Over the past decade, most organisations seeking a competitive edge have implemented Customer Experience (CX) strategies to some extent. The widespread adoption of CX is hardly surprising thanks to the likes of Gartner and Forrester pointing to CX as the new battleground for customer wallet share. However, as Gartner points out, many have faced crises within their CX programmes in last three years, citing either lack of executive support or inability to prove ROI as being the leading causes of such hurdles. Forrester further highlights the importance, and struggle, that CX leaders face, by predicting that 1 in 4 CX pros may find their roles in questions if they are not able to unlock ROI within their functions.
Unlocking knowledge from VOC data
Within contact centers, a pervasive tactic has been to measure CX through Voice of the Customer (VOC) surveys, creating a plethora of data measured against standardized CX metrics. Metrics are a reasonable starting point, but the challenge lies in tying these scores to measurable returns. This is a complex issue, mainly created by the departments measuring VOC not being the departments that require change. Within the contact center, however, the measurement, and ability to improve converge, creating an environment where the opportunity to show ROI is firmly within grasp. Key to showing value, is the ability to look deeper into the scores gathered from VOC programmes, and unlock the messages customers are sending, but perhaps not overtly saying.
Knowing why you are saying sorry
An oft-referenced claim is that a dissatisfied customer, dealt with effectively and quickly, turns into a promotor, remaining loyal for longer, and spending more. On its own, this makes a good argument for service recovery; however, real-time escalation management offers far more than just the ability to put right a wrong.
For those wanting to make real improvements, capturing the reasons behind failures is arguably where the actual value of escalation management lies. Identifying reasons for dissatisfaction will, over time, provide insight into trends, which in turn, allow for focused improvement plans.
For example, thanks to escalation analysis within their contact centre, a leading bank built a business case for process improvement. The motivation arose from escalations highlighting process as the leading cause of dissatisfaction among customers. In this example, the ROI extracted was two-fold; over the long term, the ease of the improved process decreased abandoned sales, which increased revenue. Secondly, the enhanced process led to fewer calls into the contact centre, freeing up agents to handle other calls, improving efficiency metrics and ultimately saving resources.
Personalisation en masse
Escalation management and service failure recovery are often viewed as the burden instead of an opportunity to provide better service across the board.
As mentioned, the power of escalation management lies in analyzing root causes over time. This data, once overlaid with customer segmentation data, provides a further level of understanding into customer expectation. For example, by identifying that a particular sub-set of customers becomes dissatisfied when dealing with a specific process or person, one can personalize their service experience. Identifying segment pain points enables proactively routing customer segments to agents, or through processes, that are more likely to delight them.
Personalization is fast becoming a market demand; however, the reality is that for organizations with mass-market appeal, personalization is only effective if executed en masse through data-driven insights, and understanding the causes of escalations are a valuable source of such insight.
Escalating the Good
Service follow-up is traditionally associated with unhappy customers; however, there is also value in escalating promoters. A promotor is likely to repeat purchase and stay loyal for longer. By triggering positive escalations, in much the same way as with negative responses, reasons for satisfaction can be captured, analyzed and extrapolated. Team leaders can understand the drivers of customer satisfaction, and thus encourage their teams to do more of the behaviour that elicited the great experience.
Too often, the only time a customer hears from an organization is during a negative period in the relationship; however, the opportunity to delight increases ten-fold during moments of satisfaction. A customer who leaves a positive review has a high propensity to become an advocate, and a simple thank you goes a long way. Furthermore, such follow-up calls, if handled correctly, are the ideal opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell.
Turn that frown upside down
Escalation management, as part of a VOC programme, is more valuable than just an opportunity to rectify poor service. It is about finding the root causes of dissatisfaction and nipping those in the bud before they happen. It is about listening to what your customers have to say and using this information to make value-creating changes in your contact centre - be it through process optimization, resource utilization, personalisation of service or building on customer loyalty.
While not the panacea for all dissatisfaction, escalations help your customers highlight areas of failure. By paying attention to what they are telling you, you will be able to unlock ROI from your VOC programme in ways that may surprise you.