Reducing Customer Level of Effort by Automating Capture of Outcomes and Insights

One of the key pillars in assessing the effectiveness of customer service, and the quality of each customer’s experience, is to reduce the effort required to reach an agent, and get a question answered or issue resolved.

So why do CX companies continue to ask customers to rate their experiences – whether online via a web app, on a mobile app, or following a live voice call? Do people really have time to respond, and when they do, how truthful and valuable are their responses?

Even the inventor of the popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) is no longer a fan of surveys if they can be avoided, and he knows now they can be with the right technology.

In an interview with Bloomberg Technology, former Bain & Company consultant Fred Reichheld said CSAT surveys have become less meaningful now that they’ve become inescapable. “The instant we have a technology to minimize surveys, I’m the first one on that bandwagon,” Reichheld told Bloomberg.

In 2003, Reichheld introduced NPS in the Harvard Business Review article “The One Number You Need to Grow.” Used to measure customer loyalty, NPS asks how likely consumers are to recommend a business.

Nearly all enterprises today use NPS but are questioning whether the approach is truly providing them insights needed to remain competitive, both with their products and services, and their experiences.

Response for surveys is going down, as customers grow tired of being asked.

Abandonment rates are extremely high beyond the first one or two questions, as some companies still believe answering a 10-minute survey is convenient.

And if you’ve been in a department store recently, after you spend your hard-earned money there, the cashiers often beg you to take the survey, and give them a perfect 10, because that impacts their pay.

Veterans in the CX industry say that CSAT and NPS only address a small fraction of what is happening, and thus is limiting and even misleading.

And innovators in the CX industry are saying they can capture more information simply through recording and transcribing voice calls and sending that data to an engine that can analyze traditional calls as well as web chats, chat bots, and social media posts.

Felix Serrano, co-founder and CEO of Activus Connect, a company whose platform enables at-home workers but with more than the usual virtual desktop says “with new tools, like AI-enabled sentiment analysis and correlation using big data analytics, we capture what actually happens during a conversation, including the tone of voice, specific words, pauses, and how much an ambassador is speaking compared to the customer. With this information and our methodologies, we have just-in-time information that can be shared back with the ambassador and his or her coach and aggregated into reports that show how certain behaviors and offers impact outcomes.”

Serrano is seeing call times dropping when agents (whom they refer to as ambassadors who reflect the brand voice of their customers) have accurate information at their fingertips when a customer calls in, and can nearly predict what the issue may be, especially if it is a follow-up call on a previous question or complaint.

“Not only is the conversation faster and more productive in the beginning, we are able to capture the outcomes, for better or worse, and present actions that can be taken to improve – constantly – how our ambassadors are delivering experiences. This information is priceless for our managers – or coaches – and extremely valued by our clients. We believe it is much more accurate than surveys, with much less effort from the customer.”

Serrano says having this “next-level” technology, which it has integrated from a number of other companies including Genesys, CustomerView and Dizzion, delivered via a combination of AWS Cloud and secure broadband networks supporting work-from-home and work-from-anywhere professionals, means the quality of service and insights is on par with that which used to be the domain of large Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) in the traditional contact center business.

Serrano has been a pioneer in cloud contact center and work from home models for over fifteen years, having built and sold a company, after building Sitel work@home solutions and serving as its COO of Global Operations (now part of Acticall).

“We’ve moved well beyond all the benefits of the original innovations,” Serrano said, “and with a much more flexible and economically efficient approach, we are able to invest in leading edge technologies that automate a great deal of what used to be manual, and to enhance knowledge and reporting using statistical analysis, AI, and more. Instead of spending on expensive contact centers, where working conditions are often brutal, we invest in virtualization, technology, training, innovation and above all – people. Ultimately, having great ambassadors and evidence of why they are great, will always win the day.”

Serrano believes omnichannel will only become more attractive over time, because it is “simply more and more convenient for customers. That said, especially for high value products, services and subscribers, and for more complex connected products and modern new services, human beings prefer to speak with other human beings. We will have fewer but greater professionals in the future, using better and better technology – while more mundane issues, like resetting passwords, will be handled much better by a chatbot and multifactor authentication password reset apps. Unifying our data is what makes it possible for our clients to see across all their conversations, all their channels, all their campaigns, and all their products. We can present more ‘truth’ to our clients than millions of surveys, which take up customer time, and are simply inaccurate.”

As more customers revolt against traditional surveys, the effectiveness of NPS and CSAT scores will continue to decline. What companies are drawn to is still having data and insight, but without as much effort on the customer’s part or the agent’s part – leaving more time to engage in friendlier and more memorable ways.

Originally published by CustomerZone360