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Article : The Customer’s Bottom Line

Delivering stellar self-service remains a high priority for many institutions. These days, it seems that an ever-increasing number of organizations flaunt their customer service capabilities on billboards, across the airways and in magazines. Yet, for all the attention given to service, a surprising number of consumers still express frustration when dealing with various self-service environments – from interactive voice response systems (IVR) to the web.

Like businesses, consumers have a bottom line; they want self-service done right the first time. Mike Trotter, executive director of the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University, recently noted that 82 percent of all self-service users will never return to a company's self-service channel if they fail to do what they want to the first time. For organizations, the key to keeping self-service customers happy and loyal lies in understanding how to best help them help themselves.

Understanding The Challenge
Enterprises' customer service infrastructures have had to adapt very quickly to accommodate a rapidly growing market and the escalating volumes of customer interactions. Many of these customers rely on self-service options for convenient, hassle-free solutions to their banking needs.

In fact, customer interaction volumes can increase tremendously from month to month. The demand for new products and services results in an increase in application changes to self-service systems. These circumstances have caused a continuous increase in the volume of calls and interactions that are directed to live agents rather than being handled in self-service. Without daily visible insight into the quality of the customer interactions in each service channel, an organization cannot effectively prioritize its roadmap for delivering the highest level of customer service and value to the business.

For example, when businesses cannot see what their customers are doing in the voice channels (IVR and Speech), they don't have a clear way of knowing how to improve the customer experience and remain in the dark as to inefficiencies within the system. They also don't know why callers hang up, only to call back moments later and zero-out to a live customer service agent – an action that greatly increases the overall cost of service to the organization. Unfortunately, without a way of understanding customer interactions within self-service environments, organizations cannot confidently plan how to keep their customers serving themselves successfully.

The Customer Viewpoint
Businesses cannot read the minds of their customers, but perhaps the next best thing is to "see" exactly how customers behave within various self-service environments. An effective way of gaining this knowledge is by continually measuring and studying "customer touches", start-to-finish, across all interactive service channels to quantify the effect of these behaviors on the business and quality of service.

The right solution should deliver a single, cross channel behavioral analytics environment that can model, monitor and analyze step-by-step customer behavior in and across the IVR, Web, agents' CRM desktop and other future self-service channels offered. The solution should also aggregate behavior so that the 'most dominant paths' taken by customers are easily identified, so that issues having the biggest impact on service or cost can be prioritized.

Through this view, the organization gains a holistic picture of the customer's experience, providing insights into causes of costly drop-offs and inefficient navigation. Over time, ongoing behavioral analysis will continue to provide deeper understanding of customer expectations for these systems. Armed with this data, institutions can make the necessary changes to their self-service platforms, improving the overall customer experience.

Adding Value To The Customer's Bottom Line
Clearly, today's customers want convenient ways to self-serve. Providing a solution that helps the organization better understand and meet their customers' self-service expectations yields richer relationships and overall customer satisfaction.

The right solution gives organizations the ability to manage, track, measure and improve customer touches across all service channels, improve self-service containment rates which translate into significant cost savings by meeting customer needs in automation, and increased ability to provide proactive services to customers based on past behavior and preferences.

Today's Tip of the Day - Keep Cost In Perspective

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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