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Balancing Customer Experience and Efficiency: How to Have Both?

March 7, 2023
Avatar photo Saana Borgström

Can companies truly have the best of both worlds – improving their customer service operations for greater efficiency while delivering excellent customer experience? At Aiwo, we say yes!

Despite ongoing efforts, many companies still struggle to effectively balance their focus on customer experience and operational efficiency. A common challenge is prioritisation, with many businesses prioritising efficiency goals over customer experience due to the difficulties in quantifying the financial benefits of investing in the latter.

But is this a lost cause, or simply a gap in our understanding of the relationship between the two? At Aiwo, we believe the solution lies in the right approach and tools. In this article, we’ll explore how you can reconcile customer experience and efficiency, unlocking the key to success for your business.

A clear link between customer experience and efficiency

Measuring customer experience through traditional methods, such as surveying customers on their willingness to promote or their mood after a service, proves to be a challenge when trying to connect it with efficiency metrics.

However, customer-initiated contacts provide a clear link between customer experience and efficiency. A problem that prompts a customer to reach out to a company will inherently negatively impact their experience. Additionally, managing these contacts takes capacity from customer service and incurs costs for the company, thus reducing its overall efficiency.

Here’s how it works in practise:

Increasing spending on customer service may maintain customer experience levels if the number of customer contacts increases, but this approach does not eliminate the root cause of these contacts nor enhance the overall customer experience. This approach sacrifices efficiency for customer experience.

On the other hand, reducing e.g. customer service availability to cut costs and improve efficiency often comes at the expense of customer experience.

The key to success lies in identifying and resolving the underlying causes of customer contacts throughout the operational level. This approach not only reduces the number of contacts, but also leads to cost savings in customer service and improved customer experience, as typical customer issues are resolved.

Pick the right tool for the right job

Like I said earlier, the solution lies in the right approach and tools.

Customer contact intelligence that Aiwo produces is designed with the big picture and efficiency in mind. It offers insights on the underlying causes of customer contacts, what product or service are they related to, how much do these contacts generate costs and which business unit has the ownership of these issues. The data implies what needs to be done and by who BEFORE the issue generates more contacts for the customer service team to handle. The real-time data Aiwo provides helps to prioritise development areas with the biggest impact and consequently to monitor the results of the actions taken.

Tools like NPS, CES and CSAT do not provide data that would effectively connect customer experience with efficiency metrics, but they serve amazingly when e.g. measuring the customers’ satisfaction to the service they have received at a particular touch point. This data helps developing the skills and service by the customer service team.

Using surveys to create this holistic overview is rather pointless as surveys always look back in time. Surveys serve best when they are used to learn more about a specific topic in a specific segment.

Capture and analyse your data efficiently

Companies nowadays have data and design teams that do great work in combining customer experience data from different parts of the organisation and sources. But it can be a challenging and a slow process to create a business-relevant and real-time overview from the fragmented data produced in different silos. Also without a clear goal and framework, there is a risk of creating “a Data Frankenstein” that is difficult to maintain and ultimately does not answer the simple question of business leaders: Why do we have so many customer contacts and how can we reduce them to cut costs?

Aiwo leverages existing customer contact data to create this overall picture. Instead of asking, our method relies on listening to the customer interactions across different channels. We have implemented an academic theory of Failure Demand into our analysis model which gives us a framework that helps make sense of the huge amount of data analysed. Powered with AI we’re able to turn customer contacts into real-time data that helps improve both customer experience and efficiency.

Customer experience data to match your efficiency goals

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