In the 4th of our Omni-channel Series of blogs we look at why your omni-channel experience might be failing. It’s likely that you will be receiving customer feedback through a growing number of different channels such as surveys, customer conversations from interactions, or insights from customer actions – or how Garter describe it: Direct, Indirect and Inferred customer feedback. But as you try and provide a customer experience that operates consistently and efficiently across all channels there are some common barriers that might be getting in the way of success.
No empowered CX leader
Only 30% of organisations have an executive on the board representing CX. We think this is very low as we believe not having a single owner has a high risk of creating channel silos.
For example, we quite often see web self-service being owned by somebody different to telephony and customer service, with different agendas and different objectives. And that can lead to some friction.
Paradoxically, 9 out of 10 organisations see customer experience as a competitive differentiator. But if only 30% have an executive responsible for CX on the board, how are they going to deliver great customer experience with a silo channel approach? There’s certainly a high risk of failure there.
Furthermore, probably less than half of the 30% may not be empowered CX leaders. In other words, even if there’s someone responsible for CX, actually having the capability to affect cross functional change is easier said than done – some boards are just more receptive to empowering individuals. Consider whether your CX leader is as empowered as they could be.
Channel failure driving interactions
We found that 40-70% of interactions were driven from some sort of failure in the originating channel. In particular, 25-40% was driven from web self-service. This means customers have tried a cheap service channel in the first instance and then ended up switching to a more expensive channel to get their query resolved…that’s a massive amount of unnecessary demand and cost.
Although many organisations acting on the drivers of failure demand have delivered operational savings of around 11-20% this is still way below expectations and there is plenty of opportunity to improve, particularly if up to 70% of contact is waste!
Channels are not connected
Only 8.4% of organisations have every channel connected. For the other 92%, this is inevitably going to lead to friction because they’re not aligned. That runs the risk of some customer dissatisfaction and so we’re seeing an increasing number of organisations who are actively working towards a truly connected channel strategy.
With the analytics, LucidCX are able to rapidly build accurate, actionable models that can be applied to incoming customer data for its clients in real time. The software will help further automate the range of solutions and enrich the customer insight that LucidCX already provides.
The range of post-sale support services provided by LucidCX include interactive knowledge libraries, product simulations, trouble shooters, returns and repairs avoidance and diagnostics. By deepening their understanding on customer behaviour and device issues, they will be able to enhance the customer experience further to improve FCR and customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, LucidCX use the AI models to automatically identify customer intent, root causes of churn, customer effort, emotions, sentiment and early warning of issues to enable clients to enhance their own products and services.
Matt Dyson of LucidCX said: “There’s a lot of text analytics and insight tools out there. With Warwick Analytics, we were blown away by how easy and quick it was to build bespoke, tuned machine learning models on customer interactions, on a dynamic basis. This now enables us to tune our own solutions quicker, but now to offer levels of real-time insight to and for our clients that they’ve not had before”
Dan Somers, CEO at Warwick Analytics adds: “We are delighted to be partnering with LucidCX. They are the leaders in their field working with highly complex, detailed and granular information. Our shared clients face a rapidly evolving market and a constantly changing voice of the customer to address. Their clients rely on LucidCX’s expertise to identify and help resolve issues to optimise the customer experience”
Let’s start with what an omni-channel experience SHOULDN’T look like, most likely commonplace in the majority of organisations. We call it the hourglass shape and hopefully you can see why (see fig below).
What we see is a fat self-serve at the bottom which is good as it’s the cheapest mode. Chatbots are being used to field a lot this section off. But then live chat is not being used as strategically as it could be as the next level up. All too often customers end up coming back to use Voice as a channel, often through channel failure or switching which is expensive and bad for customer experience. In this model everything can be seen as trying to deflect from voice and First-Call resolution (FCR), as opposed to being a joined up strategy.
Even though Voice is the most complex and the most expensive channel, typically 70% of traffic is exactly that. Ideally Voice should deal mostly with the most complex queries.
Now let’s look at the utopia, how your omni-channel experience should look like.
– You would have the biggest number of transactions going through self service
– Then information requests or simple questions would be handled via a chatbot so no need to have an expensive agent conversation – and its accurate and optimised!
– You would offer a live chat provision to help with operational contact management (so concurrent customer conversations) where there is some complexity so requires an assisted channel but is handled efficiently
– And finally, traditional telephony agent conversations. These would be customers seeking guidance on what product to buy or maybe highly emotional conversations requiring a human interaction
In this utopia state, every customer knows what channel to use for what transaction, every interaction is handled correctly first time, there is no failure and the world is lovely.
OK, so we now know the utopian vision that we should strive for but the reality is perhaps something like this, which we call more of a target state.
There will be an element of failure, represented in red, but this would be significantly reduced in a more joined up approach.
The start point for many organisations is essentially delivering the different channel options. And we know, a lot of organizations are still yet to go on the chatbot journey, and some don’t have live chat.
The aim is a more joined up approach, understanding what is failing within each channel, and having the sort of the insights and the analytics to help improve and reduce that non first contact resolution. This is a great step forward and what we should be striving to achieve.
You are likely to have a target to increase NPS or some similar metric for satisfaction and potentially customer loyalty within your business – this is a common use case for us and we have helped many clients increase satisfaction by 20% or more by helping to find drivers and root causes of customer dissatisfaction and setting an action plan for improvement – in many cases this is linked to a poor channel experience so getting this right can pay dividends.
For many clients we focus on understanding the drivers of dissatisfaction typically driven from channel shift and increased effort from customers. Understanding those insights leads to a pretty significant improvement in MPs. We would typically see between 10 and 20 point improvement by acting on those drivers of dissatisfaction.
Knowing the amount of channel failure
It’s really important to understand the amount of failure that you’re handling to help inform your channel strategy. Using analytics you can do this by:
Isolating contact where the customer mentioned that they tried to complete something in a different channel – frighteningly we have seen this number to be nearly half of the context we analyse;
Identifying the processes behind the root cause drivers of failure. Prioritise a set of actions that the organisation should take to help reduce that channel failure.
By carrying out these two actions you could easily achieve between a 5 and 7% reduction in headcount which could equate to around 150 FTE. A huge business benefit from the insights and if there’s a very high failure rate, there’s much more to go after too.
Understanding the types of demand you are handling
To understand the different types of demands being handled within a contact centre, you first determine whether a transaction is a value to the customer or an irritant to the customer.
And then do the same from your organization’s view i.e. is the transaction a value to you or not.
You can then plot these on a matrix. In this example (figure 1), the organisation was handling more than half (54%) of transactions that were of value to the customer but an irritant to the organisation. So these are prime for what we call automated drive self-service and that creates a massive opportunity for operational efficiency by maintaining a great customer experience, but freeing up that expensive resource in the contact centre.
Previously only 3% of the cases agents promoted self service to the customer but once they understood the value irritants and coached agents to promote self service, the number rose to over 60% in just 6 weeks.
Best of all, there was a massive impact in the contact volume with a 30% reduction in the contact centre
More accurate classification
When agents are manually classifying all of the data after every call, a lot of these classified labels are not actually very helpful. We call them bucket categories, because they are literally another category, which can be up to about 20%.
And there are also pseudo bucket categories, which is when two smart agents are doing what they think is right, but actually they’re classifying things differently. The class becomes confused and becomes unactionable. The organisations ability to develop their customer experience is limited because the analytics is just not granular or accurate enough.
By automating the classification or labelling, these bucket categories are removed and you start to see things that you may have missed from an early warning point of view that you wouldn’t have otherwise spotted. We call it a back cast.
And the nice thing is, when you’re automating all of that human activity, you’re taking away sometimes 10% of the work from those human agents as well as providing better insight.
Whatever methods that you, or your analytics partner choose, always look at how the customer is feeling in the beginning and then look at what the agents do during the interaction to make them feel happier. To achieve this it can be very powerful to look at the topics or emotional intent within the conversation. With the right analytics this can be done automatically and precisely – there’s no guessing what the customers are telling you or how they’re telling you. As Bill Gates said: “If you want to learn about the business, you’ll learn the most from your unhappiest customers.”
Now we’re not suggesting that you deliberately make your customers unhappy in order to retrieve information. But it is ironic that organisations tend to send follow up surveys people get very fatigued about, just to understand how a conversation went.
A lot of the time the customer is clearly telling you how they are feeling or what their intent is – you just need the right analytics to pick these sentiments up and the need for the survey is removed.
For example, if a customer is actually telling you they’ve switched channel you can look at the meta data of the topics to get a much more accurate and actionable qualitative view about that issue. Or conversely, if they have come over to a different channel you might not have picked it up in your initial FCR analysis.
Being able to isolate those comments where your customers are really telling you these things is really powerful. Yes, it’s a motive. Yes, no one likes to hit bad news. But it’s all there. And if you let it speak to you, you can follow these pathways, see which are the big ones and tackle things in the priority order to be able to drive the quickest improvements.
There’s always a lot of low hanging fruit when you can effectively and accurately identify multiple intents across an omni-channel experience. Because when you know what you didn’t know before, then you can go after it quickly.
In this series of blogs, we have teamed up with our partner Ember to cover everything there is to know when it comes to offering a true omni-channel customer experience. From why you should have one, what it should look like and what you might be getting wrong. Let’s start with ‘Why you should adopt an omni-channel customer experience’.
Customers today expect to easily engage with brands across multiple touchpoints. They also expect their experience of an organisation to be consistent across the different channels. Therefore, it’s vital that channels are integrated to provide the best experience for consumers.
Being truly Omni-channel also allows businesses to have one single view of the customer so they can integrate feedback from different sources into one platform. A contact center can then benefit from insights that will reduce channel switching and push customers to the most cost-effective channel that is right for them.
Warwick Analytics can show you which parts of your omni-channel strategy can be improved, where customers are switching, what your customers are telling you and where you can make operational efficiencies, all whilst improving your customer experience.
Here are two of the top use cases for adopting a true omni-channel experience:
Improve operational efficiency
Around 95% of the organisations we talk to have a need to improve operational efficiency in some way. Omni-channel analytics provide a clear way to achieve that.
Whether it’s reducing channel failure, channel switch or reducing overall contact volume, having a single overarching view of all your channels, including the demand drivers, will give you a much better chance of improving efficiencies.
Improve customer experience and customer retention
We all want to improve customer experience and customer retention. If we keep customers happy they stay longer, spend more, and tell more people about the experience. Therefore the use case is:
Identify which channels your customers are best suited to – and which work best for specific types of interaction;
Understand the causes of channel failure and what drives customers to switch;
Reduce customer effort by delivering service in the customer’s preferred channel first-time.
Next time we look at 5 strong use cases for omni-channel analytics.
Many companies are implementing live chat because it offers a better experience for some queries and with some customers. It also offers cost savings for companies compared to voice. Indeed, the channel has been growing 87 percent per year, according to CustomerThink.
However, canned responses, complex queries, or poor staffing can lead to the opposite experience. This results in channel switching, repeat calls, abandonment, or even churn.
However, new techniques in AI and machine learning make the analysis of live chat both easy and immediately actionable. Dan gives three ways these tools can transform chat optimization.
In this webinar Lee Mostari of Ember and Dan Somers of Warwick Analytics explained how you can analyse your customer interactions across all customer touch-points, and use this insight to define and optimise your channel strategy. We also discussed the benefits of undertaking this piece of work with operational efficiencies and customer experience as two of the key drivers for building an omni-channel operating model.
Recent years have seen a proliferation of channels for customer interactions – and most organisations have focused simply on keeping up with the latest addition. But the more channels you have, the more challenging it is to maintain a coherent customer experience across all of them and to understand how each can best be applied to enrich that experience.
This webinar can help bridge that gap. It focuses on how you can define, and refine, your channel strategy.
Identify which channels your customers are best suited to – and which work best for specific types of interaction.
Understand the causes of channel failure and what drives customers to switch.
Reduce customer effort by delivering service in the customer’s preferred channel first-time.
Fill in the form to watch our webinar recording now.
Contact-centres.com has published ‘How to get from Aberdeen to Wells avoiding ‘Other‘, an article by Dan Somers of Warwick Analytics that looks at the issue of incorrect wrap up codes/dropdowns being selected by agents and also how to avoid ‘other’ being a catch all category.
Inputting wrap-up codes is a standard piece of ACW work a contact centre agents typically completes. It allows a call to be classified so insight can be extracted on popular topics, locations, type of caller and so on. Some contact centres also use the accuracy of codes as a KPI for individual agents.
However, too many lengthy dropdown lists are proving too laborious for many contact centre operatives – we call this ‘Aberdeen Syndrome’.
So how can you get from Aberdeen to Wells avoiding ‘other’?
The answer is in auto-tagging or auto-classification, made possible by the latest in AI and machine learning. Specific information can be requested and automatically identified from a call, email or other piece of customer feedback such as online chat. The wrap up codes are populated automatically, significantly reducing call wrap up time.
Understanding the mix of topics, emotions and outcomes for different days of the week and time of the day can make a huge difference.
For example, do people use internet banking on a weekend? Are customers (and agents) happier at the beginning of the day/week?
By analysing incoming queries for topics, sentiment analysis and identifying emotional intents, a bank was able to understand when customers were more likely to tolerate delays and issues. This allowed them to forecast and staff more strategically, while flexing their skills and resources accordingly.
And in the feature: Why Is It Getting Harder to Recruit Good Contact Centre People? Dan talks about how there are many ways that better technology and analytics can support better processes that make ‘being great’ easier and more standardised as well as routing digital queries to the best people. This makes it easier to find and retain the best people and take on more inexperienced staff.
Wooden figures of people. The red man comes out with a team of workers. The concept of choosing a new leader. Choice of person. Hiring and recruiting. Human resource management. Selective focus
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Many companies are implementing live chat because it offers a better
experience for some queries and some customers as well as cost savings for
companies compared to voice. Indeed the channel has been growing 87% pa
according to CustomerThink.
BoldChat found that top reasons given for why live chat is preferred are
immediacy of responses (71%), ability to multi-task (51%) and customers don’t
like talking on the phone (22%).
However canned responses, complex queries or poor staffing can lead to the
opposite experience, with channel switching, repeat calls and abandonment or
even churn. Misunderstandings can happen more frequently than a telephone
conversation, and with both customers and agents multitasking, there is plenty
of room for error. Offshore chat operations are often compounded with cultural
issues and misunderstandings too.
Many businesses who deploy live chat do so with conflicting reasons i.e. is it to
serve customers’ channel preferences or save money. It is frequently treated as
an ‘alternative’ to voice.