Companies that have built their operations around the needs of their customers are usually also the most successful in the market. According to a study by Frankly Partners, 46% of Finnish companies that understand their customers and put them at the center are also market leaders in their fields.
Every company says the customer is at the heart of their strategy, however unfortunately often a company may lack the resources to build and maintain a genuine customer focus in their day-to-day operations. Additionally, the fact that the consumer field is constantly changing and the number of customer needs is growing does not make this any easier.
In this article, I would like to highlight the value of customer communication to the company’s customer service and how that information can be effectively utilized in the development of the company’s business towards genuine customer focus.
Customer understanding is a constant process
Developing a business in a customer-oriented manner requires a genuine understanding of what customers want, how, and why?
At Aiwo, we believe that it is possible to build and maintain customer understanding through the continuous implementation of a simple 3-step process in the company’s daily life: gather, realise and improve.
Next, I’ll tell you a little more about what these steps specifically entail.
Step 1: Gather
Customer understanding is usually built through various feedback and satisfaction surveys. Surveys are absolutely essential basic tools for gathering customer insight, but they only provide answers to the questions the company itself asks its customers.
Going through open-ended responses without a powerful tool is slow, so queries are often quantitative in style, meaning they are based on either multiple-choice or graded ratings.
The open and multi-channel customer communication that comes to customer service is the most valuable treasure chest in terms of service development. This content has hardly been utilised in companies.
This valuable customer communication data comes to companies continuously and from multiple channels and most importantly: it is often including directly the customers ’own desire or need.
The comprehensive utilization of open customer communication data is therefore a key factor in making a service or product better suited to customer needs. Genuine customer orientation, on the other hand, enables a company to stand out in the market.
The most important sources of Voice of Customer data coming to customer service are
- call contents
- email content
- chat conversations
- open responses to customer feedback
- NPS/Other queries open feedback
Step 2: Realise
The collection of customer communication data often takes place almost automatically, especially if the company has more than one tool in use (e-mail, chat, NPS, etc.). The next step will be to process the material to get the insights
The multi-channel qualitative material received from customers should be analysed in such a way that it is possible to make insights and proposals for action related to business development – in a timely and effective manner.
Imagine if there are thousands or even tens of thousands of customer contacts a month, the processing of these contacts by hand would require a whole team of customer care experts and a huge amount of working hours. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to use artificial intelligence to help process the data.
For example, the Aiwo tool allows the content of calls, emails, chats, and open feedback to be analysed and themed very quickly. In addition, the tool allows all data sources to be integrated into the same real-time analytics. In this case, it is possible for the company to find out:
- Top topics in customer communication and related emotional experiences (negative / positive)
- Emerging trends and quiet signals that can be addressed before the problem grows
- Impact factors and root causes of problem areas
- Reasons for KPI metrics (What exactly decreased NPS last month?)
- Understanding failure demand and value demand
Step 3: Improve
The most valuable insights from a business perspective come from being able to view customer communications data as a whole, not just as individual messages. The overall picture of the content of customer communications often highlights customer needs that would otherwise go unnoticed. And these development needs are mostly somewhere else outside of customer service.
Often the most important areas for development are in:
- Service design: the service does not currently meet the real needs of customers
- Product development: product quality and content do not meet customer expectations
- Communication/marketing: eg the product/service cannot be used correctly
- Internal processes: the organisation’s own operating models cause disruptive demand from customers
The content of customer communications always reflects the state of the customer experience. Sharing a clear picture of the situation throughout the organisation helps to develop the business towards actual customer needs.
The good thing is that your company already has a lot of customer communications data that can be used to take steps to improve the customer experience. My advise is; gather the data, get an efficient tool to analyse it and see what kind of insights and opportunities your customers are giving you already. I promise you will be positively surprised!
From customer communication to actionable insights
Ian Golding, an international expert in customer experience development, was our webinar guest in March 2022. See the webinar recording for more hands-on tips on how to bring valuable content from your customer communications data into the development of your business.