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It’s time to upgrade manual contact reasons and surveys to Customer Contact Intelligence

October 13, 2022
Avatar photo Saana Borgström

We’re living in an economy where digital interactions have soared and customer experience has overtaken product and price as the key brand differentiator.

Its easy to publicly be an advocate of customer experience, but many decision makers still doubt its real value. Especially with the approaching economic downturn the most appealing strategy is usually to try and maintain revenue at any cost. As current tools for measuring customer experience often fail to calculate ROI or show a clear link to business value, it can be a battle to get initiatives to improve customer focus prioritised in decision making.

However studies show that the quality of a company’s customer experience (CX) influences not only the success during an economic upswing, but also its ability to successfully navigate a downturn: during the 2009 recession CX-leaders in US companies actually saw a 6.1% rise in cumulative returns where as CX-laggards fell close to 60%.

It is also shown that resilient companies who successfully came through the economic downturn not only reduced operating costs earlier in the recession cycle, but also focused on maintaining loyalty among high-value customers. After all, one in three customers will leave a brand they are loyal to after one bad experience.

Survey-based measurement systems no longer meet the demands of today’s companies

In the experience economy overshadowed by the looming downturn and complex business challenges, there’s no more relying on surveys and contact reasons in getting the customers’ voice into decision making.  

However, according to McKinsey the ageing survey-based measurement systems still form the backbone of customer focus: a study showed that in 2020 as many as 93% of US companies used a survey-based metric (ie. CSAT or CES) as their primary means of measuring CX performance — but only 15 % were fully satisfied and 6 % expressed confidence that their measurement system enables both strategic and tactical decision making. 

The following were listed as the most common and critical shortcomings of survey-based measurement systems:

Indeed, as important as surveys are as a means to conduct research, they do not serve well as management tools.

Survey-based measurement systems do not meet the demands of todays companies

Contact reason categorisation is another ambiguous and in all honesty, inadequate method to inform and improve decision making. Manually selected contact reasons are a responsibility of call center employees who often are required to undertake many different tasks that often take place in a stressful environment, dealing with problematic customers and being under managerial pressure.

Manually selected contact reasons not only are biased, but they also fail to produce detailed and quantifiable data on what actually influences customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

However, it is worth noting that todays companies and organisations have a wealth of almost completely unused data for deriving deep insights and to connect with their customers’ reality. Existing customer interaction data could and should be used to produce outstanding customer experience and to gain desirable business outcomes that come with it; reduce churn, boost revenue, and lower cost to serve.

Instead of asking, start listening

As stated in a McKinsey article: Why use a survey to ask customers about their experiences when data about customer interactions can be used to predict both satisfaction and the likelihood that a customer will remain loyal or even increase business?

As response rates have been steadily declining, the answer is not to create more innovative methods or to take up new technologies to ask for your customers’ opinions. The answer is to change the method completely. It’s time to move from asking to listening.

With this change, decisions are made using predictive metrics instead of lagging metrics. After all, surveys always look back in time where as real-time interaction analysis gives immediate signals and helps keeping the eye towards the future. Both metrics are needed, but in decision making the predictive metrics outperform the lagging ones.

Predictive metrics
  • Real-time situation picture
  • Proactive
  • Suggests what should be done
  • Customers describing what matters to them
  • i.e. First-Call-Resolution rate
Lagging metrics
  • Analysis of a past event
  • Reactive
  • Tells something has happened
  • Answers to questions companies want to ask
  • i.e. Customer Satisfaction Scores (NPS, CSAT, CES)

From AI-driven feedback analysis to Customer Contact Intelligence

Aiwo started with AI-powered feedback analysis and over the years we have been producing eye-opening data for our customers about contact root causes, sentiment, recurring themes and KPI-factors.

But still, something was missing.

Applying the academic framework of failure demand in our analysis brought the much-needed breakthrough in showing the clear numerical link between customers’ reality and financial value.

And so came Aiwo’s Customer Contact Intelligence: AI-driven contact analysis enriched with company specific operational metadata. A SaaS service that enables an in-depth contact analysis without a heavy weight it-project and investments.

Aiwo captures all customer contacts from selected channels and analyses them through company specific operational data to identify cost and value driving contacts. It then connects them to relevant issues and assigns them to the correct business unit/owner and visualises the numeric cost of those issues. Having this visibility gives the opportunity to prioritise and to make faster and more focused improvements.

The link between financial value is clear. Our current data shows that on average 63% of all customer contacts are cost driving: those that create unnecessary costs, are rooted in operational inefficiencies and impair customer and employee experience. The volume varies depending on the industry from 40 percent to more than 70 percent.

Insights from Aiwo’s dashboard allows you, in real time, to:

In an economic downswing, anything companies can do to eliminate unnecessary customer communication, to improve efficiency and to increase loyalty among customers, should be done. Aiwo Customer Contact Intelligence is a powerful tool to tackle all of these three business challenges simultaneously – while improving customer and employee experience.

Join the early movers or play catch-up later

The data-driven transformation has already been seen in marketing and revenue management. Next it will happen for customer experience. Gartner predicts that by 2025 60% of companies will supplement traditional surveys by analysing voice and text Interactions with customers.

The pioneers have already adopted this data-driven approach and have started to analyse and aggregate their customer interaction data with their operational and financial data.

Aiwo is the fastest way to produce actionable business insights, in real time, from your customer contacts without an expensive and long-lasting IT-project. Ask for more information or book a time for a free demo to see our analytics dashboard in action.

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