doing a good job, even though that number has actually declined in the third quarter versus the first. We also see that about half or just over half of the firms participating are doing an ‘okay’ job. Yet that leaves 20-25% that are doing a poor or very poor job based on those almost 300 firms that were surveyed.

Dist of CX

Perhaps predictably, marketers look at the customer experience from more of a marketing perspective, and the call or contact center is often not a focal point in their designs and their developments. Frankly, I believe that this can be a fatal flaw. Why is that, you ask? Well more than 50% of all consumer interactions take place through a contact center. If we look at the first channel that individuals employ to communicate with an organization, the graphic on the left, we’re seeing that the call center is the first channel 35% of the times. Followed by website, branch, or retail.

Channel Pref 1

IVR, which is directly connected and usually a part of the call or contact center is 12%. So if we add that to our 35%, we’re up to 47%. We can then add email and chat, also channels that terminate and are processed through our contact centers and we are at 53%. Channel preference for communications with the organization varies by vertical, and it also varies based on the level of complexity of the issue. This is the complexity as perceived by the customer. The two charts below illustrate these facts. If the issue is deemed to be not very complex or non-complex shown on the lower chart, only in the case of satellite and cable, or ISP is call center the first choice.

Channel Pref 2

Complex Issues Equal Human Interaction

That preference may have more to do with the options available to the customer. If you have a cable modem or your Internet service provider is down, it’s difficult to get support through the web. But for other verticals where we presume internet service is available, wireless, credit card, health care, technology, etc., the first channel choice. This preference changes dramatically when we have, or believe we have a complex issue. I think this really reflects human nature. For tasks that we believe are easy, or simple, or straightforward, we’re quite happy to interact with technology to achieve our objectives. But as soon as we think that something is broken or messed up, we really want to talk to a human being. So in every one of those sectors we talked about a moment ago, with the exception of technology, call center becomes the first channel choice for complex issues. And that’s over 50% to more than 60% of the cases.

In most organizations, the customer experience teams are quite small. Temkin found that the number of full time employees is generally at least six.

Size of CX Team

But you can see that the biggest single percentage there is between 3-5 staff and then 6-10 would be the next largest segment. Some very large organizations do have large teams with 15% of reporting organizations have teams in excess of 50 individuals dedicated to the company’s customer experience.

Executive priorities for CX leaders versus laggards can also shed a great deal of light in terms of what they’re focusing on. If you’re a leader, then one of the key priorities you’re going to be working on, is to make the company’s culture more customer-centric and you’ll be looking at fixing customer experience problems. With over 85% and almost 90% respectively focusing on these issues, while only half the CX laggard organizations are focusing on these issues. There is strong alignment in a number of areas where the laggards and leaders respond similarly. Increasing customer retention, acquiring new customers, selling more to existing customers, and improving profitability, are all areas where both groups aligned. Of course what organization isn’t focused on these issues? From a CX perspective however I think that we can probably glean more from the variances than we can from the similarities.

 

While it seems to those of us in the industry the CX has been with us for a number of years, yet most organizations are still early on in this customer experience journey. In terms of how many companies really view themselves as industry leaders, that’s a very small number, 7%. But how do these same firms expect their CX to be described in three years? 55% believe that they will be industry leaders. In sales this would be called the ‘hockey stick’ as a dramatic increase is anticipated, even though present evidence may belie that prediction. So there’s still lots of gains to be had in the entire milieu for customer experience. Now we’ve focused on the term customer experience thus far in this discussion and in our next installment we will to introduce the relationship between CX and customer centricity.



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Monday, April 18, 2016

SCORE Conference- Join Your Peers in Boston

 


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Nowhere else will you find such a select group of best-in-class industry leaders from companies including AT&T, EMC, Pitney Bowes, CA Technologies, Progress Software, AutoTrader.com, Akamai Technologies, NetScout Systems and Nutanix who will present innovative, yet proven, strategies for driving customer satisfaction, employee motivation and rewards, incentive-based compensation, and customer retention and loyalty. These topics will both strengthen your current CEM strategies and inspire new ideas for your organization.

 

 

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