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Customers have a choice where they do business. And much of that choice depends on their experience—every experience—with your company. They don’t categorize your company as separate departments (sales, customer care, support, etc.). They see you as one company, one brand.
Interactions have changed, making omni-channel customer service a necessary part of life. You need to make sure your outsourcing provider can service your customers in their channel of choice anytime, anywhere, across any device.
Driving the Omni-Channel Customer Experience Every Time
MOVE FROM A CHANNEL-CENTRIC TO AN EXPERIENCE-CENTRIC APPROACH
Today’s tech-savvy customers are reaching out to your contact center using a variety of channels, such as phone, email, chat, video—the list just keeps growing.
According to Ovum, 25 percent of consumers on average use at least two channels when seeking customer care, while 52 percent utilize three to four channels. How many times have we all used a chat feature on a website while shopping, only to be interrupted by kids, dinner and work? When we resume the experience later that night or the next day, we want to pick up where we left off and not start the process all over again. That’s omni-channel from the customer point of view.
Customers don’t view their journey as a channel; they look at it from the objective of what they are trying to accomplish. The last thing customers would want to do is start a conversation in one channel and repeat the information when they switch to another.
Customers are moving quickly, and whether they begin their journey at home and then transition to the car, they expect the channel to shift seamlessly with them. For example, a customer logs into the customer support section of your website. After clicking under a certain product heading for a few minutes, a proactive chat box opens, offering assistance. Once the customer clicks on Yes, she is greeted by a live agent who recognizes her either as an existing customer (the log-in information is matched to the customer’s account in the enterprise database); a fairly current customer (who purchased a product two months ago based on warranty information in the database); and a customer who has been online in a certain product section of your site (based on tracking software on your website that is integrated into the CRM). Giving your agents access to the collated information starts the phone call on a positive note.
An omni-channel approach to customer service closely reflects how customers really behave. It helps you engage in real-time contextual conversations and initiate the right action based on customer context, preferences and needs. Your omni-channel environment should be designed to provide customers the ability to switch between channels seamlessly, while delivering a consistent brand experience.
The omni-channel approach has been proven to drive loyalty and revenues. According to Aberdeen Group, delivering a seamless experience can give enterprises over 7 percent lift in customer retention rates. The same report stated that companies with “strong omni-channel customer engagement saw a 9.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4 percent for weak omni-channel companies.”
ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVE: INCREASE BRAND LOYALTY
In an omni-channel world, you want your customers’ experiences to be effortless, personalized, and efficient to make conducting business with you on the whole easier. To support your goal of increasing brand loyalty, these suggestions on working with your outsourcing provider will help to implement best business practices:
- Drive consistent messages across all channels, both inbound and outbound—all roads lead to the same goal regardless of the channel.
- Empower your agents by providing technology and performance enhancement tools to support the seamless omni-view and productivity.
- Give agents access to data across all channels so they have a 360-degree view of the customer relationship and can deliver consistent customer experiences throughout the customer’s journey and lifetime.
- Incorporate analytics into business processes to enable relevant and meaningful conversations with customers and prospects. This knowledge will help predict customer intent and provide tailored responses to inquiries, sometimes even before the customer knows she has a question.
The foundation for delivering omnichannel customer experience includes technology, access to data, and advanced analytics tools and capabilities that provide your enterprise real-time and predictive insights into what your customers want. To help customers achieve their objectives in real time, departmental systems across the organization must be automated with algorithmic logic to deliver “neurally” and appropriately to complete their overall experience.
Customers’ needs are ever-changing as they mature and evolve throughout their lifetime. By following the best practices, you’ll have powerful insights into every potential touch point within the customer lifecycle that drives customer experience, brand loyalty, and revenues. Is your outsourcing partner able to capture all of those customer interactions and Big Data arising through multiple channels to present an omnichannel experience for your customers? One hopes so! Otherwise, you’ll be looking for new customers. We all have to face the fact that in today’s world, defection and retention is just one click away.
Is your outsourcing partner able to capture all of those customer interactions and Big Data arising through multiple channels to present an omnichannel experience for your customers?
Share your views with us at email@example.com or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: September 18, 2015 5:00 AM
The sexier projects in the marketing analytics space today focus on predictive modeling, lifetime value, and segmentation. However, a crucial topic needed to understand marketing performance and ROI revolves around testing with control groups. Testing, from simple A/B designs to elaborate multivariate fractional factorial designs, is critical when marketers want to measure their success. Yet many agencies aren’t measuring performance correctly.
“Old School” Performance Measurement
Let’s look at the automotive world. Direct marketing campaigns with discounted service offers are sent on the dealer’s behalf and any and all service activity following the mail date is attributed to the campaign. The issue with this is that a large portion of these “responding” customers would have serviced their vehicle regardless of the direct mail campaign. Some customers aren’t looking for a special from their dealers, they’re simply the loyal portion of a dealer’s customer base that services their vehicles on a regular basis. Taking credit for their service is severely overestimating the performance of the campaign. In fact, a typical marketing ROI in this environment is well over $150 (for every $1 spent in marketing, $150 is generated). These ROIs are simply not realistic.
“New School” Measuring True Market Performance With Control Groups
A simple, yet more accurate, methodology involves the introduction of the control group. When properly implemented, marketers can measure the true impact of their campaigns. However, with this more precise measurement, there will be a drastic reduction in measured performance, and a cultural shift will need to be made within the organization. Marketers who are used to seeing ROIs of $150 will have to accept true marketing ROIs of $2. Although much more accurate, these new ROIs may be tough to explain to executives who are used to the three digit outcomes.
The following is an example of a campaign where a control group helps measure the true performance of marketing.
A large collection of dealers are interested in mailing a brake service postcard with accompanying coupons to customers most likely needing brake replacement. One-hundred thousand customers are identified for this campaign. Traditional marketing would move forward and mail to all 100,000 customers. Those who came in for service during the established response window, would be counted as responders. Instead, we’ve decided to randomly select and hold 10,000 customers from the original 100,000 list. These 10,000 customers share the same profile as the remaining 90,000 customers due to the random selection. From this point, we mail the 90,000 customers in the “test” group and compare their performance to the 10,000 customers in the “control group” who didn’t receive the mail campaign. An interesting phenomenon will occur. Over the course of a 60-day response window, we can watch both the test group and the control group service their vehicles (one group pushed by marketing and another group servicing naturally).
The chart below illustrates the true incremental impact of marketing by comparing the cumulative service rates for the test group and control group. As the graph shows, in the first 30-days there was very little difference between the two groups, indicating that the marketing campaign was not very effective. However, during the second 30-days, the test group had a measureable lift over the control group. After the 60-day response window concluded, we see that the mail group generated a response rate of more than 25% vs. the test group response rate of only 20% (a 5 point difference). Without the control group, a marketer would say that the campaign was successful at bringing in 25% of the mailed population and generating an ROI of $150. However, now the marketer can say that fice percent of the population mailed (25% - 20%) serviced their brakes precisely because of the campaign and generated a much more accurate ROI of $2.50.
Measuring ROI Correctly in Direct Marketing
By implementing control groups with every test, direct marketers are able to measure the true impact of their campaigns. Rather than focusing on achieving the highest response rates, marketers should concentrate on achieving the highest incremental lift over control groups, which is the true impact of marketing on sales. A high response rate will not tell you whether or not your efforts were responsible for that success. Only lift over control will provide an indication of impact. Using the true ROI impact will guide the best use of marketing dollars to drive revenues.
In today’s competitive landscape, marketers need to be savvier in determining which initiatives are actually working. Although the concept of control groups is an old one, few marketers are actually putting them into practice. Without this precision, they are vastly overestimating the impact of their campaigns, which may be leading to ill-informed decisions about where to focus resources next.
Tell us how your marketing teams measure campaign success. Are you using control groups to test effectiveness?
Share your views with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: August 26, 2015 5:00 AM
Consider the following contact center scenario.
Janet, a mobile consumer, calls her telecom provider and lands at the Contact Center.
Janet: Your network connectivity is poor in the Dukes and 53rd area. I keep dropping business calls when I commute through it every day.
Advisor: Thank you for the location details. Is there any specific time of the day that you notice this more often? ...The advisor goes through a script to elicit information about the problem. She then asks Janet if she could help her with anything else.
Janet: Oh yes! I need to know more about your A-Plus business package.
Advisor: (Explains the features and plans of this value-added service.) Can I sign you up? It will take only a minute. Janet confirms her order.)
Advisor: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Janet: Yes, there is one more thing. I am approaching the end of my present subscription and my phone is almost two years old. I’m wondering what my options are. Maybe I’ll upgrade to the .But I hear that you need a micro-SIM card, while my present phone uses the larger SIM card.
The advisor helps Janet with details of the new phone, SIM card and plan options. She also gives Janet the link to the online channel where she can upgrade and informs her that she will email the names of the distribution partners available in the local area where she can evaluate phones and sign up.
Using the previous example, this article will examine the role of data in customer experience management in contact centers through three different prisms.
HARNESSING DATA FOR LONG-TERM PROCESS EXCELLENCE
A process excellence approach to business seeks to answer how the building blocks of your value chain are working. In the above example with Janet, after her interaction with the advisor, the Contact Center needed to initiate some important service delivery or follow-up actions.
The information regarding her problems with signal quality has to be passed on to field operations. Then, the sales department needs to get an email off to Janet listing local partner options in her neighborhood. There can easily be slips through the cracks due to poor process handovers.
Traditionally, data has been used in contact centers to investigate how existing processes are working. Are they operating to design? This is a change-oriented approach, where a Black Belt collects data and studies call metrics, using DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analzye, Improve, Control) methodology and tools, like business assessment and value chain mapping to understand where tweaking a process is necessary for different/desired results. The value additions come from process engineering after detailed data analysis.
Contact center technologies, like switch and interactive voice response (IVR), have long provided the detailed voice of the process (VOP) data needed to undertake such (relatively large-scale and, therefore, not frequent) Six Sigma interventions. Such projects aim to make long-term changes, such as to rework processes to deliver better products or redesign workflows for more efficient service delivery.
Also, tools like speech analytics provide information on actual customer needs and sentiment from their calls, forming the voice of the customer (VOC). Together, they form rich sources of customer information for process excellence initiatives for sales, marketing, product development, operations/manufacturing, procurement and finance departments.
Looking at Process Excellence, Real-Time Analytics and Automated Mass Personalization as Doors to Harness Your Data? If Not, Think Again!
USING DATA TO INJECT REAL-TIME PROCESS EFFICIENCIES
The second role of these data sources is in actual operations. Contact centers routinely mine data for (relatively) immediate needs, like quality measurement for advisor training, and call forecasting for staff and schedule optimization.
By looking at the constant flow of process data, operations leaders are able to respond to call trends changing throughout the day/week in near real-time. What is important to note, however, is that now it is also possible to react to micro-trends that are easily missed on the operations floor due to everyone’s preoccupation with actual service delivery. With advanced dashboards and analytics, monitoring data in real-time allows you to focus on the data itself.
For instance, even a remote command center can see that a contact center in Manila, Phillipines, is deploying excess staff three weeks after a new product launch. While some staffing was increased to manage an expected rise in call volumes with the launch, more advisors are now being deployed owing to an increased average handle time (AHT) situation as well. Meantime, the center in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, needs to bring in more staff given the projections on call volumes due to the snow expected from a severe cold front approaching Southern Ontario and Michigan. With the command-center paradigm, analysis, decisions and actions can happen in real-time or near real-time to keep output efficiencies up. Somebody’s looking at the data!
Some command centers, for example, provide real-time analysis and recommendations to contact centers around the globe, to help customer service operations make informed decisions quickly. While process excellence teams may take a more holistic approach to driving process results, the command center fills in with actionable insights to create better transaction-level outcomes.
As workplaces becoming more responsive, real-time and event-based, there is a perpetually greater need for “clean” data for accurate analysis and decision making. This is not easy, given the multiple sources of data and their variety, volume and velocity. To ensure accuracy, companies must build in best practices for data warehousing and data management, which at the very least require specialized expertise, skill sets and the right tools.
LEVERAGING DATA TO PROACTIVELY DELIVER PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Many businesses deal with millions of calls such as Janet’s every year. Would Janet rate the service and the advisor as “good” if she took a customer satisfaction survey? It appears the advisor did well; contact centers train their advisors to ask the right questions, solve problems and upsell from the portfolio.
Apart from Janet’s service problem, however, which the telecom company can analyze to improve its product, it appears that there were some missed opportunities.
The third role that data can play is in enabling intelligent business operations. Real-time command centers can help operations routinely be more proactive in managing overall business by deploying algorithmic systems that are automatically initiated by rules-based triggers. Automating workflows across the enterprise can leverage prescriptive analytics to minimize human dependencies and yet deliver highly targeted actions. Let’s see how:
Customer call patterns: How do customers’ calls correlate to product or service performance if calls peak at specific times of the day? Can your advisor knowledge bases be truly “intelligent” and provide troubleshooting recommendations? Can they decide that a survey needs to be rolled out to quickly gather more information about the product problem?
Drivers of customer satisfaction scores: Contact centers have transaction and VOC data that contribute significantly to a company’s customer satisfaction ratings and point to the underlying drivers of your customers’ perceptions. Are smart engines feeding recommendations and predictive analytics to operations and sales leadership by analyzing transaction data and customer feedback? For example, modeling can help identify customers that are a “flight risk” by mapping dissatisfaction from various sources of contact center data.
Personalized customer engagement: Do you map customer experiences along their multi-touch journey to develop product usage or customer history profiles? These could again be algorithmically built into prompting your advisors with relevant, customized “packages” that they can walk customers through while on the phone.
Ostensibly, Janet offered the telecom company two opportunities: 1) to sell more to her (the A-Plus package) and 2) to retain her business when her present contract expires. Her call to the contact center, however, seems to indicate that it has information systems operating in isolation from each other. While the advisor signed her up for the value-added package, she missed an opportunity to renew Janet’s contract (the larger opportunity given the telecom marketplace). Also, she gave Janet the online channel’s URL over the phone (did Janet write it down?) without closing the deal, which means that Janet’s business is still open to poaching by the competition. But that’s not all!
The accuracy of any automated algorithm will depend on the quality of data curation and mining. The missed opportunities with Janet could arise from the fact that the enterprise today deals with structured and unstructured data types that need to be combined, contrasted and analyzed to arrive at the “big picture.” This needs to cover all process building blocks and handoffs, all customer touch points, and all sources of the diverse data flowing through the enterprise. Predictive analytics then help a business identify customer patterns and pain areas, which they may not articulate on their calls (unsaid needs), but fully expect to be educated about or understood as part of your service.
BLEND PROCESS EXCELLENCE, REAL-TIME ANALYTICS AND PROACTIVE ALGORITHMIC WORKFLOWS
More importantly, the information that Janet’s two-year contract is coming up for renewal should have popped up on the advisor’s screen when she was assigned Janet’s incoming call. Believe it or not, many contact centers do not have the ability to feed such crucial information, along with the options, to make a personalized offer that is more likely seal the deal on the spot.
Given their history, data-driven actions in contact centers tend to focus on process efficiencies or product problems, both reactive in their basic nature of application. But today’s customers have many options and they don’t need to wait given their access to various social, mobile and cloud technologies. In a customer’s omni-channel journey with a company, a contact center could fail to deliver to its potential as one of the most important customer touch points that has been invested in.
Assuming Janet’s conversation is typical, then all three uses of contact center data must be brought together in a harmonious blend to achieve business results:
Use the VOC and VOP to evaluate continued process efficiencies in the long term. Process excellence teams can use Six Sigma methodologies, analyze what is controllable and non-controllable, and reengineer processes to ensure improvements of operational efficiencies for clients. Deploy real-time analytics to garner operational insights that help a company take quick action. Contact centers can leverage dashboards, recommendations and real-time insights from transactions to help client programs manage their objectives and metrics on a day-to-day basis. Enable a level of data-driven insights that not only allows an organization to see a line of business intimately, but also to understand the business’ drivers. Integrate back-end and front-end systems to enable the design of seamless and automated workflows. This could produce more opportunities to engage with customers proactively, even before they call the contact center. For example, how about connecting with Janet with a personalized offer to renew her subscription with options of the latest devices, payment terms and a direct sign-up on the phone – even before she calls in her service problem?
The most critical challenge is the access to “all” of the data. This is a distant dream in many corporations, where vast quantities of data remain locked in silos/departments/partners, generated by different platforms and from various switches/servers/databases. With poorly managed or nonexistent enterprise-wide codes for variables being measured, they are unable to integrate the data infrastructure and common storage into a robust, speedy data warehouse. Contact centers and their back offices/management must be able to access structured and unstructured data with equal ease and speed – to generate the algorithmic triggers or alerts from prescriptive or predictive analytics.
Combining the use of data across long-term, real-time and proactive needs provides a win-win for all contact center stakeholders. Use this data to garner actionable insights that help a company realize competitive advantage through enhanced customer experience.
Are you looking for actionable insights generated by data for your long-term, real-time and proactive business needs?
Share your views with us at email@example.com or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: July 24, 2015 5:00 AM
At our Manila office, we’ve developed a gamification module for a direct marketing client that sells beauty and wellness products across the US. This module aims to improve key operational measures including sales conversion, quality score, and talk time. The goal is to increase sales for the client’s products delivered through highly motivated and engaged advisors who convey the client’s unique brand experience. The same module is now being used for a leading telecom client in the US.
Are You Gathering Applications for Cross Pollination Across Industries?
Technology, tools and platforms, process framework, and innovative ideas should not be restricted to a single industry or vertical. There is a great deal of commonality across industries, and with the right amount of knowledge and domain expertise, they can easily find an application across industries.
Business Challenges Across Industries Are the Same! Oftentimes, So Are the Solutions
It’s possible to apply the Pareto principle (80–20 rule) to business challenges. Across industries and verticals, approximately 80% of the challenges faced by enterprises are similar, and 20% are unique to that industry or company. Some of the common challenges are revenue and profitability achievements, market insight, customer satisfaction, customer retention, cost reduction, operational and resource productivity, supply chain efficiency, and competitive differentiation. We have categorized these into five key client needs: Adaptability & Flexibility, Business Sustainability, Customer Experience, Business Insight, and Enterprise Productivity.
Chances are, a solution for one category of issues is applicable to clients facing similar issues in another industry. For example, our experience in the high tech industry tells us that customers between the ages of 16–30 are constantly looking up devices that help them post, share, capture, create, and consume social content more easily. This insight has helped us create one of the most successful telematics solutions in partnership with a leading auto OEM to inform, engage, and motivate vehicle owners to try, subscribe, and purchase additional telematics and infotainment services and subscriptions. Another example is workforce management. The Minacs Workforce Management model begins with forecasting to predict arrival patterns and hourly details. Then, based on the requirement, we determine staffing, schedule the talent pool and, using real-time tracking, ensure we stay on point. This model has worked across verticals with all our clients and is foundational to every successful operation.
Internal Cross Pollination
Cross pollination doesn’t have to occur only externally. Cross pollination between teams and departments can result in very positive outcomes. At Minacs, we’ve created playbooks that outline our service delivery framework. The objective of our playbooks is to standardize the way we work across our 35 global sites, enabling us to codify the learning and results for best practice sharing. The playbooks also allow each site the flexibility to define operational structure based on their particular nuances. Over our nearly 40-year existence, we have found that having this strong foundation helps us drive best-in-class performance and innovation across the enterprise. Some of the benefits are:
- Shared vision and alignment with overall framework for operational excellence at the site and functional levels.
- Streamlining of processes, roles, and activities at each site providing continuous clarity and direction.
- Seamless communication between site heads and functional heads for resolving issues and partnering on key decisions.
- Defining of and adherence to clear performance management approaches including goal-setting exercises, review mechanisms, and performance appraisals.
- Informed decisions resulting in improved return on investments.
Training is another area where we can standardize certain modules that will be useful across industries. The customers, their needs, and the processes of how to engage, understand, and empathize with their issues remain the same. Analytical models, which are used to predict customer behavior, and algorithmic logic, which enables us to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time in real time, have been used across industries to enable intelligent business operations.
Cross Pollination: The Way Ahead
We support a leading automotive client with telematics subscription marketing, billing, and a host of other services. We recently implemented the same solution with a telecom player. We achieved this in a shorter time to market, and it also helped us leverage the learning and best practices to deliver competitive advantage. Customers across different verticals are often similar; the business challenges enterprises face are the same; and often the tools, technology, and frameworks available are the same. What differs is one’s ability to adapt the model with new variables and deliverables, the very same variables and deliverables that will change and evolve at a much faster pace than ever before.
Share your views with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: July 10, 2015 5:00 AM
At a restaurant, the couple next to me wasn’t happy with the meal served. The lady took out her phone and started posting on a social media site ... Familiar?
This era is of the social customer ... unafraid to use her voice. She understands the relative shifting of influence, and the vulnerability of Big Business. The social medium is instant and responsive, and positions businesses willy-nilly in places where potential customers already exist.
Social CRM Strategy: Listen-Engage-Analyze-Resolve
For businesses that incorporate social media as part of their omni-channel CRM programs, keeping up with social conversations is a two-fold process: You need a social CRM strategy, including relevant technologies, to ensure your social engagement with the customer. Second, you need a social customer service strategy that integrates your contact center and marketing or corporate communications department to not only address customer complaints, but do so holistically aligned with your brand experience objectives.
Also, if your social customer service strategy does not aim at integration of the social sphere with problem resolution, it’s bound to fail. A precise social customer service “solution” would pick up the initial social thread and seamlessly convert it into a one-on-one interaction, for example with a Listen-Engage-Analyze-Resolve approach (as we do at Minacs) for a successful customer experience outcome.
LISTEN IN TO SOCIAL CONVERSATION!
After the diner had posted her comment, an executive at the restaurant chain’s corporate office “heard” of it and wanted the unit manager to take care of it immediately.
In the social space, the customer expresses disappointment, or happiness, on social media. Apart from lost revenues, ignoring social chatter can result in negative social sentiment that influences other customers, prospects, and the public! But how do you keep up with these conversations? And where does your contact center come into play?
Social media centers listen into conversations about your firm, products, brands, competitors, or even special interest areas for you across social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even blogs. Social complaints are categorized and prioritized for action and resolution.
ANALYZE THE ISSUE WITH SOCIAL TOOLS!
With the diner’s complaint now in the public domain, the restaurant’s management, after tracking her comment, understood the negative impact it would have on their business.
Businesses that evaluate social customer care experiences are three times more likely to retain their customers. This requires an analytics component to your implementation, and you need to configure it to filter and categorize the social mentions to recognize sentiment and trends. Tag the opportunities found upon analysis of mentions. They provide you with deep insights into customer behavior and allow you to adopt escalation procedures when issues need immediate attention.
Understanding customer aspirations and their business impact help you to draft an approach that identifies and predicts the types of customer behavior and their “unintended outcomes.” Social listening and sentiment analysis tools can be used to analyze the data being generated through customers’ and influencers’ social interactions.
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT IS THE KEY!
Within 20 minutes, the manager was at the diner’s table, apologizing for the issue even after the waiter had apologized.
Though technology drives customer service, human and organizational factors must be evaluated. They still play an important role in engaging customers, where the key is to engage with customers in their channel of choice. Your strategy needs to move customers from generic, many-to-many social conversations to one-on-one, personalized engagements to solve problems quickly.
Social advisors need to engage customers by responding to their posts. If that requires escalation or multi-department facilitation, businesses should route communications and coordinate resolution with appropriate departments. Based on need, the social analysts or advisors in the social command center (listening and analyzing post) will transfer a case over to advisors in the contact center to facilitate such resolution.
RESOLUTION ACHIEVES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION!
The manager removed the meal from the bill, comped the couple’s meals, and gave them a gift certificate for another visit. Generously, the diner agreed to take her negative post off social media. She probably narrated the restaurant’s response as well!
By paying attention to conversations in the social space, you resolve issues early. Apart from reducing costs associated with repeat contacts, timely resolution ensures sustained excellence in customer experience. A 360-degree, omni-channel strategy combines social strategy, technology, analytics, execution, and people into a 24x7 customer service operation.
Top Social CRM Statistics
An integrated social-to-contact-center solution means we take such conversations off social channels to provide the appropriate level of attention and problem-solving customer service to drive resolution. Contact centers need omni-channel engagement capabilities that provide the scale to open one-on-one communication channels with customers. But they should also be able to provide the required customer care, requiring seamless cross-departmental workflow automation and the ability to respond to socially-posted complaints.
YOU’VE CRAFTED THE SCIENCE ... NOW HONE THE ART!
CRM systems in contacts centers play an important role in delivering social customer service. Social CRM must be one component of your overall social customer service strategy. The CRM solution should utilize analytics information integrated to provide business intelligence solutions. Quite simply, “look out” to listen, “understand” to analyze, “decide” to engage, and “address” to resolve!
For an effective social customer service solution, you need to ask: Do we have well-trained, dedicated experts for our contact center program who can monitor social exposure daily and meet customer needs? Does our solution apply First Contact Resolution principles to resolve customer issues early to help reduce costs, not to mention the long-term and lasting impact to reputation? Does the solution monitor our social accounts and brand mentions across the world?
After all, 140 characters is all it takes to make, or mar, a reputation!
What is your social customer service strategy? Do you track customer comments in the social space to manage your reputation in the online and offline space?
Share your views with us at email@example.com or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: June 24, 2015 5:00 AM
To provide world-class service is always a challenge, primarily in the customer-facing industry where standards change frequently and the bar of excellence continues to rise at a rapid pace. I love using the adjective “world-class.” When one of our prospects asked, “How do you define world-class?” Our definition is that world-class companies strive to “excite” their customers by providing outstanding customer experiences across different channels.
Machine Learning Can Aid Real-Time Contact Centers
Being world class requires constant innovation. It involves using increasingly sophisticated technologies to determine customer preference, needs, and expectations so that companies deliver exactly what each customer wants, in her channel of choice, and at her preferred time.
MACHINE LEARNING: THE MISSING PIECE IN YOUR ANALYTICS PUZZLE
World-class companies use data and analytics to improve services. However, they rely heavily on understanding and assessing “customer perception,” because that is the reality that determines their response and actions. Customer perception and statistics are more often misaligned; hence customer-centric companies have started to leverage machine learning as an approach to bridge the gap.
Machine learning, coined by Arthur Samuel in 1959, gives you the ability to acquire knowledge directly from the data (or the data from sensors) and acting in real-time using automated workflows and triggers to activate human agent responsiveness helping you resolve customer problems. An interesting facet of machine learning is its iterative aspect of learning—models do not get smarter by themselves, they learn from previous models, trends, and computations to generate reliable and repeatable results. It’s not a new science, but it is gaining fresh momentum.
For example, each customer journey is unique. Imagine a platform that can quickly extract and apply insights about your each customer’s experiences in real time to ensure every future interaction with her is fulfilling, fruitful, and profitable.
FOUR CUSTOMER-CRITICAL DATA FROM MACHINE LEARNING WE DON’T USE
How do we translate machine learning to use cases so that we can proactively solve customers’ issues and communicate actionable items to them?
- Phone conversations often recorded but rarely analyzed for new revenue opportunities. The Internet opened online communication channels between customers and enterprises, but companies have struggled to exploit the unstructured customer data they receive. Often, enterprises ignore 90–98% of actionable customer insights because they lack the process, technology, and the applications to capture, analyze, and leverage "unstructured" sources of customer communications, rich with information and feedback.
- Leveraging characteristics of data, structured as well as unstructured, to determine possible churn of customers. We can make service or product adjustment and reach out to churners to improve the Life Time Value (LTV) of customers.
- Smart offers, proposals, and recommendations depending on what makes customers buy and not buy. Leverage algorithmic logic and automation to build a matrix of “personalizable” offers, using various combinations of product mix and services that can avoid customer churn, promote cross-sell and up-sell, and increase the size of customer wallet.
- Leverage customers’ past behaviors through historical interaction, social media data, and browsing history. This using advanced analytics determines the likelihood of up-selling, cross selling, channel optimization, or re-activation of services.
MACHINE LEARNING: THE KEY TO ELEVATE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Machine learning further opens up doors to more personalized conversations with customers and prospects. It leverages all data—structured, unstructured—across enterprise silos to present a truly 360-degree view of the customer to users.
Today, there are only a handful of companies that are tapping this rich customer information base. And if you’re in the business of delighting your customers, this should be a top agenda item to elevate your customer experience.
How do you define a world-class company? Is your company leveraging machine learning to enhance customer experience?
Share your views with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: June 10, 2015 5:00 AM
Opening Ceremony at the Jamaica Investment Forum 2015
With 400+ attendees and 70+ speakers, the Jamaica Investment Forum was an ideal platform to discover the growing opportunities for businesses looking to enter or increase their presence in Jamaica. Minacs Blogs spoke to our Customer Experience Management expert for the region, Heather Littlejohns, and discovered several key themes emerging firsthand during the 2-day event from current players in the country.
- Information-Communication-Technology (ICT) and BPO are the fastest growing industries and investment opportunities in Jamaica; $230 million in revenues is estimated annually and growing!
- Jamaican authorities outlook towards international investment in the country is warm and supportive.
- The Jamaican talent pool’s depth and breadth is ready and clearly able to take on globally outsourced work, given levels of both education and availability of skilled labor.
1. WHAT WERE THE HOT TOPICS AT THE JAMAICA INVESTMENT FORUM?
Commitment to a competitive business environment! Jamaica improved from 58/189 to 85/189 (Doing Business Report ) in the past year, due to several reforms specifically designed to promote a business-friendly environment via the Business Environment Reform Agenda (BERA).
Creation of a skilled workforce is a key priority here. Fifty percent of the workforce is between the ages of 25-44; 22% of students attending post-secondary schools graduate every year. The government has created the HEART program (Human Employment and Resource Training), which encourages BPO providers to collaborate directly with it to create the necessary curriculums for their business needs.
Another top agenda for participants has been to learn from local success stories driven by foreign investment. There have been many discussions on the sidelines after we heard how businesses, like Sandals, Appleton Estates Rum, and VistaPrint, have flourished by investing in Jamaican culture; leveraging the brand (music, pride, athletics, rum, beaches, sun); making a commitment to youth through education programs; and giving people a goal to work towards.
2. WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT ATTENDEES WERE TALKING ABOUT?
How big can Jamaica really grow? What is the true size of the labor pool, given all the business initiatives where workers will be in demand? These were some of the discussions. The government here is taking steps and making commitments to ensure that long-term educational initiatives are in place for generations entering the workforce. It is planning for the future to sustain Jamaica’s viability in the global outsourcing market.
3. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU SEE IN JAMAICA THAT MINACS AND OUR CLIENTS ARE BENEFITING FROM?
Jamaican culture is exceptionally service-oriented, which is why it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Providing superior customer service is engrained in the culture, so it is a natural fit for a BPO vendor looking to provide superior customer service.
Jamaicans have a very strong work ethic as well and look for opportunities that allow innovation. It is their hard work that ensures that North American business objectives are achieved. Being located in the eastern time zone is also convenient for North American enterprises looking for near shore outsourcing options.
4. DID YOU PERSONALLY TAKE AWAY ANYTHING FROM ATTENDING THE EVENT?
I took away the reinforcement that Jamaica is a viable BPO destination and that the government at the highest level is committed to growth and support in our industry. The Jamaican people have a vibrant culture, rich and diverse history, and a desire to be business leaders in the Caribbean. Much like our Minacs culture, the Jamaican people willing to go “above and beyond” to provide the best service possible. And that really is the Minacs Way.
Are you thinking about moving some of your operations to a near shore location? What factors are important to you?
Share your views with us at email@example.com or tweet @MinacsGroup
Publish Date: May 12, 2015 5:00 AM
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