Contact Center Analytics

Learn from this Sample Customer Journey: Booking a Flight to Boarding the Plane

Today’s customer journey considers the beginning-to-end experience that the user follows to complete a task. Often, the journey involves numerous channels and devices that all must interact with the customer wherever, whenever and however they want.

Air travel can be exhausting, both physically and mentally, especially if the many plans that have to be in place don’t come together. Delayed or canceled flights, difficulty scheduling backup flights, lost luggage and missed connections are just the beginning of the travel headache. Done correctly, the customer journey of a person who’s traveling can be greatly eased with intuitive messaging and thoughtful touch points. Consider this modern customer journey for the traveler:

• Book your flight online well in advance to secure the best ticket price.

• Receive a push notification from the airline’s mobile app that allows you to check-in the night before your flight.

• Choose the way you’d like to receive your boarding pass (saving it to your phone, via email, etc.).

• At the airport, visit a kiosk to scan the boarding pass on your phone and then print your baggage ticket.

• Show security your digital boarding pass.

• Receive immediate flight status updates through your preferred contact method (text message, email, app push notification, etc.).

• While on the flight, go to the airline’s website on your phone, tablet or laptop to watch movies.

Traveling of the past was often rife with long lines to get to an agent at the airport, paper boarding passes that can get easily lost and difficulty keeping up with the latest flight changes. The reason the new, digitally-enhanced customer journey flows so well is because the airline (or booking service) the traveler uses offers online and mobile access; remembers personal information, allowing the company to send customized alerts to individual travelers; has multiple digital options for doing necessary travel tasks, then syncs those options (saving the boarding pass to your phone then scanning it at the luggage tag kiosk); and generally keeps travelers in-the-know regarding their trip. Once on the flight, the company is further able to keep the traveler happy and entertained by offering in-flight Internet service and other types of free entertainment.

This type of customer journey takes into account the cornerstones that customers need: consistent and proactive service, optimized features, collaborative options and seamless transitions.

How Real-Time Analytics Monitoring Improves the Contact Center

Real-time data helps businesses run smoothly. Being able to see the truth about how your company is performing moment-to-moment lets you understand the reality of your business. When you know where you’re losing as well as where you’re winning, it’s easier to appropriately adjust and monitor the contact center’s daily functions. When day-to-day functions are made more efficient, productivity can increase. Here are six benefits of real-time analytics monitoring

1. The quantity and quality of calls can be tracked.

Real-time monitoring allows the contact center to know exactly how many calls are being handled by agents, plus how many calls are currently in queue. The supervisor can see how many calls are being worked on and resolved by specific agents, and conversations can be listened in on to find out how they’re being handled. At any point, the contact center can track a call in real-time and then step in if the agent seems to be struggling. By closely monitoring calls, you can determine where a specific agent or a group of agents need more work.

2. Assess the changing value of a customer.

Customers will change their value to a company as they continue to purchase items or as they become dissatisfied with the products or level of service they receive. When a customer changes how frequently they purchase, real-time analytics can immediately update the customer’s status. The next time the customer contacts an agent, the agent will know how valuable the customer is. If the customer has been purchasing more frequently, they can be moved to VIP status. If they haven’t been purchasing as frequently as in the past, they may need an incentive in order to trust the company more.

3. Analyze waiting and idle time.

The amount of time a customer has to wait to have their problem resolved is a huge part of the customer experience. The longer the wait time, the more upset the customer may get, getting the customer-agent conversation off to a bad start. While an agent may need extra time to resolve a problem, the customer only cares about how long the process is taking. With real-time analytics, the wait and idle time for each agent can be assessed.

4. Quickly manage long queues.

At times, the contact center will be understaffed or inundated with calls, live chat requests, and emails. During these times, real-time monitoring can show you which agents are idle, allowing you to redirect calls that are currently in queue to those agents. Team members can quickly be reallocated in order to meet a surge in demand.

5. Find out how long it takes for agents to handle queries.

Contact center agents are tasked with resolving issues in the quickest way possible without lowering service quality. With real-time analytics, you can see how long agents are spending on each customer. You can then work with the agents who regularly take a long time with customers in order to lower their average resolution time.

6. Take advantage of cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

When a customer has recently bought a product or service, the contact center agent has an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell. Real-time data can track what the customer has recently purchased and then automatically populate other products or services that they may be interested in. The system may also prompt the agent to offer the customer a better version of the product they’re ready to purchase at a higher price point.

3 Speech Analytics Myths You Should Stop Believing

The number of misconceptions about speech analytics (SA) are surprising, especially considering that even people who currently use SA technology believe the myths. While the learning curve for SA is steep, understanding that the following notions are false will be a big help. When you know how SA does and does not work, you’ll be able to better utilize to its potential.

Myth #1: It’s Not Necessary to Listen to Actual Calls

It’s not possible to simply guess at the voice of the customer and you won’t be able to set useful SA settings if you don’t first listen to real recorded calls. The only way to figure out which business intelligence will be most useful to your company is to listen to a random selection of recordings from a specific queue. As you dissect recordings, you should do the following:

  • Map call types for specific objectives.
  • Listen to how things are said, not just what is said.
  • Create a ranking of keyword categories.
  • Identify issues that could cause trouble with the software (transfers, hold music, pre-recorded messages).
  • Interpret dialects, accents and colloquialisms.

While listening to numerous calls from beginning to end is tedious, it’s the best way to figure out which words and phrases are most meaningful when it comes to customer intent and outcomes.

Myth #2: Speech Analytics Are a Set-and-Forget Solution

SA make it easy to locate keywords and phrases, but that ability alone isn’t going to give you valuable insight. SA software has to be optimized in order to provide useful and actionable intelligence, taking into account things like the relationship between content and context or specialized language for certain industries. Furthermore, the data you glean from SA won’t be helpful if it isn’t accurate. In order to make sure that the software is at its optimal level of accuracy detection, the speech engine has to be calibrated, tested and tuned until perfect. To do this, search results have to be audited several times over until the speech engine is in harmony with your business objectives. The setup and interpretation phases may be time-consuming and even challenging, but they’re necessary.

Myth #3: Anybody Can Manage Speech Analytics

SA may run automatically, but the software has to be managed on a regular basis, too. There are a range of tasks that must be completed in order to keep SA performing well. While you may have a staff member who’s qualified to take on this role, it’s important to know what’s expected of the person in charge:

  • Software setup
  • Server and database management
  • Compilation, analysis and delivery of key findings
  • Content review

One or more people can take on this role. Since the various steps call for different skill sets, some companies opt to split up the role into three parts

  1. Administrator for setup and management.
  2. Business Analyst for choosing and delivering key findings.
  3. Interactions Monitoring Analyst to review content.

Whoever is in charge of SA has to analyze and communicate the findings, explaining why and how changes should be made.

In order to get the most out of SA, it’s important to control your expectations. SA software doesn’t rely on omniscience. Instead, it’s a smart, calibrated filter that shows you the parts of calls that relate to your specific business issues. SA software provides the tools you need to uncover actionable business intelligence. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to find these subtle points of a conversation. With it, you can apply sophisticated strategies to work toward your business objective.

The Customer Journey from Beginning to End

Just as contact centers evaluate analytics, customers evaluate the experience support agents deliver. Most importantly, purchase decisions are often made off of those evaluations.

Assuming your customers are happy isn’t enough. You need to know the realities of the experience you’re providing. Often, customers have a different experience with a product or service than the brand expects.

Understanding the beginning-to-end customer journey provides the opportunity to develop a meaningful and intuitive customer journey map.

The True Beginning of the Customer Journey

Figure out exactly where the customer journey begins. For example, an airline may assume that the majority of the customer journey is the same as the physical journey, i.e. when they’re in the air. However, customers know that the journey starts much earlier and ends much later than the flight itself. The customer journey for travelers begins when they’re thinking about where they should go. During the brainstorming and planning stages, they search for information about destinations and travel deals. Airlines, in turn, can provide this information on their blog and in their newsletters. While data may not be able to capture the exact moment when a potential customer is thinking about travel, the airline can make sure that helpful information is there when a person goes looking for it.

Discovering Your Most Important Customers

Who is your brand most appealing to? What do they need in order to meet their immediate goals and then to be satisfied and impressed beyond that? For example, if an airline’s main customer base is made up of business travelers, it’s a given that they need WiFi access and a business lounge. While business travelers may be on a work trip, though, they’re not robots who eat, sleep and breathe their job. Treating business travelers to relaxation (massage chairs in the lounge) and niceties (gourmet in-flight meals) that they may not get once they arrive at their destination makes for an enjoyable and memorable trip.

Customer personas specify the customers that need your focus. Job title alone won’t help with categorization, though. Instead, consider their role as it relates to your brand. For example, if you sell Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), you’ll have several types of customers for each transaction:

  • The marketing manager, who understands why your product is so important.
  • The person in charge of the budget, who makes the ultimate decision about whether or not to spend the money on your product.
  • The head of the IT department, who knows how to use the software.
  • The person who’s going to sign the contract and finalize the purchase.

While each of these people are your customers, they need to be handled differently.

Outlining Customer Stages

Depending on the complexity of your brand, you may have as few as two customer stages or more than twenty. For most brands, the customer journey map follows a basic formula: research, compare, choose and purchase. These four simple stages can be built upon as the map is fine-tuned and expounded.

While the full spectrum of the stages should add up to one complete journey, each customer will not fit neatly into every stage. Some personas will skip entire stages, starting later or ending earlier along the journey than a different type of customer. For example, the marketing manager may be the only person to research SaaS, while the person in charge of the budget may come into the journey toward the end.

Setting Goals Throughout the Customer Journey

In order to create an empathetic customer journey map, brands have to understand what the customer wants to do. For example, when travelers fly, getting to their destination is just one of their goals. They want to get to their destination without changing flights multiple times, without killing time during a long layover and without losing luggage. Beyond that, they would probably also love to travel without being hungry, thirsty or bored. Certain goals are functional (getting to where they’re going as quickly as possible), while other goals are emotional (enjoying the flight instead of wishing for it to end).

Each customer persona and step of the journey has its own goals. Some will overlap and others will differ entirely. The focus should be on meeting the needs of the customer while staying on course to meet the overall goal of the brand. Each goal can be broken down into two aspects:

  1. What does the customer want to accomplish in this stage?
  2. What will help move the customer along to the next stage?

Here are general goals that most customers and brands have during the four main phases of the customer journey:

Research: The customer’s goal is to find interesting and up-to-date solutions that will meet their needs. The brand’s goal is to showcase their thought leadership.

Compare: The customer’s goal is to compare the solutions they find during the research phase in order to narrow the list down to a few front runners. The brand’s goal is to stand out from competitors.

Choose: The customer’s goal is to figure out the brand they most want to work with. The brand’s goal is to be chosen by the customer.

Purchase: The customer’s goal is to make the final decision and select the brand they’ve chosen to work with. The brand’s goal is to have the invoice paid, the contract signed or whatever it takes to close the deal, and to make it easy for the customer to take this step.

Setting Up Touch Points

Today’s customers are setting the trends when it comes to how they’re shopping. From mobile apps to “Buy Now” buttons on social media, it’s important to know the new ways for your company to connect with customers during each stage.

Once you’ve determined the personas, stages and goals to add to the customer journey map, specify the tools that should be available along the way. Here are common touch points that are used during the four main phases of the customer journey:

Research

  • Blog posts
  • Case studies
  • Conferences
  • Newsletters
  • Seminars
  • Webinars

Compare

  • Demos
  • Reviews
  • General pricing sheets
  • Product descriptions
  • Testimonials

Choose

  • Email support
  • Live chat
  • Meetings
  • Phone calls

Purchase

  • Contract explanation
  • Detailed pricing sheet
  • Guide with implementation steps
  • Supporting documentation

Analyze Important Data

Making decisions about the customer journey map shouldn’t be based on hunches and guesswork. Analytics can help you identify stages and touch points you may not have noticed yet as well as show you if what you’ve been doing is working. You’ll also determine how long it takes for customers to pass through each stage of the journey. For example, if the customer is spending more time than expected in the research phase, is this because they can’t find the information they need? Is there additional content you can offer or a different way to deliver that content?

When further developing the customer journey map, figure out the data that’s most important for the customer experience. Long-term goals are more important than short-term successes. Creating a good relationship with customers will pay off down the road. Forcing a sale may bring more cash flow at the moment, but could be a turn-off to customers and prevent them from returning.

The Benefits of Speech Analytics in the Contact Center

Analytics are used to leverage contact center data in order to resolve problems and improve business processes. Specifically, speech analytics refer to software that can go through millions of hours of recorded text (like e-mails and web chats) and audio to analyze and gather information.

Speech Analytics to Improve Quality Assurance

It’s impossible to evaluate every single agent interaction and it can even be difficult to evaluate a significant sample of conversations. However, since the main goal of analysis is to improve overall performance, taking random samples of customer-agent interaction would be a waste of time. Instead, purposeful targeting allows for only specific, valuable interactions to be assigned to evaluators.

Creating Buckets to Segment Conversations

Creating pre-defined categories, sometimes called buckets, allows contact centers to choose the telltale phrases that are most likely to identify a high-value conversation. One bucket may be for repeat calls and another may be for customer complaints. A bucket may contain just one word, like “ridiculous,” or a series of words and phrases. According to KPMG, in the insurance field, when a customer uses the word “ridiculous” on a customer service call, they are 80% more likely to switch insurers within 90 days, regardless of whether or not the customer service agent is sympathetic. Additional types of buckets may include:

• Repeat calls with the customer indicating they’ve called before. Possible phrases include “called earlier,” “spoke to someone yesterday,” “had to call back” and “called twice already.”

• Repeat calls with the customer indicating their issue is unresolved. Possible phrases include “keeps happening,” “hasn’t resolved it,” “having the same issue” and “never heard back.”

• Calls with complaining or dissatisfied customers. Possible phrases include “frustrating,” “annoying” and “you people.”

• Calls with agents who are not being helpful to the customer. Possible phrases include “that’s our policy” and “can’t give that information out.”

• Calls with happy customers who show their appreciation. Possible phrases include “you’ve been so helpful” and “thank you so much.”

Speech Analytics vs. Post-Call Surveys

Contact centers that have invested in advanced speech analytics software find that the process of identifying and measuring repeat calls is now quicker and more accurate than before. Post-calls surveys have long been a method of analyzing customer-agent conversations, but they’re known to have low participation rates. With speech analytics tools, contact centers can now be proactive when it comes to exploring problems and commonalties across conversations.

The Challenge of Customer Engagement in the New Digital Customer Journey

Today, we live in a multi-screen world. Shoppers worldwide are making purchases in a new way and smartphones now play a major role in the modern, digital customer journey. As a result, the customer engagement landscape is ever-evolving and fast-changing.

The challenge is that as soon as new digital channels become part of the journey, customers are already ready to begin interacting – and they expect a response. The main problem is this: customers want to stay involved and, when the brand is able to be responsive, those engaged customers end up bringing more revenue to the company. However, it’s highly challenging for businesses to meet those engagement demands, but ignoring customer needs is unacceptable.

Life is getting complex for customers, too. Some brands that have taken the steps to add new technology have so many communication channels that customers don’t know who to contact. There isn’t enough connection between marketing, sales and support teams. These departments don’t have any context about one another nor a method for letting the customer travel between them.

For a business to succeed in the customer journey, they need a variety of new technology, including:

• E-mail campaigns

• Inbound search strategy

• Location-specific solutions, like an app that shows inventory at a nearby store

Chat Strategy

• Mobile apps

• Modern contact center

• SEO policy

• Strategy for connecting with consumers on social media

• Way to stay connected with customers

These aspects of the brand’s strategy need to be synchronized, monitored and mapped in the journey. Plus, new digital channels and touch points have to continually be added to the strategy, including:

• App stores

• Customer communities

• Fan sites

• Mobile devices

• Social media accounts and pages

• Social networks

Mapping the customer journey in detail is helpful, so long as there are defined objectives. The following three techniques will help increase integration between digital touch points.

1. Engage the Customer

The main problem that today’s companies face when adding new digital channels to their strategy is that the customer expects the company to engage with them right away. While companies know there’s value in engaging, it doesn’t make it easier to do. Tools and policies should be in place so that brand advocates, including employees, partners and customers, can take on some of the work.

2. Simplify the Customer’s Life

Remove the time and effort a customer experiences when engaging with the brand. Modern companies are using things like concierge services and aggregators to help consumers’ access information quickly.

3. Solve a Problem

Get rid of a Pain Point. For example, give customers order status information on their desired channel. Let them participate in the design of a new product. Or, simply engage with customers who have complaints.

Satisfying the Mobile Customer During Micro-Moments

Brands can no longer consider mobile strategy to be insignificant. Today’s smartphone users check their phone almost immediately upon waking and they keep their device by their side for a majority of the day. Micro-moments, which are the crucial mobile moments of truth during the digital customer journey, influence purchase decisions.

The Four Types of Micro-Moments

1. I Want to Know: The consumer gathers information about a topic or product.

2. I Want to Go: The consumer wants to know where to go and when to go there for either an activity or to find a product.

3. I Want to Buy: The consumer gathers information about purchases, opinions, special deals, facts and comparisons regarding products or services. They may do this when they’re in the brick-and-mortar store.

4. I Want to Do: The consumer gathers how-to information on a variety of topics, like home repair or beauty techniques.

During these micro-moments, brands have the opportunity to serve the customer in three main ways:

1. Be present.

During the “I want to know” micro-moment, make sure it’s your brand’s information that shows up in search results. To do this, the metadata of your content (titles, descriptions, tags) must be optimized. Figure out which terms people are using when searching for the type of content you product. When developing your content, include information about your niche, not just your brand. Consumers often search for a category, not a specific company, when looking for a product or service. Your content should incorporate industry-specific trends, topics and events.

2. Be helpful.

Consumers prefer to choose brands that regularly provide them with helpful information, like how-to guides and unboxing videos. To generate content ideas that satisfy your “be helpful” goal, read comments on your own content or on the content of your competitors. This is where you’ll discover needs that have yet to be filled. What are people still trying to learn? What questions haven’t been answered yet? You can also straightforwardly ask your customers what they want. For example, send a poll or questionnaire to your mailing list to find out their most plaguing questions or what kind of content they’d like to see from you.

3. Be fast.

The purchase process a customer goes through has to be quick. If there are too many steps, they’ll go to another brand. Eliminate as many steps as possible and consider enabling one-click functionality. The opportunity to make a purchase should be obvious and at the beginning of your content.

Register for the Journey of the Connected Customer Virtual Conference to learn more about the Mobile Customer.

Customer Journey Mapping Techniques: Research and Behavioral

There are several different approaches to mapping the customer journey. Two popular techniques are research mapping, which involves voice of the customer data, and behavioral mapping, which determines the customer’s underlying reasons for taking certain actions.

In general, improving the current customer journey map follows four main stages. First, it’s necessary to create a framework that includes the standard stages of the journey that practically any customer and persona will go through, like making a purchase and requiring customer service support. Then, you need to map the current customer journey, including the various channels and touchpoints that different customer segments will experience. Next, you’ll have to create a future customer journey map that improves upon the current customer journey. Lastly, determine where the gaps are between the current and future customer journey maps and decide how to close those gaps.

How you create a future customer journey map and close the gaps will vary, depending on the approach you take.

Research Mapping

Voice of the customer research is used to determine if the current plotted customer journey is truthfully reflecting the actual customer experience. Both qualitative and quantitative research are used to create a prediction-based map. Voice of the customer data helps the brand plot both the current and the predicted performance at various touch points. These plot points, also called CX Curves, help determine the Moments of Truth, which are the instances when the customer has their greatest expectations. Pain Points are included in the Moments of Truth, referring to the times when the brand is performing at its lowest, especially if there’s a major gap between the customer’s expectations and the company’s performance. Voice of the customer data also helps the brand determine what drives certain behaviors, such as brand loyalty and repurchasing.

Behavior Mapping

For behavior customer journey mapping, a creative approach is taken, similar to storytelling. Touch points are assessed to determine what the customer is thinking, feeling and doing at those moments. With a behavioral science approach, customer journey mapping is based on both the behaviors of the customer and the reasons behind those behaviors. A narrative is created that details how various customer personas will behave throughout the journey. While behavioral mapping is used to design real life experiences, like when a customer enters a retail store, it’s also used for virtual settings and when the customer calls a contact center.

How to Use Voice of the Customer Technology

Voice of the customer tools are most effective when they consider the entire customer journey and all of the interactions that take place throughout. Before a voice of the customer program can be implemented, the contact center needs to determine what they’re going to measure and how the insight will result in improvements. Focus should be on easy-to-measure data that will drive benefits for the business. At the start of a new voice of the customer program, a baseline measurement should be taken to determine the current sentiment of customers.

Using Real-Time Data

Quick-fire surveys that are run when a call is wrapping up don’t focus on the entire customer journey. They’re subjective and reflect just the result of the call, not the rest of the journey or how the agent performed. Voice of the customer data collection should combine real-time feedback, speech analytics and monitoring; surveys; and call coaching that checks for compliance and quality assurance. The application that monitors post-call surveys should also provide the automatic call distributor and call recording technology. That way, the call and survey can be correlated.

Focusing on Multi-Channel Interaction

Vocal communications are just one of the ways that customers connect with brands. Multi-channel communications are what customers depend on most. Interaction has to be captured across a variety of platforms, including e-mail, web chat and social media. Capturing multi-channel data helps the contact center review the entire scope of engagement and evaluate behavioral patterns to determine where process improvements can be made. Voice of the customer data should be collected anywhere there’s customer contact, including all communication platforms and any departments that interact with the customer.

Responding to Poor Ratings

If a customer gives a poor rating on a post-call survey, they should be immediately contacted by an agent. Thanks to real-time response technology, unhappy or unsatisfied customers can be reached within minutes to have their problem solved. When customer survey responses aren’t measured in real time, brands aren’t able to quickly react to poor ratings, which can result in the customer going to a competitor the next time.

Voice of the customer data helps brands determine their customers’ expectations. With customer journey mapping, the brand can figure out where their processes are meeting up with – or leaving gaps between – customer expectations.

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping enhances the customer service you already deliver and improves the customer experience. Mapping works for all types of businesses, including B2B and B2C; retail products; and both online experiences and services. A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers take when engaging with your company. It’s the sum of the customer experience, not just a portion of the transaction.

The Basic Customer Journey Map A fundamental customer journey map will follow these steps: initial engagement; buying the product or service; using the product or service; sharing the experience with others; and completing the journey, often by upgrading or replacing the product or service. Every customer journey starts with the standard sales funnel: awareness, research, and purchase. In mapping, a new step is added: unboxing, the actual opening and using of the purchase. Brands should give their customers a positive out-of-the-box experience, which guides the customer through the first steps of using their purchase.

Customer Journeys Aren’t Linear The basic layout is a good place to start, but customer journeys aren’t always linear. Customers may go from awareness to purchase if they have a recommendation from someone they trust. Or they may get caught up in the research phase if they’re making an expensive purchase. One map isn’t enough – maps are needed for each scenario.

Analysis to Create a Customer Journey Map There are four basic areas of analysis for the customer journey: actions, motivations, questions, and obstacles. Actions: What is the customer doing at each step? What are they doing to move on to the next step? Motivation: Why is the customer motivated to proceed to the next step? What emotions are they experiencing? Questions and Obstacles: Are there any issues preventing the customer from going to the next step? Are there structural, cost, or process barriers? Are uncertainties causing the customer to buy from a competitor?

“Filling all these out is best done if grounded in customer research, preferably including in-depth ethnographic-style interviews and in-context observations. Surveys and focus groups tend to gloss over too many details that are critical to really understanding the experience.” – Adam Richardson, Harvard Business Review

In theory, you may know what your customers want. If they’re still shopping with your competitors, though, your business is lacking somewhere. A customer journey map can help you identify your customer service weak points.