Unhappy Customers Are a Gold Mine of Opportunity

Over the past decade, most organizations seeking a competitive edge have implemented some type of customer experience strategy. The widespread adoption of customer experience isn’t surprising, thanks to the likes of Gartner and Forrester pointing to it as the new battleground for customer wallet share. However, as Gartner points out, many companies have faced crises within their customer experience programs in last three years, citing either lack of executive support or inability to prove ROI as the leading causes of such hurdles. Forrester further highlights the importance — and struggle — that customer experience leaders face, by predicting that one in four customer experience professionals could find their roles in questions if they can’t unlock ROI within their functions.

Unlocking Knowledge From Voice of the Customer data

Within contact centers, a pervasive tactic has been to measure customer experience through Voice of the Customer (VOC) surveys, creating a plethora of data measured against standardized customer experience metrics.

Metrics are a reasonable starting point, but there’s a challenge in tying these scores to measurable returns. This is a complex issue, mainly because the departments that measure VOC often aren’t the departments that require change. Within the contact center, however, the measurement — and ability to improve converge — creates an environment in which the opportunity to show ROI is firmly within grasp. The key to show value is the ability to look deeper into the scores gathered from VOC programs — and unlock the messages customers are sending, but perhaps not overtly saying.

Knowing Why You’re Apologizing

An often referenced claim is that a dissatisfied customer, dealt with effectively and quickly, turns into a promotor, remains loyal for longer and spends 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 insights into trends. And that, in turn, allows for focused improvement plans.

For example, thanks to escalation analysis within their contact center, a leading bank built a business case for process improvement. The motivation came from escalations that highlighted process as the leading cause of dissatisfaction among customers. In this example, the ROI extracted was twofold. First, over the long term, the ease of the improved process decreased abandoned sales. And that increased revenue. Second, the enhanced process led to fewer calls into the contact center, which freed up agents to handle other calls, improving efficiency metrics and, ultimately, saving resources.

Personalization En Masse

Escalation management and service failure recovery often are viewed as the burden — not as an opportunity to provide better service across the board.

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 expectations. For example, by identifying that a subset of customers is dissatisfied when dealing with a specific process or person, you can personalize that service experience. Identifying segment pain points lets you proactively route 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. Understanding the causes of escalations is a valuable source of such insights.

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 program, is more valuable than just an opportunity to rectify poor service. It’s about finding the root causes of dissatisfaction and nipping those in the bud before they happen. It’s about listening to what your customers have to say and using this information to make value-creating changes in your contact center — be it through process optimization, resource utilization, personalization 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’re telling you, you can unlock ROI from your VOC program in surprising ways. To learn more about leveraging an enterprise VOC platform to listen to customers, manage escalation and extract insights from data gathered, book a demo with Genesys AppFoundry partner Smoke Customer Intelligence.

This blog post was co-authored by Andrew Cook. Andrew is the founder and CEO of Smoke Customer Intelligence. Andrew is passionate advocate of technology that helps organizations listen to the Voice of their Customer. With over a decade of CX knowledge, Andrew helps leverage Smoke CI’s technology and its partnership with Genesys to enable global customers to easily and effectively measure customer satisfaction within contact centres, and across organizational touchpoints. Combining a passion for customers, with a head for business, Andrew works with clients to balance the importance of CX with sound business practice.