We recently completed an analytics project for a major insurer, and in that process learned a number of key lessons regarding insights gained in call centres. Many of these lessons were validating our research findings that we discovered through the development of our Customer Experience and Retention White Paper which was published in May this year.
As a medical doctor who has now moved into the business of ‘healing’ organizations, I found that you can check on the pulse of an organization through the behaviour of front line staff and the interactions within an organisation’s call centre. In many ways the call centre is much like the skin of the human body, being the major touch point with the external environment of an organization.
In conducting our work, there are 7 key issues we found that limited the ability of call centres to serve its customers, particularly from an insights perspective. Here are some of our findings or ‘calamities’ as we call them.
1. The vast majority of all call centre analytics and KPI’s are quantitative, leaving out the ‘WHY’ customers behave the way they do. They also often leave out the ‘WHY’ these problems are occurring and recurring, thereby missing the opportunities on how to solve them with more targeted customer experience solutions.
2. Existing qualitative categorization of calls is largely basic and only mention a top line reason for the call e.g. ‘Billing’. Front-line staff do not have the time to record any deeper reasoning e.g. ‘Billing delay, fraud, refund requested, wrong billing, bill not paid, etc’.
3. Reasons for the call are merely structured to one or two high levels only and not distilled into sub themes or root causes of customer issues. An example may be that billing delay was due to website down-time on that day due to a virus attack.
4. Call centre teams cannot easily identify actionable insights that arise from customer frustrations, contradictions, conflicts, and interrelationships between causes. They are too busy trying to deal with the immediate issue, with immediate tools are their disposable.
5. Call centre agents are not always incentivised to make improvements within the centre particularly with an outsourcing centres, which can influence customer feedback loops. Whilst this is not always the case, some call centres are not incentivised to reduce call volumes to achieve efficiencies.
6. Frontline agents have variable understanding of codes, often leading to inconsistent coding amongst them.
7. Voice-to-text tools can be useful however many are limited by their transcription accuracy and ability to analyse the depth of insights from customer conversations. For example, a 80% transcription accuracy rate (which may seem high), could still translate to “Hello, I am calling about my will (bill) which I received late (eight) days ago’.
What we’ve discovered is that these above limitations can severely limit the organization’s ability to respond and improve customer experience and get to the root cause of why customers are leaving them. Often manual labour is extensively required in the form of consultants or internal staff to analyse this issues and solve the problems.
In our learnings from this project as well as Customer Experience and Retention White Paper, we have found that tools like Pensensic are able to as attain deep insights from customer conversations by analysing the conversation in a text format and ascertaining the root cause in an automated fashion. This saves time, money, frustrations on behalf of frontline staff and customers as well as provides senior management with a more targeted approach to solving customer issues.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you’ve come across the above 7 issues in your experience with customer call centres.
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Dr Avi specialises in insights and strategies to improve patient and customer experience.
Contact: +61 2 8091 0918