Leveraging analytics to ensure superior customer service

By harnessing data, companies can better understand their customers, provide more tailored experiences, and predict and anticipate next steps. In the fourth part of our Forrester customer service trend series, James Mastan explores the importance of leveraging analytics.
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To provide more effective and tailored customer service, businesses should tap into analytics.

Globally, the big data and analytics market is set to reach $203 billion by 2020, according to a recent study by IDC. And increasingly, smart companies are realizing that data analytics can and should be applied to customer service operations. In the contact center, demand for analytics now spans all channels, including voice, digital, and social. The growing demand for analytics in the contact center is indicative of the value analytics technologies bring to driving improved business performance. In fact, in her 2017 Customer Service Trends Report, analyst Kate Leggett of Forrester offered the following prediction regarding analytics in the contact center:

Organizations will continue to extend the power of analytics to prescribe the right set of steps for customers or agents to more effectively service customers. This includes correlating online behavior with requests for service or suggesting changes to agent schedules via contact center forecasts. They will learn to better route a customer to an agent who can most effectively answer a question, which they base on past success. They will also push the right next steps using customers’ current behavior to help preempt future calls.

We at Nuance agree with Ms. Leggett. The power of analytics can rev up the ability of organizations to more effectively service customers, or enable customers to more effectively self-serve.

In fact, recognizing the growing need for analytics in the contact center, Nuance has invested significantly in this area to provide the benefits of analytics to our customers. A few of the areas we’re focused on include:

  • Speech Analytics
  • Application Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics

Let’s take a brief look at how Nuance is addressing these three types of analytics.

 

Speech analytics

“This call may be monitored for quality assurance.” You’ve probably heard that when you’ve called into a customer service center. Companies often do record the call, and that provides a goldmine of data for a contact center to apply analytics against to help improve operations. Nuance has partnered with CallMiner, a leading speech analytics firm, to automate call monitoring for 100% of consumer contacts to enable better, faster performance feedback to agents, automate compliance auditing, and provide deep customer insight. Better performance from agents and the contact center equates to reduced operating costs, a better customer experience, and increased sales or collections revenue.

 

Application analytics

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications can significantly drive increased automation self-service rates that dramatically reduce or contain costs in a contact center. However, optimizing those applications can drive even more business value. Applying analytics to determine where an IVR application is not performing optimally is important and can indicate key areas of improvement (such as containment, first call resolution, and handle time), allowing a contact center to maximize their investment in the IVR application. Nuance provides a solution called Nuance Insights for IVR which enables such analytics. Properly applied, application analytics can turn data into meaningful action, enabling faster time to insight with less manual work.

 

Predictive analytics

Whether on the web or the voice channel, anticipating what the next step in the customer journey should be, is a key part of what predictive analytics can enable. Using data to make predictions that will smooth the customer’s path to the desired resolution increases customer satisfaction, reduces operational costs, and can also drive increased revenue.

For example, on the web, data and analytics can be used to improve the buyer experience. Predictive and marketing analytics can inform optimum marketing expenditures for targeting visitors with ideal messaging, identify user behavior, and drive ecommerce sites to make adjustments as needed, based on the behaviors of the users within the site. Nuance recently acquired a company called TouchCommerce with such predictive analytics technology and is now offering these capabilities to our customers.

Over the voice channel, a modernized IVR system will connect the dots of a customer’s omni-channel journey (e.g., first stop web, then escalation to the voice channel), capturing the data and prompting the customer with an appropriate path. For example, “Hello Mrs. Smith. I see you recently accessed your account statement online. Are you calling to pay your bill?” Unfortunately, older systems can’t make these connections. Already frustrated, customers hastily select the wrong menu option or worse yet, zero out – resulting in misroutes.

The good news is that you do not need to rely on “big data” to create this predictive experience. By capturing 5-10 “small data” points specific to each customer – such as a phone number, recent online interactions, or data from your CRM – companies can predict with a high degree of accuracy why customers are contacting them and where to direct them.

To put this strategy into context, consider Delta. By connecting several systems, such as billing and loyalty programs with its IVR, Nuance was able to help Delta harness small data to significantly reduce misroutes, lower operational costs and ultimately garner awards for its customer experience. The result was a 15% reduction in misrouted calls.

You can see the power that analytics technologies can bring to the contact center to drive improved business and operational performance. Expect these technologies to continue to increasingly be adopted and leveraged by contact center.

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James Mastan

About James Mastan

James Mastan is Director of Solutions Marketing in the Nuance Enterprise division, and has over twenty years of high-tech marketing experience. Previously, James held various marketing leadership positions at Microsoft and more recently founded and ran a marketing consulting company and a mobile application start-up company.