Blog: Retain Customers by Measuring the Right Data
Driving cost efficiencies has long been the primary objective of data collected in the contact center environment. Management of metrics—such as average handle time, first call resolution and call reasons—certainly results in cost saving and, in some cases, supports development of good customer experiences. But, at Ubiquity, we believe exclusive focus on these metrics results in a huge missed opportunity to improve customer loyalty, increase sales through cross- and upselling and build brand identity.
Customer acquisition costs are a significant factor for many payments programs, making loyalty and revenue growth through cross- and upselling essential.
Analyze the Right Data
Customer experience indicators are valuable sources of insight. It’s useful to measure the customer experience from his perspective, as industry insiders often misunderstand what’s most important to their customer base. The best way to ensure this customer-centric approach is to survey customers for satisfaction through every contact channel, including self-service channels. Large sample sizes are enticing, however; it’s important not to survey customers too frequently. You risk surveying customers only after an initial interaction, which are often more positive in nature than subsequent interactions for the same issue. We’ve found that if you build in logic to ensure that you don’t re-survey a customer within 60 days, it increases survey participation rates.
|Management of metrics—such as average handle time, first call resolution and call reasons—certainly results in cost saving and, in some cases, supports development of good customer experiences. But, at Ubiquity, we believe exclusive focus on these metrics results in a huge missed opportunity to improve customer loyalty, increase sales through cross- and upselling and build brand identity.|
You can then add additional use value by attaching each customer satisfaction measurement to a particular individual interaction. This enables you ultimately to narrow results to particular processes and provide actionable outcomes.
There are many factors that influence customer satisfaction. Service processes, product features and costs, technology and customer service agents are a few examples. Without understanding the context of a particular survey, however, it’s difficult to assess which factor might have influenced the results. By linking a survey with a particular interaction, you can understand the impact of the agent, service processes and technology.
Customer Loyalty Is Directly Related to Customer Satisfaction
We’ve seen that customer loyalty is directly related to customer satisfaction. Once you have data tied to interactions, you can start looking for trends in granular detail and make adjustments to improve satisfaction and loyalty For example, if all interactions where a customer used self-service technology (e.g., the Website or IVR) scored lower, this is a clear indicator that there is an opportunity for improvement. The same methodology holds true when looking at product types, calls related to certain processes/policies and even agent interactions.
If you warehouse this data over time, you can begin to look at former customers’ interactions and survey results, which can shed light onto some of the reasons for customer attrition.
In addition, if you’ve tied survey data to customer information, you can begin to understand how the customer life cycle impacts call types and satisfaction. This can be invaluable when considering designing marketing and product materials, such as card mailers.
Main Indicators of Churn
Leading indicators of customer attrition typically vary by product type. In situations where a customer complains, or where there obviously has been a bad experience, it’s relatively easy to see the connection.
There are other less obvious causes of customer attrition that should be addressed. Analysis of former customers and their interactions, transactions and behaviors before they stopped using the product or service can help to define a set of churn risk factors. For example, a sudden drop in transaction volume or a change in account funding habits is an excellent indicator of impending attrition. This approach is particularly helpful for the prepaid space, where customers rarely call to close their accounts.
Once at risk customers are identified, if they do decide to call, they can be routed to specialized retention agents. You also can launch an outbound contact campaign to proactively reach out to them and attempt to save the relationship. The outbound campaign can be fulfilled via automated channels (like email marketing) or more expensive channels (like outbound live agent calls). If the customer base is segmented by value, using expensive resources on high-value customers is often a good approach.
Here are some tips to help ensure the data you measure will lead to initiatives that improve customer experience and retention:
- Capture customer satisfaction feedback on every channel, down to an interaction level wherever possible. Payments servicing tends to be dominated by phone contact. Using an outbound IVR to conduct post-call satisfaction surveys is a method we’ve found to be very effective.
- Invest in the right systems and processes. One of the primary barriers of measuring the right data is that much of it, if tracked, is stored in isolated systems and databases. In many cases, there is not a common key that links all of the data together. This is an area where a good service provider can add significant value to overcome these challenges.
- Build for your own environment. In an ideal world, you’d build everything from the ground up. You’d have a data warehouse with a common key, linking every contact together from start to finish, and this would be linked to a particular customer record. All of this would be linked to a customer satisfaction survey mechanism. In most cases, however, this is impractical. The best course of action, therefore, is to look at your own environment and determine which data points can be linked together easily. Once you start providing information and analysis, even if it’s limited, you’ll find it’s typically much easier to get needed resources to complete additional IT work to expand data collection and analytics. If you don’t already have one, adding a customer satisfaction survey mechanism is essential.
Corey Besaw is vice president of solution design for Ubiquity Global Services where he is responsible for new business development and the creation of new programs, products and services for Ubiquity’s clients. Corey brings more than 10 years of business process outsourcing leadership experience to the company and has helped launch and expand contact center operations in the U.S., EMEA and APAC. He can be reached at [email protected].